Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who was banned for life from the NBA earlier this week is apparently fighting prostate cancer. The New York Post is reporting that sources have told them that Sterling has been battling cancer for some time. ESPN has confirmed the reports late Thursday night.
This comes to light as the 80-year old Sterling is facing the expected forced sale of the Clippers. After being banned for life after a recording of Sterling making racist comments was made public, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has asked the league’s owners to vote to force the sale of the Clippers, removing Sterling from his ownership role quickly. The commissioner will need at least three-quarters of the owners to vote to force a sale of the team by Sterling.
Earlier on Thursday, the NBA’s advisory/finance committee met and all ten members agreed to act quickly to terminate Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles franchise. The next step for the league is to call a vote by the owners. Whether the vote is in person or via teleconference is not known. Typically, with the NBA Play-Offs in full swing, a vote on most issues by the owners would meet at the conclusion of the season. However, at the urging of Commissioner Silver, it appears that the owners will meet sooner than later.
News of the Donald Sterling fighting cancer will likely not stop the vote to force the sale of the NBA team by the banned owner. The fight that Sterling was expected to give may now take a back seat. A battle with cancer may be all the fight that Sterling will be willing to take on. It is still the hope by some NBA owners that Sterling will just do the right thing and walk away. No word has come from the NBA officially if Sterling’s cancer was discussed or even known about when the advisory/finance committee met.
Ironically, one of Sterling’s assistant coaches with the Clippers had a fight with prostate cancer about a decade ago. Kim Hughes approached the Clippers owner to inquire about medical coverage. Sterling denied covering Hughes cancer fight. Four Clippers players stepped up and pooled together $70,000 to help with their assistant coach’s medical bills.
Since the reports came out about the recording which led to the lifetime ban from the NBA, a neighbor of Sterling reported that the disgraced owner is being extra careful and paranoid. According to the neighbor, Sterling has secluded himself in a penthouse office in one of his buildings in Beverly Hills after leaving his home in Malibu. A neighbor reported that Sterling and his estranged wife Shelly are worried about bugs or listening devices everywhere.
With the news that Donald Sterling is fighting cancer, questions will arise if this is a scheme by the banned NBA owner to attempt to keep his team. The fear is that Sterling could try to say that the medications or treatments had an adverse effect on his mind, affecting his judgment. Although, it may just be a coincidence that news of Sterling’s cancer fight came out now. It is expected that the NBA will comment on this new information in the next couple days.
Commentary by Carl Auer