Thursday, May 24, 2018
Sports

Q&A: How Donald Sterling's lifetime NBA ban might unfold

What does the ban mean for Donald Sterling?

Sterling will not be allowed to attend games or practices, be present at any Clippers facility or participate in any business dealings or player personnel decisions going forward. He also will not be allowed to represent the Clippers at any league functions, including the board of governors meetings.

Can the owners really force Sterling to sell?

The NBA's constitution states that any owner can be forced out of the league with the vote of 75 percent of the remaining owners. That means if all 30 of the league's owners vote, 23 will have to vote in favor of his ouster.

Owners of several teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks, issued statements in support of NBA commissioner Adam Silver's decision and said they would vote to remove Sterling if proceedings get to that point.

What are the financial implications?

Silver said it was too soon to tell if the corporate partners who pulled their advertisements would change course. But in taking such bold steps, Silver said it was his intention to send a strong message that racist views and language would not be tolerated.

"I'm outraged, so I certainly understand other people's outrage, and this will take some time, and appropriate healing will be necessary," Silver said. "I can understand precisely why, whether they be people affiliated with the NBA or the Clippers for a long time or those corporate partners. I can understand how upset they are, and I'll do my best to bring them back into the NBA family."

What if Sterling fights to keep the team?

If the real estate mogul and lawyer decides not to cooperate, the sale of the team could drag on indefinitely.

"If he truly doesn't want to sell, I'm going to guess he could tie this up for the rest of his life," Notre Dame sports economics professor Richard Sheehan said. "It would be an absolute disaster."

Analysts think Sterling could sell the team for as much as $1 billion, especially if an auction creates a bidding war. A transaction could wrap up within a year, if not before the next NBA season starts in November.

But Sterling may choose expensive and time-consuming litigation to keep his claim on the Clippers.

"It's distasteful, it's disgusting, but what he said is still ostensibly private conduct," said Robert Boland, a professor of sports business at New York University's Tisch Center.

Sterling could also launch a protracted antitrust argument against the NBA, though most experts said he'd probably be standing on weak legal grounds because he had previously agreed to the league's constitution.

Associated Press, Los Angeles Times

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