Photos: Donald Sterling controversy leads to signs and shirts at Staples Center
NBA commissioner Adam Silver's decision to impose a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine on disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who made racist comments in a recorded conversation, was the lead item on many news programs on Tuesday. The news, which effectively ends Sterling's 33-year tenure as owner, was obviously the top story for fans who attended the Clippers' 113-103 victory in Game 5 against the Warriors in Los Angeles.
Fans expressed their opinions -- outrage toward Sterling, support for the Clippers players and calls for racial equality -- on signs and T-shirts, and many dressed in all black as a show of solidarity. The Staples Center crowd also welcomed the Clippers to the court with a standing ovation.
"They were awesome, they were awesome," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, when asked about the home crowd's response amid the recent turmoil. "That was as good as I've ever seen them. They were unbelievable. I thought [Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti] really set a good tone this morning when he spoke, about how today is about L.A. I thought the city responded to that. I thought that was very important that he said that."
Garcetti joined Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, National Basketball Players Association vice president Roger Mason Jr. and NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at a City Hall press conference on Tuesday after the announcement of Sterling's lifetime ban.
One popular message at the Staples Center: "We Are One," a slogan the NBA used in a video spot to promote unity in the wake of Sterling's comments. Rivers and Chris Paul both referenced "We Are One" in their postgame comments, and the words appeared on the basket stanchions during the game.
Here's a look at a number of the messages that circulated on Tuesday as L.A. took a 3-2 series lead over Golden State, grouped by their general theme.
Frustration with Sterling came in many different forms.
Some fans chose to take a pro-unity approach.
Support for the Clippers, who won a franchise-record 57 games this season, was also strong during this trying time.
A few fans called on Lakers legend Magic Johnson to purchase the Clippers, something that has been rumored as a possibility in recent days.
No Sign At All
Many corporate sponsors have suspended their relationships with the Clippers in the wake of the Sterling saga. Their billboards were covered in black during Tuesday's game.