Roger Mason, Jr., NBA Player’s Association Vice President, appeared on Jim Rome’s Showtime show yesterday, and claimed that LeBron James is not playing next year if Donald Sterling is still an owner. James is getting ready for the potentially series clinching game 5 tonight in Miami against the Nets, but will likely have to answer some questions about this to get his position accurately portrayed in the public.
According to USA Today Sports’ Jeff Zillgitt, this does not match what James just said on Sunday.
At the end of the day, this is going to be a long litigation when it comes to that. This guy who’s owned the team since the ’80s is not going to just give the team up in a day. So we understand it’s going to be long, but we want what’s right.
Mason’s portrayal of LeBron’s stance likely does not reflect the full nuance of the situation. Would LeBron really sit out because the league was embroiled in a battle with Sterling to remove him, but legally had not accomplished it? The quote from Sunday would seem to reflect the logical answer of “no.”
On the other hand, the league does likely have to appear to be doing everything in its power to try to get it accomplished. And simply passing the ownership to his estranged wife does not appear to be a solution that would be palatable to players.
Mason also said, “No Sterling deserves to be an owner of that franchise any longer, and I’ve gone down the line from LeBron to the other guys in the league that I’ve talked to and they all feel the same way. There’s no place for that family in the NBA.”
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