A curious headline popped out of Roger Mason Jr. appearing on Jim Rome's Jim Rome on Showtime when he said that former teammate and Miami Heat star LeBron James would not play next season if Donald Sterling is still the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The NBA is in the process of removing Sterling completely from the league after a lifetime ban was issued by Adam Silver following recorded racist comments. But there's a slim chance Sterling may still be the owner of the Clippers when next season starts because the process of forcing the sale and finding a new owner can be complicated, especially if litigation comes into play.
But when you hear the best player in the world isn't going to play if that process isn't complete, that's certainly an attention-grabber. Mason is now backtracking some on those comments and tweeted out he wasn't clear when he responded to Rome's question. Apparently, James never said anything about a boycott.
Jim Rome is a good guy and I may not have been clear when I responded to his question, so let me clear it up.— Roger Mason Jr (@MoneyMase) May 14, 2014
Jim asked me about guys playing next season if Sterling remained an owner. I mentioned I spoke to LBJ as I speak to many players.— Roger Mason Jr (@MoneyMase) May 14, 2014
My bad if I was not clear.LBJ never said anything about boycotting.He's a friend and I would never want to imply something he didn't say— Roger Mason Jr (@MoneyMase) May 14, 2014
The bottom line is that our commissioner,team owners,fans, players, and the world all agree that there is no place for racism in our league.— Roger Mason Jr (@MoneyMase) May 14, 2014
This makes a lot more sense because LeBron focusing on this situation and taking such a hard stance when he's in the middle of an attempt to three-peat as NBA champion during the playoffs seems like bad timing. James clearly heard about Mason's comments and likely received a lot of questions and messages about such an idea. This isn't something he'd want to deal with when trying to focus on putting the Brooklyn Nets out of the playoffs.
Also, it seems like a weird line in the sand to draw when the NBA appears to be doing what they can to expidite the process of completely removing Sterling from the NBA. Time will tell what the ultimate fallout is from this situation, and whether or not the league is successful in its goal.
Rachel Nichols tweeted this quote from LeBron showing he understands the process won't be taken care of and completed tomorrow:
On Sterling/possible boycott, LeBron tells me "The direction Adam is going, there shouldn't be a need for it. We trust those guys and we know that they're going to take care of what needs to be done for our league, and we understand that it's not going to be tomorrow. The system will not work tomorrow, but the direction they're going – we're all for it."
That clears that up.