Vivek Ranadive, owner of the Sacramento Kings, said he anticipates Donald Sterling will be forced to sell his NBA team after a vote by owners on the matter.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from the Los Angeles Clippers and fined him $2.5 million for racially charged comments released on TMZ last Friday, creating a firestorm of criticism that led to Sterling’s ouster. Silver also called for the owners to vote that Sterling sell the franchise, which would require a 75 percent approval.
“I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him,” Silver said.
Ranadive does not see that as a problem.
“I would be surprised if this was not a unanimous vote,” Ranadive said on ESPN radio. “The owners are amazing people — they’re color-blind — and I fully expect a unanimous vote.”
While the specific timetable for a vote remains undetermined, sources told ESPN.com that the NBA’s advisory and finance committee will hold a conference call Thursday to discuss details, such as when a vote will take place and whether it will be public or private.
“There’s still a process that the NBA has to go through,” Ranadive said Wednesday. “I expect that they’ll have a subcommittee that examines this issue and takes it to the entire board.
“The commissioner has shown that he can act quickly, so I expect him to continue acting quickly.”
For Sterling to be forced to sell, if 29 teams vote, Silver would have to get 22 yes votes. If all 30 clubs have a vote, the number needed for passage rises to 23. The Associated Press contacted 24 teams on the specific question of whether Sterling should be forced to sell, and 16 ownership groups said yes, while another eight declined to reveal their stance.
Ranadive, a native of India, said he was shocked and outraged by Sterling’s comments, which were revealed over the weekend in an audio recording.
In the taped conversation with his girlfriend, Sterling specifically objected to photos that the woman posted of herself with NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” Sterling asks the woman on the tape.
“I have had overwhelming support for this position,” Ranadive said. “People were outraged by these comments. This is really a global game — you have people from all parts of the world, all skin colors, all religions. The only thing we care about is if you have game.
“So these comments were insulting to everyone. One of my favorite quotes is from Gandhi, and he liked to say that, ‘If you slight one person, you slight the whole world.’ I feel that the whole world was slighted.”
Ranadive said Tuesday in a phone interview with ESPN.com that he thought Silver’s discipline against Sterling “sent a very clear, unequivocal and decisive message that we will have zero tolerance” for racist behavior in the NBA.
Ranadive also conducted an interview Wednesday with ABC’s “Good Morning America,” saying he would urge Sterling to “do the right thing” by selling the Clippers.
“What I would say to Mr. Sterling is, ‘Mr. Sterling, do the right thing now,'” he said. “‘Apologize to Magic Johnson. Apologize to the NBA, the fans, the black community, the world at large. And respect the wishes of the NBA — put the team up for sale. Take some of the profits and donate them to a good cause.'”