So the Los Angeles NBA owner gets a lifetime ban. I think the braintrust of a sport can do that to players–and they have. Mainly for gambling. Why wouldn’t they be able to do that to coaches? Or owners?
The tricky spot is forcing Mr. Sterling to sell his team. I read somewhere today–maybe on ESPN–that litigation might be brought to the table. Meanwhile, I suspect that determined players, sponsors, and Los Angeles locals could, if they chose, throw the whole franchise off the cliff.
Mr Sterling might be entitled to own a team. But he has no right to have people buy tickets or advertising. And players can tank, refuse to play, or otherwise disengage. They could have boycotted their playoff game the other night. Given the way they played, that might very well have done so, so to speak.
The whole value of a team is predicated on a community acceptance of competition, support, patronage, and so on. Nothing is worth millions if nobody comes to see it, use it, or enjoy it.
Tough thing for Mr Sterling is that to get near-maximum value for the team, he needs to sell soon. Even if people decide not to throw the team off the cliff, it could decline greatly in value over the next several weeks. Forbes says the team today is worth $550M. How would $10M look in 2015?