NBA commissioner Adam Silver came down hard on Donald Sterling on Tuesday, banning the Los Angeles Clippers owner for life and vowing to push for the other 29 owners to force Sterling to sell his team.
But if Silver had only slapped him with a fine or a meaningless suspension, the Golden State Warriors were prepared to make a powerful statement.
According to Bay Area News Group’s Marcus Thompson, the Warriors had a detailed plan in place to boycott Game 5 if they thought Silver’s punishment was too light. Thompson reports that Golden State would have gone through their entire pregame routine, participated in the starting lineups and taken the court for the jump ball before walking off the court once the ball was thrown in the air.
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"It would have been our only chance to make a statement in front of the biggest audience that we weren’t going to accept anything but the maximum punishment," Stephen Curry said. "We would deal with the consequences later but we were not going to play."
The Warriors concocted the idea to be purposefully bold and controversial to send a message to the league. Curry, along with David Lee, Jermaine O’Neal and Draymond Green were behind the plan, which they came up with during their shootaround on Tuesday. They even discussed reaching out to the Clippers and sharing the idea with them in the hopes that they would join.
Thompson reports that Golden State wanted to protest earlier, but ultimately decided to give Silver a chance to act accordingly.
The walk-off certainly would have been a strong statement, but fortunately Silver sent a strong message of his own when he handed down his punishment to Sterling that prevented the dramatic scene at the Staples Center.