20 17 LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE

LOS ANGELES — Although there was a celebratory mood, even a bit of humor, among Los Angeles Clippers fans Tuesday about the NBA's lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine dealt to owner Donald Sterling, there also were those who believed the penalties are not enough.

Longtime season ticketholder and civil rights attorney Brian Claypool was disappointed that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, in response to a question, said the ban from participating in any NBA or Clippers activities does not apply to other members of the Sterling family.

"What's to prevent his wife from buying the team?" Claypool said. "I'm truly troubled by that. He's married, and under California law, the Clippers are their community property. He (Silver) should have placed a prohibition on any member of the Sterling family being a part of any new ownership."

STERLING: Could contest if forced to sell

PLAYERS: Still demand quiet Sterling exit

Claypool also was not satisfied with Silver's explanations about the NBA's lack of action when Sterling was accused of racism and discrimination in the past.

"Why wasn't anything done 10 years ago?" he said. "What's to prevent the same thing from happening again?"

That didn't keep Claypool from attending Game5 of the first-round NBA playoff series vs. the Golden State Warriors, wearing his autographed Chris Paul jersey.

Rudy Jones, 30, of Inglewood called himself a "die-hard Clippers fan" and also wasn't totally satisfied with the NBA's action.

"He's still making money off the team," he said.

VIDEO: Clippers coach Doc Rivers on Sterling ban

After Donald Sterling's lifetime ban was announced, Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said the team can now "begin the healing process" but the struggle with racial discrimination is far from over. VPC

Jones, too, was trying to make a little money. He set up shop on the corner of Figueroa Street and Chick Hearn Court, just outside the arena, selling T-shirts for $10 a pop. On the front was printed "I (heart) My Clippers But ... " On the back, it read "(Bleep) the Owner." There were three color choices: red, white and blue.

"I'm selling shirts, and I'm selling the message that we want him out," Jones said.

A small crowd milled around outside Staples Center in the hours before the game. There were no large organized protests, but there were a few people carrying signs — among them, "Gracias, NBA," "NBA — No Bigotry Allowed" and "Magic 4 Owner," in reference to Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson, who was a target of some of Sterling's racist remarks.

Sam Wright, 65, an African-American from Diamond Bar, had a sign urging the NBA owners to force a sale. Wright has been a season-ticket holder for three years. "A reluctant season ticketholder," he said. "We knew about Sterling's background, but we just felt it was a good buy."

CLIPPERS: Longtime president will run team

BRENNAN: Silver nailed it on first big decision

Another fan with mixed feelings was Sandy Stein, 63, of West Hills, a small business owner and season ticketholder who said she has met Sterling and his wife.

Stein, who wore Clippers earrings and a sequined Clippers T-shirt, said the fine and the ban from team activities were appropriate sanctions but she did not agree with the league forcing Sterling, 80, to sell his franchise.

"As a business owner, it's hard to think about a private conversation costing me my business — without due process," she said. "That's really tough. ... I remember my dad said some pretty stupid stuff when he was 80, too."

One of the most pleased fans was Shawn Hauffen, 18, of Los Angeles who attended the game with his father. They both wore Blake Griffin jerseys.

"I'm very content with what the commissioner did," the younger Hauffen said. "I'm pretty excited. I think this released a lot of pressure from the players. After all they've been through the past few days, they can finally focus on actual basketball."

VIDEO: Silver shows strength with verdict

In his first watershed moment as NBA commissioner, Adam Silver proved he was up to the task. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports

Another happy fan was Darrell Bailey, otherwise known as Clipper Darrell, sort of an unofficial mascot who for years has worn the same crazy-quilt red-and-blue suit to Clippers games, leads cheers for the Clippers and heckles opponents. Bailey seemed to have an extra pep in his step.

"The monkey's off our back," he crowed. "This is the best day we could have had."

He didn't want to talk about Sterling.

"I'm going to let the commissioner deal with Sterling," he said. "I'm just glad that you can finally say 'Clippers' and 'championship' in the same sentence. We've got 14 wins to go!"

Bailey's enthusiasm was shared by perhaps the most famous Clippers fan, actor Billy Crystal, who added a little humor to the day. After congratulating Silver on Twitter for his banning of Sterling, Crystal added, "Next up for Silver? Putin."

When it was time for the game, the atmosphere wasn't unlike any other. After talk of a fan boycott, the place was jammed. Fans stood for a moment of silence for recently deceased broadcaster and coach Jack Ramsay. During player introductions, the fans booed the Warriors and cheered for the Clippers. Then they tipped off, and someone yelled something at one of the refs.

VIDEO: Players union supports Silver on ban

USA TODAY Sports NBA writer Sam Amick breaks down the players' side of Adam Silver's punishment on Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

20 17 LINKEDIN 1 COMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/1kruNja