Unintentional or not, Nets forward Kevin Garnett curiously invoked the name of commissioner Adam Silver’s predecessor when talking about Donald Sterling Wednesday morning.
“Stern,” Garnett said of Silver’s decision to ban the Clippers owner for life and fine him $2.5 million, the maximum punishment allowable. “Very stern. He’s definitely setting the tone for any ignorance, and it’s what it was. I thought he came out very aggressive, which I think he needs to obviously make a statement, and I think he did.”
Sterling’s punishment came following an investigation into an audio tape with racially charged comments from Sterling with his mistress, including a request that she not bring black people to his team’s games. He had owned the Clippers since 1981, and had never been disciplined by the NBA despite numerous allegations of racism.
Another twist is that Garnett could have been a Clipper. Doc Rivers, Garnett’s former coach with the Boston Celtics, is the coach there, and there were rumors last summer that the Clippers were mulling a DeAndre Jordan-for-Garnett trade. It ultimately didn’t happen, leading to this classically Garnett statement yesterday.
Other players shrugged off the decision, ultimately calling it fair but turning their focus to Game 5. They’re tied 2-2 with the Raptors heading into Game 5.
“I’m sure Mr. Sterling probably regrets what he said,” Deron Williams said in a throng of reporters at the team’s shootaround Wednesday morning, adding a caveat. “I haven’t listened to the tape, I don’t know (what it was), but it’s an unfortunate situation for everybody, for the league, for the Clippers organization … Very negative situation that’s getting a lot of attention, and it’s not the kind of attention you really want on the NBA.”
The Nets released a statement supporting Silver’s decision Tuesday afternoon: “The Nets organization welcomes and fully supports the decision and remains committed to tolerance and respect for all.”