Ex-NBA players, fans react to sanctions against Clippers owner

Retired players, team owners and fans praised the lifetime ban.

Retired players, team owners and fans praised the lifetime ban imposed on Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling following the announcement from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Tuesday.

“Commissioner Silver showed great leadership in banning [him] for life,” Lakers great Magic Johnson tweeted shortly after the news conference. “Former and current NBA players are very happy and satisfied with Commissioner Silver’s ruling.”

Last week, TMZ.com posted a recording in which Sterling allegedly told a woman not to post photos of herself with black people on Instagram and not to “bring them to my games.” Johnson was one of the people mentioned in the recording.

In addition, Silver said he is urging the owners of other NBA teams to force the sale of the Clippers, adding that he has their “full support.” Sterling will also pay a $2.5 million fine.

Several New Yorkers said yesterday it would be poetic if Johnson bought the team. On Monday, Johnson tweeted that he was not looking to buy the Clippers, adding that “they already have an owner.”

Paul de Guzman, 32, agreed with the “very hefty fine.”

“How can [Sterling] say something like that? Eighty percent of his players are black,” said the jeweler from Elmhurst.

Elaine Rogers, a billing and collections specialist from Jamaica, Queens, is primarily a Knicks fan, but also roots for the Houston Rockets in deference to her husband.

“I’m happy — I’m hoping he will have to sell the team. I want him to give up the team,” said Rogers, 50. “He’s in control of too many lives and with that kind of thinking, he can destroy them.”

The NAACP said in a statement it requested a meeting with Sterling to discuss his alleged comments.

“Bigotry and hatred have no place in the NBA or any other arena of our society,” said an NAACP spokesman in a statement. “We remain vigilant in our fight to address racism in all forms and committed to moving our country towards achieving a society that’s socially, economically and politically equal for all.”

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem) lauded what he called a “zero tolerance policy” for Sterling’s alleged comments.

“For the sake of progress and raising our national conscience, we should never turn a blind eye to any egregious comments or actions that express discrimination,” Rangel said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing NBA and other sports organizations adopt and enforce clear policies and codes of conduct that reflect such spirit of unity among players and fan base.”

James Dolan, Executive Chairman of The Madison Square Garden Company and CEO of Cablevision, which owns amNewYork, said in a statement that he fully supports Silver’s decision.

“I applaud Adam for acting quickly and decisively in appropriately addressing these disgusting and offensive comments,” he said. “This kind of behavior has no place in basketball, or anywhere else, and we as a league must stand together in condemning this ignorance.”

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban on Monday voiced his fear that forcing Sterling to sell the team would be a “slippery slope,” in an interview with ESPN. Cuban was the only owner to do so.

But Tuesday he took to Twitter to support the decision. “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers [sic] findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling,” he said.

The Clippers released a statement yesterday in favor of the ban. “We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today,” the statement said. “Now the healing process begins.”

AMNY Newsletter

Eat it. Drink it. Do it. Tackle the city, with our help.