The praise for commissioner Adam Silver rained down as his lifetime ban of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling made the airwaves — and rightfully so. But did he really have a choice to make any other type of decision?
At first glance, you would say yes. He’s the all-powerful commissioner. Dig into the situation a little, however, and you quickly learn that the answer was no. The reason is that Sterling’s racist rant gave the players a sense of power that they have never been able to wield before.
In the past, the NBA has been viewed as an owner’s league of 30 men leading 30 franchises, with the commissioner in their back pockets. However, in the course of about 72 hours, you have heard many owners referring to themselves as custodians of a league ran by the workers.
The ballers took these words, ran with it and put the pressure on Silver to make the only call that he could make with players from each of Tuesday’s games reportedly ready to make their silent protests a boycott and avoid taking the court. But all of this was avoided because the commissioner brought down the hammer.
Now we must wait for the other Shaquille O’Neal-sized shoe to drop as the league’s owners conspire to get together and vote for Sterling to sell his team.
“It’s a monumental day, and going to be remembered in NBA history. But the job’s still not done. Owners need to do their part …. That’s [the] next step. Need three-fourths to vote. [But] I’ve only seen three or four owners (come out strong).”
Truth be told, the commissioner racked up a ton of goodwill with his players by taking a strong stand against Sterling, but how long will that last if the Clippers owner finds a way to stick around?