NEW YORK — Adam Silver used the biggest weapon the NBA commissioner has when he banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and said he would move to force Sterling to sell his team.
Sterling can pay the $2.5 million fine Silver issued. The lifetime ban for Sterling? Maybe inconsequential as long as the Clippers are making money and filling his bank account.
But in his unprecedented rebuke of Sterling on Tuesday, it was clear that what Silver wants — along with several players, coaches, owners, fans, public officials and activists — is a new owner for 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,” Silver said, far more confident and resolute than he was on Saturday when news broke of Sterling's racially insensitive comments.
Silver is relying on the NBA's Constitution and By-Laws, which say the interest of an owner “maybe terminated by a vote of three fourths (of the Board of Governors).”
“Let's just leave it that we have the authority to act as I've recommended,” Silver said.
After hearing the evidence, the board will vote and, based on Silver's comments and statements from league owners, the owners plan to remove Sterling. If that happens, the league will assume control of the team and look for a buyer.
Asked if he expected Sterling to fight, Silver said, “I have no idea.”
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