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An Open Letter To Donald Sterling

Jabari Davis pens an open letter to Donald Sterling in the aftermath of NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s monumental lifetime ban.

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Dear Donald Tokowitz (legally changed to Sterling):

Today’s judgment from NBA commissioner Adam Silver must have come as quite a surprise to you, just as it did to many of us. A $2.5 million fine may go relatively unnoticed by a billionaire such as yourself, but Silver’s decision to also impose a lifetime ban from the NBA would almost certainly grab the attention of even the most self-absorbed and detached individual imaginable.

While we can only praise and commend newly-appointed Commissioner Silver for possessing the courage to do what some of his predecessors and contemporaries failed to do in the past, it is not without consideration of how you might actually feel about the situation. Aside from any understandable bewilderment you may have surrounding how and why your “girlfriend” would allegedly turn the audio tapes over to a media outlet, it must have been equally as confusing to have the league finally react to one of the reprehensible acts you’ve managed to make a thing of commonplace throughout the years.

There must have been a certain level of comfort in having your peers and fellow owners continue to turn a blind eye to stories of class action lawsuits and accusations of racism, sexism and discrimination, as well as the knowledge that you once said the black tenants that rented property from you “smell” and “aren’t clean” while “all Mexicans just sit around and smoke and drink all day.”

With the news that Silver fully expects to receive the necessary support and ¾ vote by the rest of the owners that would eventually lead to the forced sale (league coordinated a la New Orleans in 2012) of the Los Angeles Clippers, we would fully understand if you felt at least a touch of the “Et tu, Brute’s” given their track-record right about now.

It is presumed that we can fully expect an eventual response from your representation, undoubtedly with a lengthy, and furious legal battle to follow. At the very least, while you may have to “pay” for harboring and sharing such detestable feelings toward minorities, it is only right that you receive the fair market value for what was once your property in the event the NBA did end up selling the franchise.

There are always a fair amount of people that will find a way to turn anyone into a sympathetic figure, and while you are certain to have their misguided support, unlike a favorite Rolling Stones tune you may have heard once or twice before, there will be absolutely no sympathy coming for you. The very notion that since you grew up in a different time you should somehow be granted certain social exceptions when it comes to being politically correct, humane and even racially sensitive is ridiculous. If anything, because you’ve lived so long, you should know better and should have progressed along with the times. That has been an overused justification and excuse for years, but clearly times have changed.

As you should, please feel free to enjoy the inevitable absurd amount of money you will eventually make from the sale. No need for speeches. No need to explain yourself at this point, which judging by the reports that you expressed “no remorse” for your actions, seems unlikely anyhow. From the majority of the basketball-loving population, please leave the ball in the corner of the gym and go home, Mr. Sterling.

Jabari Davis is a senior NBA Writer and Columnist for Basketball Insiders, covering the Pacific Division and NBA Social Media activity.

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