Sports / Basketball

Sterling doubts strike talk

By Agence France-Presse in Los Angeles (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-16 07:17

Clippers owner says getting paid would trump players' solidarity

Donald Sterling, the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner banned for life by the NBA for racist remarks, said he doubts players would strike if he still owns the team next season.

In portions of an interview with CNN released on the network's website on Wednesday, the 80-year-old real estate tycoon said salaries would be more important that spiting him.

"That's talk; the media pushes that," Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "Why would they do that? If they get their salaries, they are going to play."

LeBron James, the Miami Heat superstar who has led his club to the past two NBA crowns, told CNN that players are pleased with the actions of NBA commissioner Adam Silver to ban and fine Sterling and they understand the process of removing Sterling as an owner will take time.

"The direction Adam is going and the NBA is going, there should be no need (for a strike)," James said.

"We trust those guys and we know they are going to take care of what needs to be done for our league and we understand that it's not going to be done tomorrow."

There had been talk of a walkout during the playoffs in the days after Sterling's comments first surfaced but that tension eased when Silver banished Sterling for life.

Sterling's troubles began late last month when recordings of him making racist comments were posted online by TMZ.

Sterling said he did not want his girlfriend bringing black people to Clippers games or posting photos of herself with black people on social media websites.

Sterling later claimed he was trying to seduce the young woman, known only as V. Stiviano, to whom he had already given money and expensive gifts.

The remarks prompted a firestorm of controversy and Clippers players turned their jerseys inside out during a pre-game playoff warmup to protest Sterling before Silver issued his lifetime ban and began the process of having owners remove the team from Sterling's control, hoping to push him to sell the club.

While a firm timetable is not yet set, Silver said on Monday the league's board of governors "is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."

Sterling apologized in a portion of the CNN interview aired earlier, but in doing so he insulted NBA legend Magic Johnson, prompting Silver to issue an apology to Johnson on behalf of the league.

In comments released on Wednesday, Sterling said: "What am I, a Frankenstein? What am I, some kind of ogre?

"I'm a good person. I'm a warm person. I say hello to everybody who comes to the team."

The Clippers trail Oklahoma City three games to two in their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal, with Game 6 on Thursday at Los Angeles.


The Golden State Warriors are taking another chance on a television analyst and former NBA guard who has never been a head coach at any level.

On Wednesday the Warriors won a bidding war with the New York Knicks for Steve Kerr, hiring him away from the TNT broadcast table to be their coach. Kerr agreed to a five-year, $25 million deal with the Warriors, said his agent, Mike Tannenbaum.

Kerr had been in talks with the Knicks about becoming their next coach since Phil Jackson took over as team president in March. He won three titles playing for Jackson in Chicago and another two under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio.

Kerr also spent three seasons as GM of the Phoenix Suns before stepping down in June 2010. He replaces Mark Jackson, who was fired by the Warriors on May 6 after three seasons and back-to-back playoff appearances.

Kerr said last month he has wanted to coach since going back to his job at TNT. And while the lure of building a contender with his mentor at Madison Square Garden looked appealing, the chance to coach a Western Conference contender in his home state proved to be too much.

(China Daily 05/16/2014 page23)

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