Skip to content

Clipped Episode 6 Recap: The Fall of Donald Sterling and the Rise of Steve Ballmer

Clipped Episode 6 Recap

In the concluding scenes of episode 5 of “Clipped,” Donald Sterling reluctantly agrees to speak with journalists, seeing it as his only escape from mounting scrutiny. Although they are still at odds, his estranged wife Shelly persuaded him to sell the team to avoid NBA interference.

The president of the Clippers and Sterling’s lone surviving ally, Andy Roeser, questions Donald’s decision to go on Anderson Cooper 360. 

Donald sidesteps the awkward topic of their breakup when Andy asks if Shelly is aware. Donald is hopeful that the interview will restore his damaged reputation by showing himself to be a non-racist and a misunderstood person. Let’s see what else happened in the season finale of “Clipped”.

The Anderson Cooper Interview: Sterling’s Downfall in Clipped

Meanwhile in “Clipped,” Cooper’s pointed questioning met with defensive and childish reactions from Sterling, who was well-known for his deeply rooted bigotry and “plantation mentality,” in which he saw himself as superior and owned those around him, especially people of colour.

When asked about the charges of racism, Sterling made a ridiculous attempt to backpedal by saying that Cooper was more racist than he was. This was a poor attempt that only served to expose Sterling’s lack of responsibility.

The pivotal moment occurred when Cooper confronted Sterling about his comments on Magic Johnson, whom Sterling had publicly criticized and insisted his assistant, V Stiviano, refrain from associating with.

After Stiviano made public a taped discussion in which Sterling stated his contempt for her friendship with wealthy Black people such as Johnson, there was a great deal of outrage and calls for Sterling to sell the Clippers.

The Anderson Cooper Interview: Sterling's Downfall in Clipped
Credits: Hulu

Later in “Clipped,” when Cooper questioned Sterling with Magic Johnson’s public declaration threatening to boycott NBA games if Sterling stayed in charge of the Clippers, Sterling’s already weak defence fell even more.

Sterling pretended to be offended and tried to minimize his comments by saying they weren’t directed at Johnson or any other Black athlete in particular.

But his weak attempts at justification served only to highlight the systemic prejudice that had ignited the incident and brought Sterling to his knees, compelling him to sell the team in the face of public outcry and pressure from the NBA.

In the aftermath of Donald Sterling’s disastrous interview with Anderson Cooper, where he unleashed a tirade against Magic Johnson, the public backlash intensified, swiftly eroding whatever support he had left.

Many people criticized Sterling’s hateful comments, which attacked Johnson’s personality and HIV status, calling them highly prejudiced and outdated. His irrational outbursts cemented the public’s impression of him as insane and biased, effectively ending his career.

Meanwhile in “Clipped,” Shelly Sterling watched in dread as her attempts to sell the Clippers at a good price were put in jeopardy by the interview. The televised fiasco became disastrous, with Shelly left to pursue bidders as the NBA pushed for a forced sale.

As possible buyers lost interest, Shelly found herself in a precarious situation. Her trusty advisor Justine advised her to sell to Magic Johnson as poetic retribution, but Shelly realized that any transaction required Donald’s approval.

From Crisis to Sale

Then comes Steve Ballmer, the former CEO of Microsoft, whose intense curiosity about the Clippers equalled the commercial expertise of the Sterlings in “Clipped”. Under Shelly’s direction, negotiations drove the eventual sale price to $2 billion, a record amount in sports franchise sales, despite the initial offer of an astounding $1.8 billion. Shelly signed a term deal with Ballmer with great anticipation, pleased by his financial commitment and desire to uphold the team’s character.

However later in “Clipped,” the last obstacle was Donald’s unwavering refusal to follow through on the deal. Shelly repeatedly reminded Donald that the team’s future depended on the sale, but his obstinacy and inflated ego prevented any agreement with Ballmer or other potential purchasers, extending the drama and leaving the Clippers’ ownership uncertain.

From Crisis to Sale
Credits: Hulu

After the Los Angeles Clippers were dramatically sold to Steve Ballmer, Shelly Sterling took use of a provision in the family agreement to claim sole decision-making authority over Donald because of his alleged mental incompetence.

Her lawsuit against Donald was quickly resolved in her favour, paving the stage for the momentous deal. Steve Ballmer’s ardent purchase of the squad instilled a fresh enthusiasm in the players, surprising them with his passion for the team.

In a moving scene from “Clipped,” Shelly was enjoying the financial windfall from the sale when Jackie confronted her about how cruelly she had treated V. Stiviano, thereby turning him into a homeless man.

Shelly claimed ownership over both people and things, and she defended her acts as a matter of principle. After learning this, Jackie and Shelly became enraged, with Jackie accusing Shelly of adopting Donald’s attitude of entitlement and control despite Shelly’s seeming good intentions.

How Did The Episode End?

Meanwhile in “Clipped,” the NBA’s firm stance against Donald Sterling spurred the Clippers players to focus intensely on their playoff games. In the following round, following their victory over the Golden State Warriors, they took on the powerful Oklahoma City Thunder.

But the team was burdened by the ongoing Sterling situation, which was made worse by their irritation at what they felt was a lack of attention to their concerns around racism in sports. Players wanted recognition of more significant social issues, and relationships were further strained by coach Doc Rivers’ insistence on keeping the focus entirely on basketball.

After the LA Clippers’ playoff loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, players’ more general worries ran counter to coach Doc Rivers’ exclusive emphasis on winning a title. Even though Rivers coached the Clippers until 2020 and then joined the Milwaukee Bucks, he hasn’t won an NBA championship.

How Did The Episode End?
Credits: Hulu

As the focus moved to the team’s future in “Clipped,” V. Stiviano, who was instrumental in the controversy’s creation, found herself marginalized. She became isolated as a result of her choices to use the controversy for her gain and her unwillingness to address institutional prejudice.

Due to her financial difficulties, she had to give up luxury items like a Ferrari that Sterling had given her, fight in court, and eventually lose her house. When Sterling sided with Shelly in court, her misplaced faith in him was further dashed. She was left disillusioned and unable to reconstruct her life, living in a trailer camp with her sons and performing minor jobs.

Also Read: Mayor of Kingstown Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: What Went Down?


“Clipped” depicts the demise of Donald Sterling amid a racist and scandalous firestorm, which ends with the stunning sale of the Los Angeles Clippers. As a key player amidst the chaos, Shelly Sterling eventually arranges the team’s historic sale to Steve Ballmer.

The show highlights the negative effects of excessive entitlement and bigotry, affecting not only the Sterlings but also people who are in their immediate vicinity, such as V. Stiviano and the Clippers players.

About Tarushi Patali

Tarushi is a film enthusiast who also loves to write about them. She previously worked at NetflixJunkie And Film Fugitives. In her free time, you will find her reading a fiction novel or binge-watching a series.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *