Warriors vs. Clippers Was A Playoff Series For The Ages

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Banned For Life

p Apr 29, 2014; New York, NY, USA; NBA commissioner Adam Silver addresses the media regarding the investigation involving Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (not pictured) at New York Hilton Midtown. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

On the Monday night after Game 4, the NBA announced that commissioner Adam Silver would be holding a press conference at 11 AM PST the next morning, presumably handing down penalties toward Sterling.

This would be Silver’s first real test in his young tenure as the NBA’s head man. The public, already disappointed by Silver’s previous comments on the situation when he sounded unsure of himself during a press conference in Memphis, was on edge waiting to see what punishment Silver would hand down.

And boy, did Silver deliver the speech of a lifetime. It wasn’t overly dramatic, but it set just the right tone. It wasn’t the best delivery; Silver stuttered a few times and looked down at his notes a majority of the time. But midway through, Silver paused, looked straight at the camera, and raised his voice:

"“Accordingly, effective immediately, I am banning Mr. Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA.”"

That was all he needed to say, and that was all that everyone needed to hear.

Boycott — Almost

If Silver hadn’t come down hard on Sterling during Tuesday morning’s press conference, there might not have been a Game 5 on Tuesday night. The Warriors had devised a plan to boycott Game 5 at Staples Center if they felt the punishment handed down was not sufficient.

Marcus Thompson of the Bay Area News Group gives us the details:

"The Warriors were going to go through pre-game warm-ups and take part in the national anthem and starting line-up introductions. They were going to take the floor for the jump ball, dapping up the Clippers players as is customary before games. Then once the ball was in the air, they were just going to walk off. All 15 of them."

It’s chilling to even think about: the ball being tossed in the air for the start of the game, but instead of a player tapping it back, the ball landing with a thud on the ground, and both teams’ players walking away in protest. It would have been infamous, one of the most iconic moments not just in NBA history, but in sports history, replayed millions and millions of times now and forever. It would have been known as the time when two adversaries set their rivalry aside and came together for the better good, to demand justice and righteousness in the wake of evil.

Well, it never happened. Silver banned Sterling for life, players around the league nodded their heads in approval, and Game 5 was no longer in jeopardy.