NBA Commissioner Adam Silver dropped the proverbial hammer on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after his racist comments were made public over the weekend. The move drew immediate praise from across the sports world, including the Miami Heat.
Silver took the unprecedented step of banning Sterling for life and fining him $2.5 million. Silver also announced that he would work with the NBA’s Board of Governors to force Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers.
Silver said after an investigation and interview with Sterling, the owner admitted the racist comments on the tapes released by TMZ and Deadspin.com were in fact him and that those were his opinions. Silver had only been on the job a few months when the controversy erupted and the consensus opinion after the announcement was Silver hit a home run with his decision.
Heat superstar LeBron James tweeted, “Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness.”
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 29, 2014
LeBron’s running mate with the Heat, Dwyane Wade also took to Twitter writing, “Commissioner Silver….STRONG…way to take charge and protect our great league.”
Commissioner Silver....STRONG...way to take charge and protect our great league.
— THREE (@DwyaneWade) April 29, 2014
Even the Los Angeles Clippers released a statement saying, “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins.”
Heat owner Micky Arison also tweeted, “Great job Adam. The @NBA is in good hands. You have my full support.”
Great job Adam.The @NBA is in good hands. You have my full support.
— Micky Arison (@MickyArison) April 29, 2014
Outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also gave Silver his full support for his move Tuesday. “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers (sic) findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling.”
The support of Arison, Cuban, and other owners will be key for Silver moving forward. Silver went as far as he could go as commissioner on Tuesday, but the owners must make the decision to eventually force Sterling to sell the franchise.
It will take a three-quarters vote by the owners to force Sterling to sell, but it’s expected that most owners will support the plan to pull the franchise from Sterling.
The Clippers owner will still walk away with quite a windfall when all is said and done. Sterling purchased the Clippers franchise for $12 million in 1981 and the early estimates of the minimum value of the franchise are $1 billion.
Commissioner Silver did something that his predecessor never did; excise Sterling’s history and reputation from the NBA. Silver still has plenty of work to do, but his decision will begin to let the NBA move on from this ugly episode.
For the Clippers, it will somewhat lift the ugly cloud that has surrounded the franchise as it continues to pursue the Western Conference championship. The Clippers also made a statement with its website Tuesday afternoon when all that was left was on the team’s website was the following statement…
“We are one.”