Just days after racist comments from Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling were revealed by TMZ, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver delivered the ultimate penalty to the embattled basketball owner: a lifetime ban from the NBA.
Shortly after NBA attorneys confirmed the authenticity of the recorded audio between Sterling and his girlfriend V. Stiviano, the NBA and Adam Silver moved swiftly to announce the lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine, the maximum amount allowed by the league.
Effectively immediately, Donald Sterling is banned from any association with the Los Angeles Clippers organization or the NBA. Additionally, Sterling “may not attend any NBA game or practice, may not be present at any Clippers facility and is barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.” Commissioner Silver is urging the Board of Governors to force the sale of the Clippers and stated he “would do everything in my power to ensure that that happens”. In order to proceed with a forced sales, 75 percent of the NBA owners must vote to in favor of the league’s decision.
In response to the NBA Commissioner’s announcement, social media appears to be overwhelmingly in favor of the lifetime ban and associated sanctions. The multiple endorsements include support from Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon, Charlotte Bobcats owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, New Orleans Pelicans owner Tom Benson, Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
Prior to the announcement from today's announcement, Sterling reportedly said he had no interest in selling the Clippers. Now aware of his fate, whether or not the 81-year-old will step down and quietly sell the team is up for speculation. In fact, Sport Illustrated is reporting the NBA and Sterling is set for an “epic legal fight” over the Los Angeles team. Currently the Clippers franchise is valued at $575 million.
The Los Angeles Clippers host the Golden State Warriors this evening in game five of the NBA playoffs at the Staples Center. Prior to the Commissioner's announcement today, NBA players were prepared to boycott tonight’s game in Los Angeles, in addition to the playoff games between the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards and the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies. But with today’s sweeping lifetime ban of the the team owner, members of the Clippers, including team leaders Chris Paul and Blake Griffin hope to move forward with the game and are encouraging fans to show their support by attending the game. Even Magic Johnson, who was a primary source of Sterling's racist ire, tweeted "I wish I was in LA, I would be at the Clippers game tonight!"