BREAKING: Commissioner Adam Silver, after a swift investigation, has banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for racist comments that came to light last weekend.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban almost immediately hailed the decision.
Jason Collins, who last year became the first openly gay player in North American sports, also joined those applauding Silver’s decision.
Others chimed in:
And this, from perhaps the biggest name in the league, Miami Heat superstar LeBron James:
Silver, along with the lifetime ban and the fine, also said he will push owners to force Sterling to sell the team. League bylaws stipulate that an owner can be forcefully divested of his team if three-quarters of the other owners vote to do so:
Silver made it clear that he has the votes needed to take the team from Sterling. This, from SI.com’s Michael McCann:
Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert evidently is one of those owners who stands behind Silver:
Still unknown: How Sterling will react to the ban and the desire by Silver and many in the league for him to sell his team. The franchise released a statement shortly after the decision, though it was unclear if Sterling had anything to do with it. From CBS Sports’ Ken Berger:
Silver’s first major decision as commissioner was, at first blush, considered strong and decisive.
After the news conference, the league released a letter from Silver to the league’s fans. “I am extremely proud of this great league’s diverse, respectful and inclusive culture, and we will not allow one individual’s intolerant views to define us. Let me be clear: Mr. Sterling’s views have no place in the NBA,” he wrote.
He finished by writing: “And now I am eager to turn the spotlight back where it belongs: on the game we all love and on these thrilling playoffs, which have been some of the most exciting basketball I’ve seen in my 22 years with the league. I hope you enjoy the rest of the playoffs and The Finals.”
Update 2: NBA.com’s Lang Whitaker:
Update 1: Commissioner Adam Silver entered a packed news conference at approximately 2:05 p.m. He was accompanied by several members of the NBA’s front office, according to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report.
After this news conference, former All-Star Kevin Johnson and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson will hold a news conference in Los Angeles, as a representative of the request of the National Basketball Players Association, to address the Sterling situation. Many players thoughout the league are awaiting Silver’s decision.
And now …
April 29, 2014: NBA commissioner Adam Silver will hold a press conference at 2 p.m. Tuesday in New York to announce the findings of an investigation into racist comments by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on a recording that was made public last weekend by TMZ.com. If the league finds that the voice on the recording was Sterling, Silver — who has been commissioner less than three months — is expected to hand down one of the most severe penalties against an owner in NBA history.
Here are a collection of reactions from throughout the league. We’ll update throughout the day.
Before the press conference, the scene was set by CBS Sports’ Ken Berger, among others:
ESPN’s sports business columnist Darren Rovell spotted a familiar New York face in the crowd at the news conference.
Speculation on what the NBA would do with Sterling started soon after the recordings were made public. This from Grantland’s Bill Simmons:
And this from Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:
Here’s another shot of the gathering, from CNN’s Rachel Nichols:
Our own David Aldridge laid out what he was hearing, pre-decision, in this piece for us.