owner Donald Sterling received a lifetime ban from NBA commissioner Adam Silver. (ROBYN BECK/AFP)
Disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling has cancer, according to multiple reports.
The New York Post reported Thursday that Sterling has been battling cancer for some time, citing multiple sources. ESPN.com confirmed the report, also citing multiple sources. Further specifics are not yet available, and neither Sterling nor his representatives have publicly confirmed the diagnosis.
Members of the Clippers said they were unaware of the diagnosis following their 100-99 loss to the Warriors in Game 6 on Thursday.
"I hope it's not true," said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
"If that is true, my thoughts and prayers are with him," Blake Griffin said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "Nobody deserves to go through something like that.”
Chris Paul added that the reported news was "truly unfortunate."
Earlier this week, NBA commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine on Sterling, who was caught on tape making a series of racist remarks. Silver also pledged to work with the league's owners to force out Sterling as owner, and the NBA's 10-member advisory/finance committee voted unanimously on Thursday to pursue Sterling's ouster.
TMZ released audio last Friday of a conversation in which Sterling can be heard scolding V. Stiviano, his girlfriend, for bringing African-Americans to Clippers games and for posting photos of herself and African-Americans, including Lakers legend Magic Johnson, to her Instagram account. Silver said the NBA was able to authenticate that it was Sterling’s voice on the tape and that Sterling acknowledged that it was his voice during a league investigation.
The 80-year-old Sterling, who has owned the Clippers for 33 years, has yet to issue any public statement since receiving his lifetime ban. Sterling has not publicly admitted that it was his voice on the tape, he has not directly apologized for the comments, and Silver indicated Tuesday that Sterling had not expressed any remorse for the comments.
A three-quarters majority vote of the league’s owners — 22 out of the other 29 owners — is required to force out Sterling. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said he expects unanimous support from the NBA owners to oust Sterling.
Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) said at a press conference in Los Angeles on Tuesday that while they are pleased with the term of the punishment handed down by Silver, they still believe Sterling must be removed as Clippers owner.
“We want maximum allowable punishment under the bylaws and constitution and what that equates to for us as players, there must be a change in ownership,” said Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is acting as an adviser for the NBPA.
“As players, we’re very happy with the decision, but we’re not content yet,” NBPA vice president Roger Mason Jr. said. “We want immediate action. We want a timetable from the owners on when this vote is going to happen. We feel confident that with Adam Silver’s urging, and we’ve heard from a lot of the owners around the league, we think this is something that can be handled quickly.”
Sterling told a Fox News reporter on Tuesday, moments before Silver announced the ban, that he was not planning to sell the Clippers.