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Last year's ranking: 55
Title track: 63
Fan relations: 68
Stadium experience: 77
Bang for the buck: 50
This summer the Clippers earned the biggest win in franchise history -- in a court, not on one. On July 28, a judge cleared the way for Shelly Sterling to sell the franchise to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. When the deal became official on Aug. 12, it rid the organization of Shelly's husband, Donald, who remarkably clocked in as only the 107th worst of pro sports' 122 owners.
Sterling long had been considered one of the worst owners, but his downfall didn't begin until TMZ acquired a recording of his racist comments in April. The NBA banned the 80-year-old for life and fined him $2.5 million, so Shelly struck a deal with Ballmer for a staggering $2 billion (nearly four times more than the previous record price for an NBA franchise) in May. After a series of legal twists and turns, the result was that the Clippers, one of the most talented and exciting teams in the NBA (eighth among league teams in players ranking), finally got an owner to match. The ruling also means that Doc Rivers will be back (his team jumped 89 spots in coaching) after he contemplated leaving if Sterling remained the owner. Best of all, Ballmer brings enthusiasm -- his YouTube videos are epic -- and his ownership style has been compared with Mark Cuban's. It's about time the Clippers felt some love