Adam Silver enjoying fruits of easiest decision he’ll ever make as NBA commissioner

by Kent Sterling

Adam Silver had some fun yesterday doing both the thing that made him feel good and made the best business sense.

Adam Silver had some fun yesterday doing both the thing that made him feel good and made the best business sense.

The opportunity to do the right thing and the most practical thing simultaneously doesn’t come along very often for a guy in charge, but it happened yesterday for NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is just that big a tool, and Silver has him to thank for grooving a batting practice fastball for him.

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For over three decades of ownership, Sterling has been a bizarre wing nut who has been sued again and again for racist business practices.  He was one of the worst owners in sports, and universally loathed by anyone who paid attention to the Clippers or justice.

Silver was able to cast out a racist, thrill both white and African American NBA players, coaches, staff, and fans, and piss off no one other than Sterling himself.  He was able to stave off the unpleasantness of a threatened boycott, and extoll the virtues of the NBA as an enterprise that welcomes all.

Sterling has been an iconoclast as an owner and human being throughout his life, and has never made an effort to gather friends and advocates.  A quick count of those who have said a remotely pleasant thing about Sterling as a businessman or human being come to zero.

Did it take great guts to exorcise a friendless pariah?  No, it was a slam-dunk simple call.  There was no option for Silver.  Without whacking Sterling with the absolute maximum penalty, the NBA might very easily have imploded with Silver seen as the cause.

That doesn’t mitigate the correctitude of Silver’s words and actions in yesterday’s press conference, but what he did was hardly heroic.  He did what was prudent.  Prudence is not the stuff of heroes.

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As for charges that the NBA should have acted sooner rather than allow Sterling to become the longest standing owner in the NBA, the burden for explanation belongs to Silver’s predecessor David Stern.  Silver has been on the job for three months, and bears no responsibility for anything that happened prior to February 1 when he took charge.

One day, Silver is going to have to make a 50-50 decision that requires foresight and wisdom.  He’s going to show his true colors on that day.  Yesterday wasn’t that day.

2 thoughts on “Adam Silver enjoying fruits of easiest decision he’ll ever make as NBA commissioner

  1. naksuthin

    A lot of American’s consider racial inequality and prejudice a thing of the past .
    They point out that the US has a half black president as proof that we no longer need to have affirmative action programs in colleges and universities. They contend that racial prejudice is confined to a small minority of poor white racists who have no power and no influence.


    Racial prejudice is still practiced by some of the most powerful and influential people in the country.

    They won’t say it to your face. They keep it hidden behind a false veneer of “racial correctness”. They may whisper it to their wives in the bedroom or maybe joke about it to a good friend at a private dinner party.
    They are not longer allowed to say they won’t rent to blacks or won’t hire blacks…but they have so many subtle ways of making sure to steer the blacks away

    And because you don’t often hear their racial slurs , jokes and comments it’s easy to fool everyone into thinking America is a color blind country

    It often takes a hidden microphone to lay bare the raw racial wounds in 21st century America. But then how many times do such comments go UNRECORDED??

    When we DO see racial prejudice, it’s often “disguised.”

    As in certain states that now demand people show a driver’s license before they are allowed to vote..even though they can prove that they’ve voted for years.
    As in certain colleges where a white person with good family connections and lots of money can get into a good college…but a poor black student has to rely on “test scores and entrance exams”
    As in certain states that allow any police officer to stop people who “appears to them” to be “undocumented persons”.
    Yes. America DID elect a half black president.

    …..Yet curiously, out of all 44 presidents….only the “black” one was asked to show his birth certificate to PROVE to a “certain group of Americans” that he was born in the USA. (despite the fact that 6 other US presidents ALSO had “foreign born:” parents.)

    Yes. Racial prejudice is still very much alive here in the USA.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      There is no doubt that racial prejudice continues to exist. Every generation becomes a little less focused on silly factors that separate us. Wish it could happen more quickly.

      Two years ago, my wife and I had a conversation with someone in a position of power at the place where I worked. I asked about whether a train from the airport was a good way to get downtown. She said, “No. It gets dark early on the way.” I paid no attention until my wife asked what she meant. Of course, it was a not-so-subtle code that it ran thru black neighborhoods. I was sickened. To my knowledge, that manager has never hired an African American.

      Happens all the time, I’m sure, and it’s both narrow-minded and bad business.


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