April 29 - Basketball superstars Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Kevin Johnson cheer the NBA's decision to impose a lifetime ban on Donald Sterling over allegations the Los Angeles Clippers owner made racist statements. Deborah Gembara reports.
The National Basketball Association sent a clear message to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling on Tuesday. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. SOUNDBITE: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver saying: "Effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life, from any association, with the Clippers organization, or the NBA." It didn't end there. SOUNDBITE: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver saying: " I am also fining Mr. Sterling 2.5 million dollars, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA constitution.The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful; that they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage. Former basketball stars like Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Kevin Johnson cheered the decision which was in response to allegations Sterling made racist comments. SOUNDBITE: Mayor of Sacramento and former professional basketball player Kevin Johnson saying: " I hope that every bigot in this country sees what happened to Mr. Sterling and recognizes that if he can fall so can you." SOUNDBITE: Former professional basketball player Kareem Abdul Jabbar saying: "If I start stuttering it's because I haven't gotten much sleep in the past couple of days, because this really bothered me. But I'm just thrilled with what Commissioner Silver did, he got on the case immediately, he got to the bottom of whatever mysteries that there were involved in this and figured out what the truth was, and his actions and focus were so on the mark, it's so unbelievable." The controversy surrounding Sterling began over the weekend when a website released an audio recording reportedly of Sterling criticizing a friend for associating with African Americans. The remarks sparked outrage far beyond the world of sports as world leaders like UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President Barack Obama weighed in. In addition to the lifetime ban, the NBA says they plan to urge the Clippers to force Sterling to sell the team.