The NBA was quick to deal with Donald Sterling after his racist comments came to light, but it may have to wait a bit longer to force the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner to relinquish control of the team.
However, former superstar player and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley believes there will be major issues in the Association if Sterling is able to retain his grasp on the club heading into the 2014-15 campaign.
According to Will Brinson of CBS Sports, Barkley appeared on The Dan Patrick Show on Friday morning to discuss the league's predicament in regards to Sterling. The Round Mound of Rebound made the bold claim that games would not be played if the 80-year-old Sterling, who has been banned for life from the NBA, still has ownership of the franchise:
Charles Barkley on @dpshow: "No basketball is going to be played next year if Donald Sterling still owns the Clippers"— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) May 2, 2014
Barkley is never one to shy away from speaking his mind. His influential voice is one that fans and players alike respect, and his latest opinion is one that will likely resonate with both groups.
Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report provided LeBron James' thoughts on a possible strike:
LeBron, responding to Barkley's comments, says the players have not talked about striking next season if Sterling is still around. Yet.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) May 2, 2014
It is unknown if Barkley has any inside information on the players' plans to boycott games or if he is just speculating that would likely be the course of action assuming Sterling is still somewhat in a position of power.
This isn’t the first time a boycott has been brought up after Sterling’s racist audiotape surfaced. Per Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group, the Golden State Warriors were planning to walk out on Game 5 of their series against the Clippers had Sterling not been banished from the league.
Hopefully a situation like that never has to come about. The NBA Advisory Committee unanimously voted to back commissioner Adam Silver and formally started the process of terminating Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles-based franchise.
However, there is some speculation that Sterling—who is reportedly battling cancer—may take a litigious route and delay or possibly block the sale of the team. Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today noted that a divorce filing from wife Rochelle would hold up the process as their complicated assets (such as the franchise owned by a family trust) are divided.
Sharon Kalemkiarian, a family law specialist in San Diego, explained the situation to Schrotenboer:
If somebody is looking for a litigation strategy, and they want to slow down a forced sale by the league, you file for divorce so you get more people involved arguing over it. Everybody's got to spend more money trying to figure out what happens to it. Getting the family court involved in it would create another layer of complexity to the sale and another set of lawyers who would be trying stop it from getting sold.
It will be interesting to see how Sterling and the league handle this situation. However, it seems Barkley is convinced the players will not participate in some or all games next year if Sterling manages to drag out the process.
That is a situation the league must avoid at all costs, so expect Silver to do everything in his power to keep it from happening.