Adam Silver did what he could. Donald Sterling will be fined the maximum $2.5 million (an evening out for him), banned for life from the NBA (he’s 80 and will probably die soon), and will be forced to sell his team for an estimated 5000%-10000% profit on the roughly $13 million he paid for it in 1981.
There are no winners here.
The NBA did what they could, and a big part of that is standing up against a racist asshole and removing him from the game. Their efforts should be applauded. Silver, a lawyer, was an absolute badass at his press conference today. But like Bomani Jones told Dan Le Batard, this is just a necessary reaction to comments that encapsulated Sterling’s well-known and well-documented worldview.
Silver danced around questions about the myriad accusations of racism hurled at Sterling over the years– instances where Sterling’s actions spoke much louder than the words he was recorded saying. Lacking legal grounds, but mostly the necessary public outrage, the league was able to ignore those previous missteps. But now… now that Sterling’s words are on tape… they had their chance to drop the hammer, and that’s just what they did.
But Sterling doesn’t lose. Is his legacy tarnished? You bet. But something tells me that a guy who has the sort of pride that allows him to tell his girlfriend that she can sleep with other men so long as she doesn’t take pictures with them isn’t the type of guy who is overly concerned with his legacy. Sterling is a special type of sociopath. He’s concerned about wealth and winning in a way that you or I will likely never know. And you’re crazy if you think that there’s a billionaire alive – even a really old one – who cares more about something as intangible as his legacy when there’s money at stake. Lots of money. When Sterling sells the Clippers for $1,000,000,000 (that’s nine zeros), he won’t be thinking about what we think of him. He’ll be patting himself on the back for being the most hated sports figure in the world who just completed one of the greatest business investments of all-time.
We can all feel better that Sterling is getting publicly shamed and ostracized by the league. But there are no winners here. And it’s a screwed up world when the the loser retreats to one of his mansions with
comically large bags truckloads of cash.