For the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards, that means they did not know whether they would be taking the court within six hours of their Game 5 tipoff. Playoff basketball will go on Tuesday night as scheduled, but it would not have if Sterling had not been punished to the players' satisfaction.
All six playoff teams would have boycotted tonight's games if Sterling had not been banned, according to the vice president of the NBA Player's Association. The players additionally had a legal strategy in place to make sure they still got paid in case of a boycott, by claiming Title VII of the Civil Rights Act that prohibits fines for protesting discrimination.
"I heard from our players and all of our players felt like boycotting the games tonight," said NBAPA VP Roger Mason, Jr. (far left in the accompanying photo). "We're talking about all NBA players. We're talking about the playoff games tonight."
"I reached out to other players around the league and made it clear the players were ready to boycott the games if this type of action was not something that Adam Silver felt was necessary," Mason continued. "We didn't think this was just a Clippers issue so we didn't want to put the pressure on Chris Paul and Blake Griffin and that team, we wanted to band behind our brothers to do the right thing and that would have been to communicate with the other teams in our league and let them know what we were going to do."
The Clippers had received some heat for not boycotting Sunday's Game 4, played the day after the audio tapes mere made public. But now we know they were ready to boycott Game 5, along with every other team playing a Game 5 Tuesday night.