Has there ever been a stranger nine days for an NBA team than what the Clippers have been through?
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Tapes of Donald Sterling using racist language were released on April 25th and a firestorm erupted.
The team held a meeting the following day and considered boycotting Game 4 of the series with Golden State.
Perhaps understandably disoriented, the Clippers lost, 118-97.
On the 29th, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and the league began efforts to force Sterling to sell the team (an effort which may be more difficult since the team is held in a trust with Sterling's estranged wife. It is to pass to his children when the parents die).
And on May 3rd, the NBA announced plans to seek a CEO to run the team. Sterling's wife, Shelly, issued this double-edged statement of support:
"I spoke with Commissioner Adam Silver this week to tell him that I fully supported his recent swift and decisive action. We also agreed at that time that, as a next step, both the league and the team should work together to find some fresh, accomplished executive leadership for the Clippers. I welcome his active involvement in the search for a person of the utmost character, proven excellence and a commitment to promoting equality and inclusiveness.
"As a co-owner, I am fully committed to taking the necessary steps to make the Clippers the best team in the NBA. That has been my aspiration ever since 1981."
One of the less-discussed elements of this mess is the Sterling marriage, but it's key since Mrs. Sterling is suing V. Stiviano, who appears to have been Mr. Sterling's mistress, and apparently not the first. Stiviano is thought to have made and released the tapes in retaliation.
Mrs. Sterling would like to recover a number of expensive items Stiviano had acquired from Mr. Sterling.
Mrs. Sterling, who has also been accused of racist behavior in a different situation, where she allegedly posed as a member of the health department in an attempt to evict tenants, used the statement to essentially throw her husband under the bus - and to point out that she remains a co-owner. And one devoted to equality and inclusiveness, although the devotion may falter a bit when it comes to rentals.
It seems almost gratuitous to point out that she did this at about the same time that Mr. Sterling's prostate cancer became a matter of public knowledge. We have no sympathy for Mr. Sterling's beliefs, but he's dealing with bigger issues than this case. We wouldn't wish cancer on anyone and so hope that he can put his cancer, and racism, behind him.
Silver has stabilized the situation but it seems unlikely that either Sterling will leave quietly.
Games 5 and 6 were more normal, with the teams splitting competitive games. The Clips won #5 113-103 and the Warriors prevailed in #6, 100-99.
Talent and size won out in Game 7 as the Clippers pulled it out, 126-121, and it was a game with a heavy ACC influence.
Former Blue Devil JJ Redick scored 20 for L.A., while Wake Forest product Chris Paul knocked down 22 and had 14 assists.
Jared Dudley, out of BC, and Reggie Bullock, who left UNC last year, didn't play.
For the Warriors, Harrison Barnes came off the bench for 10 points and two rebounds.
Barnes, who was a weak rebounder in the ACC, is averaging 4.1 in the NBA. Some things never change.
Maryland's Steve Blake played less than a minute.