Yesterday, commissioner Adam Silver banned Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the NBA for life after Sterling was caught on tape making racist remarks. Once the punishment was announced, the Clippers put up a simple message on their website: We Are One. The NBA quickly followed the Clippers lead by releasing a powerful 30-second TV spot during last night's games that reinforced the message that the NBA stands together:
Payers, teams, and fans have embraced the We Are One sentiment since Sterling's comments were made public over the weekend.
Before Game 4 of their playoff series with the Warriors, the Clippers took off their warmup jackets at center court and wore their shirts on inside out in silent protest. It's a move that the Heat, Rockets, and Blazers have also done in a show of solidarity with the Clippers roster.
And it came out yesterday that the Warriors and Clippers planned a walkout of last night's Game 5 with Commissioner Silver didn't take decisive action against Sterling. Here's how the protest would have gone, according to Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson II:
The Warriors were going to go through pre-game warm-ups and take part in the national anthem and starting line-up introductions. They were going to take the floor for the jump ball, dapping up the Clippers players as is customary before games.
Then once the ball was in the air, they were just going to walk off. All 15 of them.
“It would have been our only chance to make a statement in front of the biggest audience that we weren’t going to accept anything but the maximum punishment,” [Stephen] Curry said. “We would deal with the consequences later but we were not going to play.”
This story is far from over. But players, owners, coaches, fans, and the league itself have all made it clear: We are united. And we are one.