NBA drops hammer on Sterling: Banned for life, fined $2.5 million



Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life from the NBA and fined the maximum $2.5 million for his infamous racist rant, league Commissioner Adam Silver announced Tuesday.

Taking swift and decisive action, a stern Silver also vowed to do “everything in my power” to make Sterling, 80, sell his team, which was abandoned by about a dozen sponsors following the revelation of his incendiary remarks.

Sterling can be forced to sell by a three-quarters vote of the NBA’s Board of Governors, which is made up of the league’s 30 team owners, and Silver said: “I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him.”

In response to Sterling’s unprecedented punishment:

— Current and former NBA players hailed Silver’s action, with Magic Johnson tweeting that the new commissioner “showed great leadership” and LeBron James thanking Silver for “protecting our beautiful and powerful league.”

— The Rev. Al Sharpton said Silver had agreed to meet with him and other civil-rights leaders to see “where we go from here after his bold step today.”

— Sneaker giant Adidas said it was reinstating its sponsorship of the Clippers, while automaker Kia said: “We look forward to a positive resolution and to continuing our relationships within the NBA community.”

—Researchers at UCLA said they would reject $3 million in funding from Sterling’s charitable foundation to support kidney research due to his “divisive and hurtful” comments.

— Several NBA owners voiced support for the move, including Dallas Mavericks principal Mark Cuban, who on Monday said the NBA shouldn’t force out Sterling “I agree 100% with Commissioner Silvers findings and the actions taken against Donald Sterling,” Cuban tweeted.

Immediately after Silver’s announcement, the Clippers replaced their official Web page with the words “WE ARE ONE” and the team’s logo against a stark black background.

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