LOS ANGELES — The NBA filed formal allegations Monday and set a June 3 hearing in its effort to strip Donald Sterling of his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers, citing conduct that the league said “damaged and continues to damage the NBA and its teams.”
The league said it intends to present evidence at the hearing to try to persuade three-quarters of the NBA’s owners to terminate “all ownership interests in the Clippers,” meaning that Sterling and his wife, Shelly, would be forced to sell the team they have owned for 33 years.
A summary of the allegations claimed that Sterling significantly undercut the NBA’s efforts to promote “diversity and inclusion” when he was caught in an audio recording asking a frequent companion to refrain from being seen in public with black people or taking them to Clippers games.
Although the NBA did not release the full accusation, a news release confirmed what many observers suspected: that the 80-year-old Clippers owner further damaged his cause when he gave an interview last week to CNN. The NBA cited Sterling’s assertion in that interview that African-Americans do not support their communities as another example of how he had undermined the league.
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If the NBA board of governors approves the charges against Sterling by a three-fourths majority vote, which is expected to happen easily, the Clippers will be sold to new owners.
Sterling, however, could sue the league in court in an attempt to maintain control of the team. He and his wife, Shelly, a co-owner of the Clippers, have said they want to keep the franchise.
In a statement Monday, the NBA said Sterling “significantly” undermined the league’s effort to promote diversity. The NBA also said he damaged the league’s relationship with fans, harmed NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel, and impaired the league’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as government and community leaders.
The NBA also said Sterling issued a “false and misleading press statement” about this matter, another action that provided grounds for termination of ownership as per the league’s constitution.
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The sides finalized the five-year deal worth up to $25 million.
• The Memphis Grizzlies have parted with team CEO Jason Levien and director of player personnel Stu Lash in a front-office shake-up that follows the Grizzlies’ elimination in the first round of the NBA playoffs.
•The draft lottery is Tuesday, a night some teams appeared to be aiming toward for months during a season that featured plenty of talking about tanking.
The winner gets the No. 1 pick in next month’s draft, when Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins or Duke’s Jabari Parker might make this season’s misery worth it.