The NBA not only came down hard on Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban for racist comments, but they also avoided a situation in which at least three playoff games would have been cancelled in protest.
It was revealed earlier tonight that the Golden State Warriors had planned to walk out prior to tonight’s playoff game if Sterling was not banned for life from the NBA.
But that they were not alone.
According to David Aldridge of TNT, all six teams scheduled to play playoff games on Tuesday night planned to boycott if Sterling was not banned for life and forced to sell the Clippers.
“Those words by [NBA commissioner] Adam Silver are indeed the reason this game is being played at all. [The Clippers and Warriors] had made commitments that if a lifetime ban and a force of sale of Donald Sterling hadn’t taken place in New York, they were not going to play this game. In addition, they believe they had commitments from the other four teams [scheduled to play Tuesday night]…not to play tonight. This was a league-wide thing…DeAndre Jordan got a text today saying ‘this is bigger than you, this is bigger than me.'”
Boycotting three playoff games would have been a powerful message by the players. But it would also have been risky as fans were still expecting basketball to be played.
This report also reveals just how important this moment in NBA history was to the players. They have worked and played all season for these moments and yet they were will willing to give it up to make a more important point.
Fortunately for Silver and the NBA, it never happened.
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