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NBA moves ahead with forced Sterling sale

The SportsXchange

The NBA announced Thursday that it is moving forward in the process to force suspended Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team.

The 10-member Advisory-Finance Committee met via conference call and unanimously voted to pursue the ouster of Sterling as quickly as possible. The committee will meet again next week.

"This afternoon, the Advisory/Finance Committee met via conference call to discuss the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers," said Mike Bass, the NBA's executive vice president of communications. "The Committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million on Tuesday after the 80-year-old owner made racial comments to his girfriend that were exposed by TMZ last weekend. Silver also requested that the NBA Board of Governors move to force the sale of the team, which requires three-quarters of the owners to approve the action.

Members of the Advisory/Finance Committee include Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett, Los Angeles Lakers part owner and president of business operations Jeanie Buss, New York Knicks owner James Dolan, Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck, San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt, Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and president Larry Tanenbaum of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Raptors.

All 29 owners support Silver and say they would vote for a forced sale. If 23 of the 29 approve an ownership termination, Sterling would have five days to respond. At that point, Silver would conduct a hearing with the Board of Governors to vote on the evidence. But Sterling is expected to fight in court any attempts to sell the franchise.

It also was learned Thursday that TMZ received Sterling's taped conversation with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, from a third party. The tape included Sterling expressing his displeasure with Stiviano posting a picture with Magic Johnson and admonishing her for bringing African-Americans to Clippers games.

Stiviano's attorney, Siamak Nehoray, said his client sent a portion of the recording to a friend, who leaked it to TMZ. Stiviano learned that it would become public after TMZ contacted her.

Meanwhile, the controversy over the NAACP planning to give Sterling an award for promoting civil rights led to the resignation of Los Angeles chapter president Leon Jenkins on Thursday.

Sterling was to receive a lifetime achievement award from the organization on May 15 for donating to minority charities and providing game tickets for inner-city youth.

"In order to separate the Los Angeles NAACP and the NAACP from the negative exposure I have caused the NAACP, I respectfully resign my position as President of the Los Angeles NAACP,'' Jenkins wrote in a leader to the head of the national NAACP.
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