All Articles Tagged "NBA"

Atlanta Hawks Owner To Sell His Interest In The Team After Admitting To Racist Email

September 8th, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Another day, another sports scandal. This time it’s the Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson who’s admitted to sending an offensive email in 2012 that said basically the Hawks games were populated by too many Black people.

The email came to light after June free agent discussions began. During the course of talks and a review of various documents, the email was discovered.

In it, Levenson expressed concern that White fans were “scared away” from Hawks home games because the fans in attendance were overwhelmingly Black, as were everything from the bars to the cheerleading squad to the kiss cam. In this respect, he says, the Hawks games don’t “look like” the games for other teams in the league.

“I have been open with our executive team about these concerns. I have told them I want some white cheerleaders and while i don’t care what the color of the artist is, i want the music to be music familiar to a 40 year old white guy if that’s our season tixs demo,” the memo reads in part, explaining that this isn’t the first time he’s spoken about these feelings. He expressed his belief that the lack of White fans was having a business impact, with the Black fan base lacking the money to purchase season’s tickets. He also noted his belief that it kept corporations away, who are also usually season ticket holders and big spenders at sporting events.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement last night saying that Levenson came to him with the email and his decision to sell his controlling interest in the team. “He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family – fans, players, team employees, business partners and fellow team owners – for having diverted attention away from our game,” the statement says.

Levenson had actually been vocal about ousting Donald Sterling as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers after a racist audio rant from him was made public.

Atlanta is 54 percent Black and 34 percent White and has close ties to the city’s history in the civil rights movement. The Black population actually declined from 62 percent in 2010.

Moreover, as The Washington Post notes, the city is known for having a larger than average Black middle class, even if they took a hit from the economic recession.

Atlanta’s identification with the black middle class makes Levenson’s claims all the more mystifying. Though African Americans households lost more than half of their net worth in the Great Recession, NPR said Atlanta was “virtually synonymous with the black middle class” in 2011. Though it said that African American median income was much lower than that of whites, the Root pointed out in 2010 that Atlanta has the largest concentration of black millionaires in the country.” Among them at the time: OutKast and real-estate developer Herman Russell.

Hawks CEO and part-owner Steve Koonin will be in charge while the sale takes place. Today, he issued a statement on the team’s website, addressed to Atlanta residents and fans:

Today’s statement from Controlling Owner Bruce Levenson is extremely disappointing and the email that he sent over two years ago was alarming, offensive and most of all, completely unacceptable and does not reflect the principles and values of the Hawks organization. In partnership with the NBA, we will work to ensure that a new ownership team will be put in place that is united and committed to the Atlanta community.

[UPDATE] Did I Say That? Drake’s Shout Out To Kevin Durant Lands Toronto Raptors $25K Fine

August 12th, 2014 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Drake's Shout Out To Kevin Durant


During a set in his Drake VS Lil Wayne concert series, Drake accidentally made comments that prompted the NBA to fine the Toronto Raptors. Oops. Did he do that?

While performing in his hometown Toronto, Drake gave a shout out to NBA MVP Kevin Durant who was in the audience: “You know, my brother Kevin Durant was kind enough to come to the show tonight and watch us. I just want him to see what would happen if he came to play in Toronto. Let him know what would happen.” The crowd chanted in response.

The NBA league deemed his statement a public recruitment pitch. ESPN reports Durant will become a free agent come summer 2016. Teams like the New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets, LA Lakers and his home state team, the Washington Wizards, are vying to snag Durant with salaries that will out match each other. Drake, who has served as the Toronto Raptors’ global ambassador since 2013, violated the NBA’s anti-tampering rules. Therefore, he landed the Raptors a fine of $25,000.

Below is a video of the incident occurring. Hopefully Drake’s innocent shout out will be a lesson to fellow team ambassadors.

Update: The NBA allegedly offered to drop the $25,000 fine if the team removed Drake as their global team ambassador. Thankfully for Drake, the Raptors remained loyal and passed on that option. It should be noted, Drake’s ambassador position is unpaid. Globe and Mail reports: “The Toronto hip-hop star has a title, but it cannot be claimed he is an employee of the basketball team. By definition, an employee works for wages. Drake draws no salary. When the Raptors gave out Drake-branded OVO T-shirts at a game in January, they were purchased at cost. Drake didn’t make a nickel of profit from them.”

Foul! Civil Rights Leaders Push NBA To Increase Diversity In Front Office

June 6th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Amid the Donald Sterling racism scandal the NBA itself has come under scrutiny. A close look shows that out of 92 teams, there is only one black principal owner.

The lack of diversity in the NBA, as well as in the NFL and Major League Baseball, is outlandish. Blacks play on the field and the court but are not in the boardrooms or ownership boxes. In 2013, 76.3 percent of NBA players were African-American and about 43.3 percent of NBA coaches were black compared. But only two percent of the league’s majority owners are black, according to a report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. And of the NBA’s 49 majority owners, former baller Michael Jordan of the Charlotte Bobcats was the only person of color, reports FiveThirtyEight.

Now the Rev. Al Sharpton and other civil rights leaders are pushing for increased diversity in NBA front offices and among suppliers, and they have met Commissioner Adam Silver to discuss the issue.

The group of civil rights leaders including Sharpton, National Urban League President Marc Morial and incoming NAACP President Cornell Brooks. They discussed the matter with Silver for more than an hour at the league’s Manhattan offices in a session described as constructive, reports The Grio.

“There must be serious dialogue around ownership and business engagement in the black community,” Sharpton said. “It is offensive that we only have one black majority owner in the basketball area when over 80 percent of the players are black.”

Morial added, “We’re pleased that it appears that they’re on their way out as owners of the Clippers. However, the larger discussion about ownership, supply diversity and the future of the National Basketball Association is what we as civil rights leaders are going to focus on with the NBA.”

Donald Sterling Will Let His Wife Sell The Clippers, But She’s Got Terms For The Sale

May 23rd, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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via ABC News

via ABC News

Reports say Donald Sterling has decided to turn ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers over to his wife Shelly who will then sell the team voluntarily. USA Today says it spoke with someone familiar with the situation on an anonymous basis. It’s unclear why Shelly is changing her mind after telling Barbara Walters during a televised interview that she would fight for her part of the team. Another source says she would like to hang on to a “minority interest” in the team. We will have to wait from word from the NBA about those terms because Donald Sterling was banned from the league on April 29 and, technically, the team is owned by the Sterling Family Trust. Both Donald and Shelly Sterling are named on behalf of the trust.

Donald Sterling is the league’s longest-tenured owner, according to The Washington Post. He made it clear during his interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he felt he’s too old to fight for the team. (Among other things he made clear during that interview.) Since he was banned, he’s vowed not to pay the $2.5 million fine he received and, just this week, was formally charged by the NBA.

TMZ says the team could reap $1 billion for the couple, adding to the billions Sterling already has. “We’re told Shelly realizes the NBA wants the team sold, but she has significantly more leverage and credibility with the league than Donald.  Her end game is simple — she won’t object to the sale, but SHE wants to call the shots,” the site says.

Entrepreneur, NBA Owner Mark Cuban Apologizes To Trayvon Martin’s Family Over Comments On Race

May 22nd, 2014 - By Tonya Garcia
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Update: Mark Cuban has apologized to the family of Trayvon Martin for his remarks about racism and prejudice.

“In hindsight I should have used different examples,” he posted on Twitter. “I didn’t consider the Trayvon Martin family, and I apologize to them for that.”

However, “beyond apologizing to the Martin family, I stand by the words and substance of the interview,” he wrote.

On June 3, Cuban and the other NBA owners will vote on whether or not to force LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell his team. Cuban said, when he first heard the remarks Sterling made, that he found them “abhorrent” and said, there’s “no place for racism in the NBA, any business I’m associated with.” But, he said, forcing Sterling to sell the team could be a “very slippery slope.”


Mark Cuban, a noted entrepreneur and owner of the NBA team the Dallas Mavericks, spoke with Inc about prejudice and racism, a timely topic in light of recent controversy surrounding his fellow NBA owner Donald Sterling. In his remarks, he starts by owning up to a personal prejudice, but also stating that everyone is prejudiced in some way.

“If I see a black kid in a hoodie and it’s late at night, I’m walking to the other side of the street. And if on that side of the street, there’s a guy that has tattoos all over his face–white guy, bald head, tattoos everywhere–I’m walking back to the other side of the street,” he says to the camera.

Stating that “we’re all prejudiced in one way or the other” and that some people just have trouble adapting, adopting and evolving new ways of thinking, he says he’s an advocate for trying to help someone who makes racist comments or has prejudiced beliefs rather than just firing them or sending them away.

“It’s part of my responsibility as an entrepreneur to try and solve it. Not just to kick the problem down the road because it does my company no good, does my customers no good and it does society no good,” he says.

What do you think of Cuban’s comments?

via Inc

It’s Official! The NBA Formally Charges Donald Sterling With “Damaging The League”

May 21st, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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NBA lawyers reportedly authenticate Donald Sterling audio after meeting with V. Stiviano's attorney.

Source: WENN

Although L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been making headlines with his racist comments, his wacky interview with Anderson Cooper, and news of his defying the NBA imposed fine of $2.5 million, he had yet to be officially charged by the league — until now. The NBA has finally formally charged Sterling with damaging the league and its teams with his racist remarks. And the league has set up a June 3rd hearing after which the other owners could vote to terminate Sterling’s ownership of the Clippers.

According to the league, Sterling, who the NBA has already banned for life, has engaged in other conduct that has impaired its relationship with fans and merchandising partners.

“All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA constitution and related agreements,” the league said in a statement.

Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the charge, and the right to appear at the hearing and make a presentation before the board of governors, reports The Grio. While Sterling can have a lawyer at the hearing, strict courtroom rules of evidence are not applicable. Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor, the board chairman, will preside over the two-day hearing in New York.

Sterling wants more time. His attorney, Maxwell Blecher, requested a three-month delay, according to a person with knowledge of the situation said, confirming a report by  But don’t expect the league to  grant it, says an inside informant.

“Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and ‘minorities’; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities,” the NBA said.

But it gets worse for Sterling. The NBA also claims that Sterling destroyed evidence and provided false and misleading evidence to the NBA investigator. They also charge that the Clippers issued a false and misleading media statement about the situation. The league cited “a failure to use best efforts to see to it that the sport of professional basketball is conducted according to the highest moral and ethical standards.”

“Mr. Sterling’s actions and positions significantly undermine the NBA’s efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA’s relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA’s relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders,” the league said.

And if Sterling fails to respond to the charge within five business days, or does not appear at the hearing, it would be seen an admission of the “total validity of the charges as presented,” according to the constitution.

I Ain’t Paying! Donald Sterling Says He’s Not Paying $2.5 Million NBA Fine

May 19th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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la clippers owner racist rant


The Sterling saga continues. According to new reports, disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling says he won’t pay the $2.5 million fine the NBA has imposed on him for making racist remarks.

Sources close to the situation say Sterling’s lawyer has penned a letter to the NBA saying his client has no intention of paying the fine. Sports Illustrated was the first to report the letter from attorney Maxwell Blecher and the contents were confirmed by someone who spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity. “Sports Illustrated reported that the letter to NBA executive vice president and general counsel Rick Buchanan said Sterling would not pay the fine because it violated his right to due process,” reports The Huffington Post. The letter also reportedly says the controversy “will be adjudicated.”

The AP source said that if Sterling doesn’t pay the fine, the league could withhold $2.5 million from the Clippers when disbursing money to teams.

Blecher has acknowledged sending a letter but would not discuss what it said.

“We regard the dispute between Sterling and the NBA to be a private matter,” said Blecher. “We do not intend to have a trial in the press.”

The NBA’s Advisory/Finance Committee met recently and will reconvene this week, according to league spokesman Mike Bass.

“The committee discussed the recent media appearances by Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling, received updates on the hiring of Dick Parsons as the Los Angeles Clippers interim CEO and on his meeting yesterday with Clippers employees, and reviewed the status of the charge for termination of the Clippers’ ownership,” he said in a brief statement.

But it doesn’t seem Sterling, who has owned the Clippers since 1981, has a legal leg to stand on. The league’s constitution, which Sterling signed as controlling owner of the team, gives its board of governors much leeway in league decisions, even team ownership. And Article 13 (d) of the constitution states that an owner cannot “fail or refuse to fulfill” contractual obligations to the NBA “in such a way to affect the Association or its members adversely.” As an NBA team owner he must pay all fines imposed by the NBA under its constitution.

The decision has yet to be made about whether Sterling must sell the Clippers. But during a recent interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling said he wasn’t sure about fighting that decision in court.

“People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to have to hire a wall of lawyers and go to war,” Sterling said on CNN. “I don’t think that’s the answer.”

The Clippers players have threatened to boycott league games if Sterling stays on.

No. 98 Is No.1! NBA To Donate Proceeds Of Jason Collins’ Jersey Sales To LGBT Nonprofits

March 3rd, 2014 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Daniel Tanner/

Daniel Tanner/

Jason Collins, NBA’s first openly gay player, has risen into the spotlight as his No. 98 jersey flies off the racks! Some are singing songs of praise for Collins’ new found popularity. Others say he’s using his “gay card” for profit. But both sides must agree that NBA’s new move to donate No. 98’s proceeds is nothing but noble.

The NBA is giving away at least $100,000 of the proceeds of their top seller to the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and the Matthew Shepard Foundation, which was formed in memory of Matthew Wayne Shepard who was brutally murdered in 1998 during a notorious hate crime. The latter nonprofit organization is fitting as Collins selected No. 98 for his jersey to pay homage to Shepard.

After Thursday night’s game with the Denver Nuggets, Collins met with the Shepard family — the mother, father, and brother —  and gave ‘em a signed No.98 jersey, according to ESPN.

The basketball league also plans to auction off Collins’ game-worn, autographed jerseys for the two selected nonprofits.

“It’s cool to see that people are going out there and buying the jersey and, you know, wearing it with pride. So I hope that continues, and you know I’ll keep wearing the jersey and keep going out there and trying to, you know, do my job,” he told CNN.

Collins also expressed his gratitude for the NBA’s gift. ““I’m thrilled to work with the league to support two fantastic organizations, both of which work tirelessly to ensure LGBT youth get the resources and assistance they need to be successful in life,” Collins said.

Collins, a 12-year veteran, has played for Memphis, Atlanta, New Jersey, Boston, Minnesota, and Washington. He was a free agent when he came out about his sexuality last April. “He remained unsigned until the Nets inked him to a 10-day contract Sunday,” Business Insider reports.

Tonight, see Collins in action as he plays against the Chicago Bulls at 7:30 pm EST!

The NBA’s First Openly Gay Play, Jason Collins, Most Popular; His No. 98 Nets Jersey Top Seller

February 28th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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via Twitter

Collins with the family of Matthew Shepard. via Twitter

The ink isn’t even dry on Jason Collins’ new contract with the Brooklyn Nets, but his jersey is selling like there’s no tomorrow. No. 98, to be worn by Collins, the first openly gay, active player in the United States’ four big sports leagues, is the hottest selling jersey on the market. This makes Collins the NBA’s most popular player by jersey sales, reports CNN. Collins says he selected 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, the gay University of Wyoming student murdered in 1998.

While some are excited by the news, others suggest Collins “was profiting because he is gay….Some questioned why Collins was being held out as an icon while, in their view, athletes who publicly profess their Christianity are criticized,” reports CNN. Those complaining point out that Collins is not considered a star player by any means.

Collins, 35, has had a varied career–having played for New Jersey, Memphis, Minnesota, Atlanta, Boston and Washington during is 12 years as an NBA player. Collins’ contract with the Brooklyn Nets is just for 10 days, though it is speculated he will be signed on for the remained of the season.

“Jason Collins’ return to the league represents a historic moment, and fans continue to show their support by (buying) Jason’s jersey,” said Picca.

According to NBA Senior Vice President Vicky Picca, Collins’ No. 98 Brooklyn Nets uniform is the top-seller on, beating out LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin.

WNBA Athlete Pam McGhee Tells Denver Nuggets NBA Son: “Wrap It Up”

January 29th, 2014 - By Madame Noire
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OWN Network

OWN Network



From The Grio 

The Oprah Winfrey Network’s new series Mom’s Got Game, explores the relationship between former WNBA star Pam McGee, and her 25-year-old son, Denver Nuggets center, JaVale McGee.

Pam is not only JaVale’s mother, but also his business manager, overseeing his four-year, $44 million dollar NBA contract.

Meanwhile Pam is managing her own life, attempting to get back into the dating game.

In an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon, Pam recalled her son recently lavishing her with the surprise gift of new Porsche.

“He’s just a generous good soul and a good spirit, and he wants to surprise his mother because he’s so thankful for the sacrifices that I’ve made, but most the times he buys me gifts and I take them back.”

“I’m basically his balance,” Pam said. “Because when your twenty five, you don’t know what you don’t know until you know. It’s no way that a 20-year-old can know what to do with millions of dollars. I let him know, ‘you a signed a contract for $44 million but don’t you forget my mother cleaned toilets for $1.25 an hour, so let’s not get it twisted.’”

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