LeBron James spoke to the media about an audio recording in which a man TMZ identified as Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling makes racially insensitive comments, telling reporters that, if Sterling is the man on the recording, “there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league.”
Here are excerpts from the transcript on the Miami Herald’s Heat Check blog:
“If the reports are true, it’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in our league,” James said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, Hispanic, whatever, all across the races. It’s unacceptable and as a commissioner in our league, they have to make a stand, and they have to be very aggressive with it. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but you just can’t have that in our league. We’re the model citizens of all sports around the world and because we’re the most recognizable, I mean, it figures. You see us all the time, you see our logos, you see our players, and for an owner to come out and say the things that he said, it’s very disrespectful, it’s very appalling and one of my best friends and dear friends plays on his team in Chris Paul and I haven’t had an opportunity to talk to him, but I can only imagine what’s going through his head.”
The Clippers face Golden State in Game 3 of their NBA playoff series and prepared as people were urging a player boycott. James acknowledged that would be difficult and Coach Doc Rivers, speaking for his team, said his players would play Sunday.
“I kind of wavered back and forth whether I would actually sit out. If our owner would come out and say the things that he said, I would really have to sit down with my teammates, talk to my family because at the end of the day, our family, and our teammates are way more important than that. Basketball is huge, obviously the playoffs have been unbelievable, and I hate the fact that something like this has to come out when the playoffs have been unbelievable and the game of basketball continues to grow, but there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league. There is no room for him.”
James said he wasn’t angered that this became an issue.
“Just disappointed more than anything. There is only 30 owners and 400-plus of us. For a player, I just think…I put my…I can only imagine if a player came out and said something of that stature what would happen to us as players. So, I believe in [Commissioner] Adam [Silver], I believe in the NBA and they have to do something and do something very fast and quickly before this really gets out of hand. Like I said, there is no room for Donald Sterling in our league, man. There it is.”
More on Sterling and the Clippers: