Without question, the Tuesday, April 30 news conference presided over by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was the most important news conference in the history of the National Basketball Association.
It would be a conference that would determine the grit of Silver, as well as the 30-something owners of the NBA franchises.
The conference would also determine the fate of one Donald Sterling, whose history includes accusations of racism from his employees, one being the legendary Elgin “Rab” Baylor, who was Sterling’s general manager after he retired from a NBA Hall of Fame career. Baylor lost that one, which may have encouraged Sterling to continue being an actively racist individual.
But a simple tape recording was the evidence that ignited an NBA league-wide tremor. Scores of people from around the country—particularly Southern California—chipped in with evidence of his racist lifestyle.
So armed with enough ammunition to start a nationwide backlash, Silver had enough evidence to begin his move against Sterling, which was a lifetime NBA ban.
Sterling was done when corporate America joined forces with Silver. Yes! His millions are intact, but they will not be worth a turnover in NBA land. Sterling is done and so is his legacy of hate and unbelievable racism.
But truth be told, Sterling is not the first owner to be banned. No! Not hardly. Sterling can now partner up with Marge Schott.
Many of you media guys and women were not even born when Major League Baseball banned Schott back in 1993 for virtually the same extremes of racism that has led to the banning of Sterling. Schott got off easy because baseball then was drowning in racism. Remember Hank Aaron and what he went through on his way to braking Babe Ruth’s home run record?
Schott was banned for one year for referring to then Cincinnati Reds outfielder Eric Davis as one of her “million-dollar n—rs,” along with other Black players who she also slurred. We can recall her saying something like “Why me? Other owners have said the same thing.”
Schott got off easy. The owners banned her for one year and a gave her a $25,000 fine. She still retained one ownership share in the Reds.
When the commissioner walked to the microphone and announced Sterling’s punishment, there was no doubt that a new top gun was in town.