NEW YORK, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life by the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Tuesday for his racist remarks recorded in his conversation with his girlfriend.
Sterling was banned from any association with the Clippers and the NBA and was fined 2.5 million dollars, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA Constitution.
"Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver at a news conference here on Tuesday afternoon.
Silver also announced that he will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.
"The owners have the authority subject to three quarters vote of the ownership group, of the partners, to remove him as an owner," Silver said. "I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him."
Sterling acknowledged it was his voice on the tape, and he has not expressed to me directly any other views, Silver said.
This is one of the most severe punishments ever taken by a league to an owner in professional sports. Former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott was banned from running the team in 1996 by the Major Baseball League after several racist comments.
Magic Johnson, Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and Miami Heat player LeBron James had condemned Sterling and Kevin Johnson, Sacramento Major and National Basketball Players Association search committee chairman, said the players wanted the NBA to do the most to punish Sterling.
"I talked to several players before rendering my decision. I believe the players will be satisfied with the decision and the renderings that we've made today," Silver said. "We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterling's views. They simply have no place in the NBA."
Twelve companies had suspended their sponsorship with the Clippers since the scandal.
"Those marketing partners of the Clippers and partners of the entire NBA should judge us by our response to this incident, and I think we've responded appropriately," Silver said.
Silver said the penalty is specifically to Sterling and there have been no decisions about other members of the Sterling family.
The Clippers will face the Golden State Warriors Tuesday night in their Game 5 at home. The series was tied 2-2. The Clippers' website is labelled with one message "We Are One" after the decision was announced.
"This has all happened in three days, and so I'm hopeful that there will be no long term damage to the league and to the Clippers' organization. I certainly understand other people's outrage, and appropriate healing will be necessary. I can understand how upset they are, and I'll do my best to bring them back into the NBA family," Silver added.