Donald Sterling, the Los Angeles Clippers owner who was banned from the NBA for life Tuesday, is battling prostate cancer.
In addition to the lifetime ban, Sterling was fined $2.5 million and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver urged the league’s other owners to force the sale of the Clippers because of racist remarks by Sterling that became public last weekend. The New York Post first reported that Sterling, 80, has the disease and sources confirmed it to ESPN.
Blake Griffin said after the Clippers’ 100-99 loss to Golden State in Game 6 of their NBA playoff series that he was unaware of Sterling’s illness. “If that is true, my thoughts and prayers are with him,” Griffin said (via ESPN). “Nobody deserves to go through something like that.”
On Thursday, the NBA’s advisory and finance committee, consisting of 10 men with ownership stakes in teams, met for the first time since Silver announced Sterling’s punishment and “unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible” on beginning the process of removing Sterling as one of the league’s 30 owners. The committee will meet again next week.
Until recently, Sterling’s ownership was marked by frugality, as assistant coach Kim Hughes learned in 2004 in a twist on the Sterling prostate cancer story that the New York Times recounted earlier this week.
After receiving a diagnosis of a slow-growing prostate cancer, Hughes wanted to postpone surgery, but then-coach Mike Dunleavy encouraged him to get a second opinion. That doctor urged Hughes, who has a family history of the disease, to have surgery quickly, but he was told by the Clippers that his health insurance did not cover the $70,000 surgery and that they could not make an exception for him. Hughes proceeded with the operation and later learned that players Chris Kaman, Corey Maggette, Elton Brand and Marko Jaric had paid for it.