Prior to NBA commissioner Adam Silver banning Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for recorded racial comments asking his female friend V. Stiviano to stop publicly associating with black people, the Golden State Warriors had planned a complete walkout that they hoped would have included the Clippers players had the punishment not been strong enough, Marcus Thompson of the Mercury News reports.
The Warriors were going to go through pre-game warm-ups and take part in the national anthem and starting line-up introductions. They were going to take the floor for the jump ball, dapping up the Clippers players as is customary before games.
Then once the ball was in the air, they were just going to walk off. All 15 of them.
Silver decision of a lifetime ban, $2.5 million fine and a plan to force Sterling to sell the team was enough to satisfy the Warriors and the walkout was avoided, which hearkens back to the 1964 NBA All-Star Game in which the players threatened to strike if NBA owners did not recognize the players' union.
The Clippers have of course been at the center of the reaction to the Sterling saga, as they had to deal directly with him as their team's owner, but the Warriors have also been vocal about the controversy.
"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. As Marcus Thompson reports, they had wanted to do something earlier but decided to give Silver a chance to make a response first.
The hypothetical consequences were not an issue for the team, as they prepared to send a powerful and dramatic message more important than basketball. And it might not have lasted for one game: They had plans in the incubator for all their games.