Tonight’s NBA playoff game at Staples Center on TNT has just been guaranteed a ratings spike after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver today hammered Clippers owner Donald Sterling with a lifetime ban from the NBA, fined him $2.5 million, and asked other NBA team owners to force Sterling to sell the team, adding he will “do everything in my power to insure that happens.” Silver said it will take a 3/4 vote by owners in favor of forcing Sterling to sell to make it happen. Asked if Sterling could remain owner if 3/4 of the owners do not vote to oust the real-estate magnet, Silver responded confidently, “I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him.”
The biggest TV audience so far for the 2014 NBA Playoffs : 4.73 million viewers clocked Sunday afternoon’s game on TNT. Overall the playoffs are averaging about 3.8 million.
Silver, who’s been commissioner just three months, had been expected to come down on Sterling with the maximum allowable punishment for the racist rant, in which Sterling forbade his mistress from posing for photos with black people or bringing them to Clippers games. During the news conference in NY, Silver apologized to Clippers players and coach Doc Rivers, as well as fans and “partners” of the NBA, saying “the views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful.”
A couple hours after Silver’s news conference ended, syndicated TV show Access Hollywood announced Sterling’s mistress, V. Stiviano, had “spoken out in an exclusive statement” to the program:
“It’s not about Mr. Sterling. It’s about global issues that affects us as a nation as a whole,” she said in the statement, adding, “My story is bigger than racism in sports.”