Sports / Basketball

Players say it's a family affair

By Associated Press in New York (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-13 07:20

Nobody in Sterling clan should be allowed to own Clippers, says James

LeBron James understands it will take time, but he wants Donald Sterling out of the NBA.

And James said on Sunday that players believe nobody in Sterling's family should be able to own the Los Angeles Clippers if he is gone.

Sterling has been banned for life for making racist comments and NBA commissioner Adam Silver has urged owners to force Sterling to sell the franchise.

While Silver has said no decisions had been made about the rest of Sterling's family, NBA spokesman Mike Bass released a statement on Sunday clarifying the league's authority in the matter.

"Under the NBA constitution, if a controlling owner's interest is terminated by a three-quarter vote, all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well," Bass said.

"It doesn't matter whether the owners are related, as is the case here."

Shelly Sterling, the owner's estranged wife, said she intends to keep her 50 percent of the franchise.

"As players, we want what's right and we feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team," James said after the Miami Heat practiced for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Brooklyn.

But Shelly Sterling told ABC News' Barbara Walters she doesn't believe she should be punished for what her husband said.

"I will fight that decision," Sterling said. "To be honest with you, I'm wondering if a wife of one of the owners, and there's 30 owners, did something like that, said those racial slurs, would they oust the husband? Or would they leave the husband in?"

James was one of the first and strongest voices to speak out after a recording of Donald Sterling's remarks to V. Stiviano were posted on TMZ's website last month, saying the comments were unacceptable and that there was no place in the league for Sterling.

The league is trying to act quickly to remove him. Dick Parsons has been installed as the Clippers' interim CEO, and the owners' advisory/finance committee has held conference calls each of the past two weeks to discuss that process and timeline for a forced sale. That would require a three-fourths vote of owners.

But Donald Sterling, who bought the team in 1981 and is the NBA's longest-tenured owner, could choose to fight those attempts by the league.

"At the end of the day, this is going to be a long litigation when it comes to that," James said. "This guy, who's owned the team since the '80s, is not going to just give the team up in a day. So we understand it's going to be long, but we want what's right."

In his first public comments since being banned, Sterling apologized on Sunday for the racist comments captured on tape, saying they were a "terrible mistake".

"I'm not a racist," Sterling told CNN's Anderson Cooper in excerpts posted from an interview taped on Sunday and set to air on Monday. "I made a terrible mistake. I'm here to apologize."

(China Daily 05/13/2014 page23)

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