CHICAGO -- The only thing that could've made the day for Garrett Temple, the Wizards' representative for the players union, any better was a close-out victory in Game 5 vs. the Chicago Bulls. That happened. After they'd practiced Tuesday morning, he watched a news conference in which NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life.
The NBA's longest-tenured owner, Sterling also was fined $2.5 million for explosive racial remarks he'd made that was captured by a recording. Sterling, Silver said, admitted it was his voice. Silver also said he would try to convince the league's other 29 owners to force him to sell the franchise.
"I was surprised it was that much but I was very happy," said Temple, who made a key defensive stop against Jimmy Butler in the Wizards' 75-69 victory to clinch their first-round series 4-1. "Commissioner Silver showed there was no letdown with Commissioner (David) Stern gone. He really stepped up to the plate.
"There's freedom of speech in America. But the NBA is its own entity and we showed we're not going to tolerate anything like that. I anticipated a suspension indefinitely and then maybe doing something a little bit later but he came down with the hammer. I'm very proud to be in the NBA right now. I could tell by his demeanor it was going to be a very stiff penalty.
"As (former NBA player) James Worthy said, it was the only option. Now it's up to the owners to do their thing and vote."