NBA Commissioner Adam Silver handled his first big decision nearly to perfection on Tuesday as he laid the hammer down on Clippers owner Donald Sterling by banning him from the NBA for life and fining him $2.5 million.
If that wasn't historic enough, he also announced that he would recommend the NBA owners vote to force Sterling to sale the Clippers, a move that would set an even stronger precedent and stance against racism in the league, and for that matter, sports in general.
Sacramento has had quite the presence in this Sterling saga. It was April 29, 2013 when the NBA relocation committee voted against Seattle and for Sacramento in the battle over the Kings. Fast forward a year and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is the chairman of the National Basketball Players Association's executive committee and leading the players' charge against Sterling. Johnson denounced Sterling early and often throughout this process. During his press conference Tuesday, Silver said he was on the phone with Johnson multiple times a day over the last couple of days. Heck, Vice President Joe Biden even called Johnson on Tuesday to tell him he was behind him and the players.
Johnson had several strong statements throughout the process, like this one on Monday night. Here he is posted up with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar during Silver's press conference.
And here he is after the Silver press conference.
This was a defining moment for the NBA. We've defined ourselves as an org that won't tolerate ignorance & bigotry. Left no doubt. #proud— Kevin Johnson (@KJ_MayorJohnson) April 29, 2014
Johnson told Ryan Lillis of The Sacramento Bee that his efforts in the Sterling saga were the most important of his tenure as mayor of Sacramento.
"Sports are pivotal in allowing a country to talk about real issues and civil rights - sports transcend," he said. "This was truly bigger than basketball. It feels like the most important thing I've done since I've been mayor."
Kings owner Vivek Ranadive was one of the first NBA owners to speak out against Sterling when he called for zero tolerance after TMZ released the recordings. On Tuesday, he stated he would be willing to lead the motion of the NBA owners to vote to force Sterling to sell.
Here is Ranadive via TrueHoop's Henry Abbott.
"... I will not just second the motion, but lead the motion for us to do as Adam recommends. I believe that the other owners will support it as well. The owners I know, they all are colorblind. That was the irony of this situation, that the NBA is one of the most colorblind institutions in the world. To have that be challenged or embarrassed in the way Mr. Sterling did with his comments is bad for the game of basketball, and it's bad for the league."
Silver also brought up Ranadive during his press conference as an example of the league being open to individuals of different backgrounds and ethnicities.
It's good to see Sacramento represented so well on such a grand scale, especially in an effort related to squashing racist sentiments.
As for the commissioner; the Adam Silver era may have started on Feb. 1, but it officially began on April 29, when he used Donald Sterling as an example of how the league will handle racism moving forward.
A historic day indeed.