LeBron James Won't Play Next Season if Donald Sterling Still Owns the Clippers
LeBron James might just take his talents home next season if Donald Sterling still owns the Los Angeles Clippers. In an excerpt released from tonight's episode of Jim Rome on Showtime, Roger Mason Jr., VP of the National Basketball Players Association, says that he spoke with LeBron and that the league's biggest star might boycott next season unless Sterling sells.
Update: Mason has since backtracked on his statement.
Jim Rome is a good guy and I may not have been clear when I responded to his question, so let me clear it up.— Roger Mason Jr (@MoneyMase) May 14, 2014
My bad if I was not clear. LBJ never said anything about boycotting. He's a friend and I would never want to imply something he didn't say— Roger Mason Jr (@MoneyMase) May 14, 2014
Original post continues below:
Though not in the clip above, according to CBS Sports the exchange begins with Mason explaining, "If it's not handled by... the start of next season, I don't see how we're playing basketball.
"I was just in the locker room with LeBron... At the end of the day, you know we have leaders. We have player reps, we've got executive committee members... Leaders of the teams, they're all saying the same thing: 'If this man is still in place, we ain't playing.'"
The clip above then picks up here:
"So, like LeBron, your guy LeBron. You think he would not play if Sterling were still in there when the season started?" Rome asks Mason.
"I was just in the locker room three or four days ago," Mason replies. "LeBron and I talked about this. He ain't playing if Sterling is still the owner."
Sterling, of course, was caught on tape making vile racist remarks in a conversation with his mistress, but his bigoted past goes well beyond those ramblings. Sterling, who made his money in property, has been sued several times for refusing to rent to minorities in some of his buildings and discriminatory housing practices.
James has not been afraid to publicly comment on the situation and has previously said there's "no place" in the NBA for Sterling. He's also said he wouldn't accept Sterling's wife retaining ownership of the team.
"As players, we want what's right, and we don't feel like no one in his family should be able to own the team," James said Monday night.
Sterling was hit with a lifetime ban from the NBA. With a vote by 22 of the NBA's 29 other owners, Sterling would be forced to sell the team. The ownership rights of all of his co-owners, including his wife, would also be voided.
James and Mason apparently want that vote to happen soon enough to have a new owner in place before the beginning of next season.
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