LeBron James May Lead NBA Player Boycott Over Sterling Ownership
Before anyone freaks out — LeBron James is not going to abstain from professional basketball in the midst of the NBA Playoffs. That is not a reasonable expectation, and don’t think that. It’s bad enough just to ponder the idea because, even if you’re not a fan of the Heat or of LeBron, he’s still the best player on earth, and watching someone that good at anything is always rewarding. But, of course, the Donald Sterling episode is a ultimately more important than whether Miami can come away with a third championship in as many years.
As far as implications go, though, this is a big one. The NBA was so quick to lay the hammer down on Sterling because of the increased visibility of a title-contending Clippers team, the stardom of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, and the undeniable nature of the phone calls. Unlike a court case, this was raw data confirming what most NBA fans knew for years — that Donald Sterling was, to put it mildly, an exceptionally unsavory person. The league tolerated him for so long because he was largely out of sight and mind for the average NBA fan. That was not the case in regards to the leaked phone calls.
In the teaser for tonight’s episode of Jim Rome on Showtime (which is Jim Rome’s television show on the Showtime network, to the surprise of no one), Roger Mason III, a former Heat wing and current NBA Player’s Association second in command, told Rome that LeBron “ain’t playing [next season] if Sterling is still the owner.”