LeBron James on Donald Sterling’s lifetime ban: ‘The job is still not done’ (video)
LeBron James applauded the severe punishment imposed upon Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling by the NBA and Adam Silver, but says the work in ridding the league of a cancerous presence like Sterling is not over.
Sterling already has been banned for life by the NBA and is unable to attend or have any direct or indirect involvement, explicit or otherwise, with the day-to-day operations of the Clippers. He is not allowed to attend Clippers games or visit the Clippers facilities as part of the severe punishments levied upon him for his racist and bigoted comments about African-Americans. Sterling was also fined $2.5 million, the maximum amount the NBA could assess.
“But the job is not done,” said the Miami Heat superstar spoke about the controversy. Silver stated during a press conference Tuesday that the NBA will do anything and everything in its power to get the Clippers organization out of Sterling’s desperate clutches. Sterling stated after his ban that the team is not for sale.
James spoke after practice on Wednesday and implored owners to follow Silver’s lead and force Sterling to sell the team.
“It’s a monumental day and it’s going to be remembered in NBA history,” James said, via ESPN.com. “But the job is still not done. It’s a win, but we still need the owners to do their part.”
The NBA owners’ advisory and finance committee reportedly have a meeting scheduled for Thursday during which the next steps in what likely will be a contentions, possibly litigious, process will be discussed.
The NBA Board of Governors must arrive at a 75% consensus in order to force the sale of the team, effectuating Sterling’s removal as owner, meaning Silver would need 22 of 29 votes from owners (the 30th owner being Sterling) to force Sterling to sell.
James said he knows that the process may be arduous, but that does not mean the owners, the players or the NBA as a whole should ever relent in what he believes should be the stated goal: Complete and total exile of Sterling from the league.
“With this particular case we’re fighting for, I don’t think it can do anything to hurt our game,” James said. “We’re fighting to get an owner out of our league who shouldn’t be a part of our league. No matter how long it takes, no matter how much money it costs, we need to get him out of there — and whoever is associated with him doesn’t belong in our league.
“Obviously, it’s not going to be night and day — you wake up tomorrow and the team is in someone else’s hands. But we need to get the next step going.”
Many owners have reportedly stated, allegedly some off the record, that they intend to vote against Sterling, but James wants owners to go public with their plans.
“We still have to wait on the owners’ decision, which I believe will be in favor of what we all believe in,” James said. “I’ve seen some of the owners come out and say they’re in favor of the decision Adam Silver made. But it’s not all of them. We need three-fourths of them, and it I’ve only seen, like, three or four of them comment. So we need more than three or four.”
James is right. This will not be an easy process. But as long as the biggest names in the game follow James’ lead, stand united and lean on team owners, there is little doubt that the owners, even if it’s against their personal and private inclinations, will push for Sterling’s ouster.