LeBron James said Sunday that no one in the entire Sterling family should be allowed to own the Los Angeles Clippers, according to Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press, who spoke to James during the team's shootaround in Brooklyn before the Heat play Game 4 vs. the Nets on Monday.
James said it's the right thing to do, from the players' perspective, to disallow any kind of transfer of ownership within the Sterling family:
''As players, we want what's right and we don't feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team."
The comments come less than a month after billionaire Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from attending games, and also fined $2.5 million, for racist comments he made to a friend during a taped private phone conversation this year. His wife, Shelly, said she has every intention of retaining majority ownership of the team, but Commissioner Adam Silver said he expects full support from the 29 other NBA owners who can force Sterling to sell the team he purchased for $12.5 million in 1981. Silver needs a three-fourths vote from the other owners to force the sale of the team.
James went on to say that he understands the sale is not going to happen overnight but just wants the league, and the Sterling family, to do the right thing:
''At the end of the day, this is going to be a long litigation when it comes to that. This guy who's owned the team since the '80s is not going to just give the team up in a day. So we understand it's going to be long, but we want what's right.''
Sterling is the league's longest tenured owner. Dick Parsons — a former Citigroup chairman who had also served as Time Warner chairman and CEO – has been installed as the Clippers' interim CEO during the impending court battle. Shelly said in a Sunday interview with Barbara Walters that she plans on divorcing her husband and will own the Clippers. The NBA issued a statement via league spokesman Mike Bass following Shelly's claim, essentially denying her the right to own the Clippers the NBA team owners force her husband to sell:
"Under the NBA Constitution, if a controlling owner's interest is terminated by a 3/4 vote, all other team owners' interests are automatically terminated as well. It doesn't matter whether the owners are related as is the case here. These are the rules to which all NBA owners agreed to as a condition of owning their team."
Her attorney fired back later on Sunday night, claiming that California and U.S. laws trump any kind of rules by the NBA. Bass said those NBA rules were agreed upon by all owners when they purchase the team, and that those rules stipulate "all other team owners’ interests are automatically terminated as well” if the owner is forced to sell, regardless of whether those parties are related to the majority owner. SI WIRE: Report: Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid will not attend the NBA scouting combine