TNT analyst and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley said on the Dan Patrick Show Friday, "No basketball is going to be played next year if Donald Sterling still owns the Clippers." Sterling was banned for life on Tuesday by Adam Silver after recorded phone conversations that were leaked to the press included racist comments by the 80-year-old who reportedly has cancer.
The NBA Advisory Committee of owners voted unanimously Thursday to begin the formal process of termination of ownership under the NBA Constitution, but there's no telling how long that process is going to take. The Clippers and Warriors reportedly had planned to boycott Game 5 of their first-round series had Silver not dropped the hammer as hard on Sterling.
The outrage from the players is clear, and Barkley speaks from the heart, but there has to be some consideration for the league's position. It's aggressively moved forward in good faith to remove Sterling from ownership, but the process is going to take time, especially given Sterling's litigious nature. Sterling's going to sue, and if a judge blocks the sale until such time as the lawsuit is settled, the NBA's hands are tied. Would the players really hold the league accountable if it acts in good faith, even if the NBA's lack of action based on past incidents set up this catastrophe?
It's a complicated issue, and an unstable one. We'll just have to see how this one unfolds.