Union voices strong support for Silver

By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com

VIDEO: Union, players react to Commissioner Silver’s action

LOS ANGELES — Leaders of the National Basketball Players Association and some of the biggest names in Los Angeles’ storied basketball history on Tuesday applauded commissioner Adam Silver for suspending Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life, a landmark action that avoided a possible players boycott that could have canceled Tuesday night’s playoff game between the Warriors and Clippers.

NBA players seriously considered boycotting playoff games if Silver had not moved decisively against Sterling, said Roger Mason Jr., NBPA first vice president, said at a news conference outside City Hall shortly after Silver announced his decision in New York. Mason said he spoke Tuesday morning with Golden State veteran Jermaine O’Neal, who “pretty much said their team would be on board” with not playing Game 5 at Staples Center.

Once Silver handed out the punishment, potential repercussions that would have added a new dimension to one of the ugliest incidents in league history gave way to the union backing the commissioner in the strongest terms.

“If you see a cancer, you’ve got to cut it out real quickly,” said Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson, an adviser to the NBPA while the group searches for a new director. “And commissioner Silver did that in real time.”

“I’m just thrilled with what commissioner Silver did,” said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, on hand for the announcement with A.C. Green, Luke Walton, Norm Nixon, Tyson Chandler, Steve Nash and Mason, along with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and other top city government officials.

“This wasn’t really about black and white,” Mason said. “This was about right and wrong.”

Johnson evoked the names of Tommie Smith, John Carlos, Muhammad Ali, Jackie Robinson and Jason Collins in saying the action by the league rates as a historical time in protesting and answering discrimination in sports.

“I believe today stands as one of those great moments,” Johnson said, adding, “The players spoke, they acted, they were listened to.”

Said Abdul-Jabbar, who first came to Los Angeles as a UCLA freshman in 1965 and later spent 14 seasons with the Lakers: “It’s going to be a new day here in this city.”

VIDEO: Commissioner Silver bans Donald Sterling for life


  1. Jamie says:

    The strength of this league is its diversity. The welcoming of players, fans and staff from all manner of backgrounds, persuasions and orientations is what enables the NBA to say that it is a global league full of the very best that the world can offer. Anything that threatens this welcome, is an antithesis to everything that the league needs to stand for, in order to remain strong and true. Sterling is entitled to his views, however wrong, but the custodians of the league are entitled to guard its integrity. A tough job, executed well.

  2. Bluto says:

    Newspeak! Orwell only missed by 30 years (1984). The thought police in the form of a pimple headed Comish of the NBA. Want to see a real racist: Minister Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton.., look for minister’s and their roosts. How about the Detroit melee when black player’s ran into the stands and started beating the #$%$ out of fans?? Who was fined $2.5 million, or was banned for life for that?? Mr.NBA you have lost all credibility. P.S. Perhaps there’s more but I’ve only heard of two teams with Owner/women issues paraded in the news, and in both “Magic” was in the shadows (i.e., Dodger’s). I loved the Laker’s when Magic played, and I’ve been a Dodger fan since Koufax and Drysdale, but the worst kind of racist are the one’s that hide behind their “hero” status!

  3. Kyla says:

    Reading all the comments/articles about this story is frustrating. To all the people complaining, yes it was a private conversation but at the end of the day the NBA is a BUSINESS. They would be crazy to let this slide and give him a minor punishment. Not only would people NOT want to play for the team, sponsors were dropping like flies. I don’t think they should have fined him but the ban made sense for the business.

  4. christie b says:

    I totally believe Sterling’s comments are despicable. However, the NBA is such a hypocrite!!! you protect and baby your players that are basically hoodlams, rapists, drug abusers, etc… and the Clipper players themselves that have happily taken millions/billions of Sterling’s money all these years, but are suddenly offended??? give me a break! idiots!

    I am so sick and tired of the lunacy in this country. when someone bullies or says horrible things about Christians, NO ONE speaks out in our defense. What about Jew bashing that occurs on a daily basis? What about the white bashing that has been done all of these years???

    If you ban everyone that said something bad or stupid, we would have no one left in this country.


  5. herman wong says:

    steve ingram must be white, lol.

  6. steve ingram says:

    so whens muhammad ali getting banned from boxing what he said was alot worse http://youtu.be/_HBnc8YNaaQ