by Sam Hieb
Sterling was a racist before the Paul trade, and he’d have remained one regardless, but the NBA validated him. They emboldened him. They transported him, in one motion, from the margin of the league to the forefront of it. They provided him a bigger voice, knowing full well the ugliness that could emanate. Under Paul’s leadership — not Sterling’s — the Clippers predictably became a top-three team in the Western Conference, re-signing Griffin, luring Rivers, and attracting a bevy of the usual ring chasers. From his courtside seat, Sterling savored the wins, the sellout crowds and the playoff appearances. He looked like a maitre d’ whose restaurant sat empty for three decades and suddenly had a line snaking around the block.
SI speculates the Clippers were on LeBron James’ list when his contract runs out after this season, but “given how strongly James condemned Sterling on Saturday, he seemed to be crossing the Clippers off the list.”
Irony of course is the best thing that could happen for the NBA right now is for the Clippers to make a deep playoff run…..