NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dropped the hammer on LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling today, announcing that the league was banning Sterling for life from "any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA." Sterling will not be allowed to attend any NBA games or practices, be involved in Clippers personnel decisions, or attend board of governors meetings. He'll also be fined $2.5 million, which Silver said was the maximum allowed under the NBA constitution. In addition, Silver said he'll move to force the sale of the Clippers.
Silver said the NBA had investigated the incident and interviewed Sterling, and concluded that Sterling was the man on infamous taped conversations, "and that the hateful opinions voiced by that man are those of Mr. Sterling." He said he would encourage the other owners to force Sterling to sell the team, which can be done with a three-quarters vote. "This has been a painful moment for all members of the NBA family," he said, adding that he felt "personal outrage" over the comments. In addition:
- Asked if an owner should be pushed out for comments made in private, Silver replied, "Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public, and they represent his views."
- Silver said he hadn't formally polled the owners, but that he'd spoken to several and "I have their full support." He said he was confident they would agree to oust Sterling.
- Asked if the league was seeking more African-American ownership, Silver said the league was diverse, but "I'd always like to see it become more diverse." Asked about Magic Johnson specifically, he said Johnson knows that "he is always welcome as an owner in this league ... and a close friend of the NBA family."
- Johnson tweeted out his approval of Silver's move. "In Commissioner Adam Silver we have a great leader leading our league," he said, adding, "The people who I'm happiest for are Coach Doc Rivers, the Clippers players, and fans." Silver had singled out Rivers and Chris Paul to thank them for their leadership.