Updated: 4/29 at 3:12pm In the early days of a thrilling playoffs season, the attention of the NBA has largely turned to the scandal of LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In the throes of a legal battle with his girlfriend V. Stiviano, a tape emerged in which Sterling allegedly said, among other affronts, "Don't bring black people" to the Staples Center. Already stained by his actions in a vile dispute as an LA landlord, the climate isn't looking good for Sterling's tenure as the Clippers owner. Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Lebron James and President Obama have weighed in against Sterling.
Spurs CEO Peter Holt is playing his cards conservatively. “I want to be very careful,” Holt told the Express-News. “The league is doing its own investigation and I don’t want to jump the gun. I don’t know the context, but from what I’ve heard it sounds bad and it isn’t like this is the first go-around for him.
At the Mavericks' American Airlines Stadium, coach of the year Gregg Popovich was characteristically curt. “The comments are obviously disgusting,” he said.
Before the Spurs win in game four, Pop elaborated on his team's emotional reaction, joining the NBA teams who have worn black socks in solidarity with the Clippers. “We’re going to do the same thing that Houston and Portland did. Both teams are going to wear the black socks. Rick [Carlisle, coach of the Mavs] and I talked and we’re both going to wear them in support.”
“I don’t know to what degree something like that is going to be orchestrated or done, but you can believe that all of us feel what everybody else is feeling,” Popovich continued. “The degree to which you show that is a good question. But we all feel the same way. It’s not just inappropriate, it’s disgusting. It’s something that has to be handled. We have full faith that the NBA will react appropriately."
On Twitter and in post-game commentary, the Spurs players have yet to express their take on Sterling's reported comments.
In a press conference today, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced the lifetime ban of Donald Sterling. The league has fined the Clippers owner $2.5 million and barred him from attending any games or practices, being present at any Clippers facility or engaging in business or team operations. Along with the flight from advertisers, the NBA's actions attempt to force a sale of the franchise.