The Indiana Pacers were just wrapping up practice Tuesday afternoon when NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced a lifetime ban from the league for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The Pacers were still digesting the punishment as they came off the court.
“(The commissioner) has just got to take a stance on that topic,” said Pacers forward Paul George. “I thought it was the appropriate move. I’m just glad the commissioner took care of it. The whole Clippers organization, the whole league can move forward.”
The NBA punished Sterling for comments made in a recorded conversation in which he asked his then girlfriend not bring African-Americans to Clippers games or to promote her relationships with African-Americans on social media.
“He’s 80 years old,” said Pacers forward David West. “He doesn’t have that much more life to live. I guess it’s good. I’m glad that they did something to remove him. He still has ownership. He’s still going to profit from the team, but it’s a step in the right direction.”
Pacers forward Rasual Butler played for the Clippers (2009-11) and had interactions with Sterling.
“I think that Adam Silver and his staff did a good job based on the circumstances,” said Butler. “There's just no place for that in our league. There's no place for that in this world. He acted swiftly and firmly and sent a very clear message that that type of behavior won't be tolerated.”
“I applaud the commissioner,” added Pacers head coach Frank Vogel. “I think it's a great show of force by our commissioner. A lot of people are talking about that we don't need that type of stuff in our league. I don't think we need that kind of stuff in our world."
George Hill said Monday that if he was on the Clippers roster, he would have refused to play for the team after Sterling’s comments became public. But Hill did not follow up those comments today. He wanted to focus on the Pacers, who face elimination from the playoffs Thursday night in Atlanta.
“In this series, no team has won two in a row,” said Pacers point guard George Hill. “That gives us a little sigh of relief. But at the same time, it’s still the first team to win two in a row will win this series. We have to go in with focus and energy. The good thing is, the last time we were there we won.”
The Pacers need a win at Philips Arena Thursday at 7:00 p.m. to force a seventh and deciding game on Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.