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The NBA's war with Donald Sterling is just getting started

The NBA's war with Donald Sterling is just getting started

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned for life the problematic racist slumlord in their midst, embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but the war to force him to sell has only just begun.

In addition to being exiled, Sterling was also slapped with a $2.5 million fine, the largest in league history. Of course, said bill still represents just 0.26% of Sterling’s reported $1.9 billion dollar fortune, or the equivalent $51 parking ticket to an American making the median in yearly earnings ($38,786).

Silver made it clear that “these funds will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and its Players Association.” The ban, Silver added, ensures that “Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices. He may not be present at any Clippers facility, and he may not participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team… He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings or participating in any other league activity.”

Silver also explained that a league investigation had concluded that Sterling was, in fact, the guy caught on tape making racist remarks with former mistress V. Stiviano.

The biggest blow, however was saved for the end of his prepared remarks:

“As for Mr. Sterling’s ownership interest in the Clippers, I will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens.”

That was shocking. In the days prior to today’s announcement, the general assumption was that Silver and the other owners would suspend Sterling and then quietly work behind the scenes to facilitate a sale.

But by invoking the terms of paragraph 13 of the league’s constitution, they’re setting themselves up for a serious, prolonged court battle with the famously litigious Sterling. It’s a fight Sterling is looking for and may even relish, even if he has little chance of winning, telling Fox News’ Jim Gray, “The Clippers are not for sale.”

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