• Obama says NBA ‘right’ to ban Clippers owner

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    Chandler Parsons #25 of the Houston Rockets drives past Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers as Robin Lopez #42 defends in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. AFP PHOTO

    Chandler Parsons #25 of the Houston Rockets drives past Nicolas Batum #88 of the Portland Trail Blazers as Robin Lopez #42 defends in Game 5 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. AFP PHOTO

    WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the NBA’s decision to ban Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for making racist remarks, the White House spokesman said Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

    Obama, an avid basketball fan and recreational player, “believes the NBA has done the right thing,” Jay Carney told reporters.

    On Tuesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from professional basketball for life and urged the league’s other owners to force the real estate tycoon to sell the Clippers.

    Sterling was caught on tape telling his much-younger girlfriend that he did not want her associating with black people or attending Clippers games with black friends.

    NBA owners will likely force out the disgraced Donald Sterling, one owner said on Wednesday, as speculation intensified about who would snap up the Los Angeles Clippers after the billionaire was banned for making racist comments.

    National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver hit the 80-year-old Sterling with a lifetime ban from all NBA activities and the maximum $2.5 million fine on Tuesday, steep penalties that drew praise from far and wide.

    A three-quarters vote of owners is needed to force the real estate tycoon to sell—he is the longest-serving owner in the NBA after buying the team for $12 million in 1981—and Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive told ESPN Radio that he expects a unanimous 29-0 vote in favor.

    A forced sale could come at an opportune time for Sterling, whose club has been valued by Forbes at $575 million but could go for much more with the NBA preparing to renegotiate its lucrative national television contract.

    But Sterling hasn’t shied away from litigation in the past and could choose to fight expulsion from the league through the courts. He did not immediately respond to Silver’s sanctions and has kept a low profile since a recording of his racist comments surfaced on Saturday.

    Rockets stay alive with win over Trail Blazers
    In San Antonio, Dwight Howard scored 22 points and pulled down 18 rebounds on Wednesday as the Houston Rockets stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with a 108-98 victory over Portland.

    Houston came into the contest trailing 3-1 in the tight series, in which three of the first four games went to overtime.

    Wednesday’s game was also close, but Houston closed it out with an 8-0 scoring run to narrow the gap in the series to 3-2.

    AFP

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