Photo courtesy of John McCoy/Los Angeles Daily News
Flanked by six body guards, the wife of embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling attended the team’s Game 5 victory Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors in a suite at Staples Center. Apparently, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver instituting a life-time ban on Sterling for making racially disparaging remarks on an audio tape does not apply to family members, including Rochelle.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers called the incident a “tough one” and admitted he held “compassion for her” amid Sterling having an argument with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, about posting pictures of herself with Lakers legend Magic Johnson on Instagram and bringing black friends to games.
“She has been through as much as anyone as well,” said Rivers, who pointed out Sterling’s open cheating. “She asked if she could come. I thought that was a very nice gesture. She wanted the players to know and she told me to tell them that she loved them. I thought, ‘Why not?'”
Well, a Los Angeles Times report highlighted previously unearthed court documents that suggest she denigrated African Americans, Latinos and once posed as a health inspector. Although Rochelle, also known as Shelly, publicly separated herself from her husband’s remarks, they were seen leaving a steakhouse on Monday night.
This reporter approached Rivers after his press conference alerting him about the report. Rivers said he was unaware of those findings.
“We’re going to find out new things everyday,” Rivers said with a hint of resignation before walking toward the Staples Center loading dock.
By Vincent Bonsignore
With the world watching, the NBA pounced on Donald Sterling Tuesday.
It did so swiftly, decisively and with unprecedented force when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver stood at a podium in New York and hammered the Clippers owner with a lifetime ban that permanently disconnects him from any official association with the Clippers or NBA.
Then Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million dollars, the maximum allowed under his jurisdiction. Most importantly, he urged the NBA Board of Governors to unite together in vote to force Sterling to sell the team he’s owned for more than three decades.
“Adam Silver today was fantastic,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He made a decision that had to be made.”
Below are five things to take from Clippers’ 113-103 Game 5 over Golden State Warriors at Staples Center beyond taking a 3-2 lead having a chance to close their first-round series with 6 Thursday in Oakland:
1. The Clippers played looser. Two days ago, the Clippers appeared sapped of energy after the fall out regarding Clippers owner Donald Sterling making racially disparaging remarks on an audio tape. On Tuesday, the Clippers appeared rejuvenated after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a life-time ban from Sterling having any involvement from the organization. This marks the beginning a long process in finding a new owner and handling a potentially lengthy litigation battle with Sterling. It’s also interesting that Blake Griffin’s 18 points and seven rebounds came after shooting only 2 of 9 through three quarters. But with the sold-out crowd at Staples Center yelling “We are one,” the Clippers played with the same energy, athleticism and memorable play-making that made this team such a dangerous playoff team beforehand.
2. DeAndre Jordan showed tremendous improvement. The man who mostly disappeared in a Game 3 loss seemed everywhere in Game 4. The man who went scoreless in Game 3 dropped 25 points on 8-of-10 shooting in Game 4. The man who lacked much of a defensive identity in Game 3 morphed back to his season-long defensive credentials with 18 rebounds and four blocks. Attribute this difference toward Jordan playing more inspired amid all the adversity. But it also suggests that rarely will Jordan will have a bad game. Instead, he has channeled his efforts all season into maintaining consistency as the Clippers’ defensive anchor.
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers during their game against the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter during Game 4 of their Western Conference NBA playoff game at Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. on Sunday, April 27, 2014. (Susan Tripp Pollard/Bay Area News Group)
Even amid uncertainty surrounding the Clippers’ playoff fortunes, who their owner will become or will end up on their roster next season, Clippers coach Doc Rivers argued “we can move forward” after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a life-time ban on Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
Silver announced the punishment four days after an audio tape emerged of Sterling making racially offensive remarks.
“Adam Silver today was fantastic,” Rivers said. “He made a decision that really was the right one that had to be made. I don’t think this is something that we rejoice in or anything like that.”
That’s why Rivers recalled his players offering a stoic reaction after learning about the ruling during a morning film session Tuesday for prepare for Game 5 of the Clippers’ first-round series against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center. The series is tied, 2-2.
“Honestly there was nothing in the room at that time when I said it,” Rivers said. “There was complete silence. I said what I thought I needed to tell them and then we went right back to film.”
Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks during a press conference at Los Angeles city hall regarding NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s banning of Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA April 29, 2014.(Andy Holzman/Los Angeles Daily News)
Even though he was “satisfied” with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issuing a life-time ban to Clippers owner Donald Sterling for making racially insensitive comments, players union vice president Roger Mason Jr. wants an immediate vote on league owners to strip away Sterling’s ownership.
“I would imagine it would be tough for a kid getting drafted or a free agent player making a decision to play for this franchise without a change of ownership in place,” Mason Jr. told this newspaper. “I would hope it gets done sooner or later.”
According to a league source familiar with the details, the NBA is currently uncertain when the next Board of Governors meeting will take place for a vote. But Silver said in a press conference in New York on Tuesday that the league would need 75 percent of its 30 owners to vote in favor of Sterling’s ouster. The majority of NBA owners, including Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, released statements expressing support for Silver’s punishment that also included a $2.5 million fine.
“We are satisfied he made that decision,” Mason Jr. said. “Ultimately our full satisfaction is not going to come until there’s a full change in ownership. This is the first step.”
This is not the end of racism as we know it, but the lifetime ban imposed Tuesday on Clippers owner Donald Sterling by NBA commissioner Adam Silver was a good day for Clippers players, their coaching staff, their fans, the NBA and for anyone in general who despises racism.
Make no mistake, this was a stand-up-and-take-notice ruling. It will make other racists think twice about running their ugly and disgusting mouths. Way to go, Mr. Silver, you knocked it out of the park. Way out.