There’s a new Sheriff in town. And his name is Adam Silver.
In only his third month as the NBA’s new commissioner, Silver has made just as much of an impact as his predecessor David Stern did in three decades at the helm.
Saddled with the burden of dealing with estranged Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s alleged racist comments illegally taped by Sterling’s girlfriend V. Stiviano, Silver laid down the law condemning and banishing Sterling from the NBA.
Silver's actions today were immensely louder than Donald Sterling's poor choice of words on that recording.
“Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life with any association with the Los Angeles Clippers organization and the NBA.”
At the moment, Sterling is still the owner of the Clippers. Relinquishing his ownership of the team will require a ¾ vote from the Board of Governors – the other 29 owners – which is roughly 23 “yes” votes.
“As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force the sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens.”
There are bylaws in the NBA’s constitution that allow for this kind of action from its board. Basically, if an owner's actions are to the detriment and well-being of the other owners, their franchises and the league, that’s grounds for forced relinquishing of an individual’s ownership stake in one of the member franchises in the Association.
Sterling’s actions have clearly been a detriment to the entire Association. Sponsors of the Clippers have either canceled or suspended their respective sponsorship of the Clippers as long as Sterling remains owner of the team.
Those sponsors include KIA Motors and State Farm Insurance which are both national sponsors of the entire NBA as well.
The money for this season is already in hand by both the clippers and the league but if Sterling were to remain as the owner beyond this season, the league would obviously have problems renewing sponsorships with these high-profile companies.
What about the team.
Head coach Doc Rivers and his team is in the midst of a grueling seven-game first-round playoff series with the Golden State Warriors.
Their banished-owner’s comments were made public through TMZ one day prior to the team’s 4th game of the series in Oakland they clearly didn’t have their heads in losing 118-97.
“It’s been difficult. I only got 45 minutes of sleep the night before the game,” Said Rivers in a media conference call Monday. “Thoughts about not playing were discussed by these players in the middle of a playoff series.”
Within 72 hours of the allegations against Sterling, Silver took some pressure off of the players, not only on the Clippers but every team in the NBA.
He did this just hours before the Clippers tip-off game 5 against the Warriors at Staples Center.
Prior to game 4, the team removed their practice jerseys at center court revealing shirts worn inside-out hiding the team name.
What will the Clippers – and the Warriors – do prior to tip-off tonight. A show of solidarity between the teams is expected.
And what of Clipper Nation? Will they show up and support their team tonight? The answer is – most likely – yes. As they should. Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and the rest of the Clippers’ players did nothing wrong.
For them it’s time to play ball.
It’s a pivotal game 5 between to Pacific Division rivals with the winner seizing control of the first-round series.
Tip-off is set for 7:40pm PDT.