Will banned NBA owner Donald Sterling go quietly?

After an NBA investigation into racially insensitive comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Commissioner Adam Silver announced Sterling is banned from the league for life. (Reuters)

The NBA announced Tuesday that Donald Sterling has been banned for life and fined $2.5 million. Commissioner Adam Silver also said he would ask the league’s Board of Governors to do everything in their power to force the sale of the team.

“The discipline issued today is based on the Commissioner’s conclusion that Mr. Sterling violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league,” the NBA said in a statement.

Now the questions become:

1.) Will the NBA’s owners back Silver? Initial reaction from owners on Twitter suggests they will. Heck, even the Clippers — the team that still is technically owned by Sterling — seems to agree with the decision.

2.) Will Sterling take the NBA to court? History says he just might.

In 1981, Sterling purchased the Clippers, who were then located in San Diego. Three years later, emboldened by Al Davis’s move of the Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles, Sterling did the same. The NBA was not happy.

“When N.B.A. Commissioner David Stern fined him $25 million, Sterling sued the league for $100 million. Stern cut the fine to $6 million, taking it out of Sterling’s cut from expansion fees,” the New York Times recounted earlier this week.

To put this another way: For moving a team up the coast in 1984, Sterling was fined $25 million ($57.5 million in 2014 money), sued for $100 million ($230 million in 2014 money) and ended up paying — or not receiving, really — $6 million ($13.8 million in 2014 money). For making a racist statement in 2014, he was banned for life and fined $2.5 million. It’s almost like the NBA is daring him to sue, even though Sterling would face a nearly impossible legal battle, ESPN is saying.

Jim Gray of Fox News is reporting that Sterling told him “the team is not for sale. He will not be selling the team.” Of course, this conversation happened before the NBA announced its punishment, and Gray said Sterling was not aware of what the punishment would be.

The Post Sports Live crew discusses whether Donald Sterling will remain as owner of the L.A. Clippers after his alleged racist remarks. (Post Sports Live/The Washington Post)

More on Donald Sterling and the Clippers:

What are the Clippers worth?

Donald Sterling is banned for life from NBA

Sterling joins list of banned owners

Doc Rivers future may be up in the air

How the ‘nuclear option’ could work with Sterling

Late-night shows roast Sterling to varied success

Mark Jackson: Fans should protest Game 5

Donald Trump says Sterling’s girlfriend set him up

Sterling costs Clippers a bevy of sponsors

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.

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Kelyn Soong · April 29, 2014