Doc Rivers says Clippers ’employees were threatening to walk out’ before Game 5 of 2014 playoffs for getting called ‘racists’
Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers reveals team “employees were threatening to walk out” before Game 5 of the 2014 playoffs against the Golden State Warriors because they were being called “racists” by angry people on the phone.
The Donald Sterling racist audio tapes were released before Game 4, and all hell broke loose for the Clippers franchise after that. According to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN, people started calling the organization and hurled hurtful words toward the employees, with some even sending death threats.
It was such a traumatic experience for the employees that the NBA had to get a crisis counselor.
“The employees were threatening to walk out,” Rivers said. “They were getting bombarded by people calling them Uncle Tom, racists — and they didn’t do it. Donald did it.
“Adam had texted me several times, ‘Hey, you’re doing great. Just keep doing it. I don’t want to give you any guidance. Whatever you’re doing is perfect. Just keep doing it. But here’s my number.’
“I’m thinking, ‘OK, great. I’m not going to call Adam Silver.’ But when I went to that meeting and saw those employees with no one leading them — that was the day I called Adam and said, ‘Help.'”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver did the right thing by banning Sterling for life and forcing him to sell the Clippers.
The Clippers won that first round series against the Warriors in seven games. Ex-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer placed a bid of $2 billion to purchase the franchise in May of 2014.