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Donald Sterling’s Lifetime Ban and the NBA’s New Power

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver holds a press conference to discuss Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling at the Hilton Hotel on April 29 in New York
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver holds a press conference to discuss Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling at the Hilton Hotel on April 29 in New YorkPhotograph by Elsa/Getty Images

The National Basketball Association banned its longest-tenured team owner for life. The league’s new commissioner, Adam Silver, announced the unprecedented move against Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling during a news conference in which he also levied the maximum allowable fine of $2.5 million and, most important, urged the league’s other owners to force Sterling to sell the team. These are strong measures taken days after a recording of Sterling’s racist remarks came to light. Here’s a look at what just happened:

1. This is the most that could be done. Before the announcement, I was one of many who questioned whether Silver could or would attempt to force Sterling out. My mistake was assuming something that had never happened before would not happen now. Silver has done the absolute most that his power as NBA commissioner allows, and he has stretched into the fullest extent of his authority less than three months after assuming the role.