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A 'Silver' bullet: Sterling banned for life, fined $2.5M

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If there were any questions as to how tough newly minted NBA Commissioner Adam Silver would be, they were answered Tuesday afternoon.

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Acting quickly to the firestorm ignited by the release on Saturday of an audiotape of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling spewing racist views, Silver meted out the maximum punishment in his first major act at the helm of the NBA.

Confirming that it was indeed the voice of Sterling on the tapes, Silver banned him for life from any and all activities involving the Clippers or anything else in the NBA.

As in forever.

In addition, Silver fined him the maximum allowable amount of $2.5M and is urging the NBA Board of Governors to force Sterling out permanently by selling the franchise.

The monies of the fine will be donated to organizations which fight discrimination of all kinds.

It will take three-quarters of the 30-member league to bring that to fruition.

"I will urge the board of governors to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that happens,' Silver said.

Also on the board's agenda is the recent sale of the Milwaukee Bucks (www.bucks.com) to Wes Edens and Marc Lasry. Current owner Senator Herb Kohl made the deal for $550M.

Each side also pledged an additional $100M toward building a new arena which must break ground by November of 2017, according to reports.

"This has been a painful moment to all members of the NBA (www.NBA.com) family," Silver said.

Sterling's comments were "very painful and harmful" according to Silver.

"It's a great day in sports, it's a great day for society in terms of leadership," former NBA great Isiah Thomas said on CNN.

"And showing what we will and won't stand for," Thomas added.

Silver and the rest of the country were taken aback by the release of the tape.

Sponsors including CarMax, Kia, State Farm Insurance and up to a dozen more removed financial support from the Clippers almost immediately after the comments were made public.

Silver said that it would take some time to get them to trust that the NBA is standing on the right side of this issue.

The commissioner's actions, which have been roundly applauded by current and former players, politicians and people around the country, have all but insured that will happen.

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