Born in India, Vivek Ranadive was one of the first NBA owners to denounce Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling after racist remarks attributed to him surfaced over the weekend.
On Tuesday, after Sterling was hit with a lifetime ban, the new chairman of the Sacramento Kings was quick to cheer NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, saying he would support Silver’s plan to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.
“Commissioner Silver has shown zero tolerance, and I applaud him for his decision,” Ranadive said Tuesday, speaking with reporters from his software company’s headquarters in Palo Alto.
Ranadive, along with Kings part-owner Shaquille O’Neal, is one of a handful of NBA owners who belong to an ethnic minority, a fact cited by Silver during his announcement of Sterling’s ban. “I believe we have a very diverse league, but I’d always like to see it become more diverse,” Silver told reporters in New York.
Silver said he would ask NBA owners to force Sterling to sell the team; he said he has consulted with several owners and is certain he can gain the necessary three-quarters, supermajority vote.
Ranadive, who spoke with Silver on Sunday, said Silver can count on the Kings’ vote. “I will be 100 percent supportive for forcing the sale of the team,” he said.
He said he believes the league has the authority to force a team’s sale, noting that the NBA has secured the option of purchasing the Kings and moving the team out of Sacramento if the new downtown arena is delayed beyond 2017. “So I know the league can vote to take the team away,” Ranadive said.
The building is supposed to open in 2016.
Ranadive said that when he spoke to Silver on Sunday, they agreed that “it gives us no pleasure to kick somebody when they’re down.” But the Sterling remarks were so “shameful,” Ranadive felt that the Clippers owner needed to be removed.
Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.