NBA Players Were Ready To Walk Out If Adam Silver Didn’t Do The Right Thing?

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Can you imagine a world with no NBA playoffs?

The reality was as close as an Adam Silver slip of the tongue, as ESPN reports players across the league were ready to boycott Tuesday night’s playoff games if the NBA commissioner had not put the slap-down on Clippers owner Donald Sterling as he did.

The first-year commish announced on Tuesday the league was imposing a lifetime ban against Sterling and hitting him with a maximum $2.5 million dollar fine in the wake of the public release of an audio recording where he chastised a girlfriend, telling her “not to bring black people to my games.”

I heard from our players and all of our players felt like boycotting the games tonight,” NBA Players Association Vice President Roger Mason Jr. told ESPN. “We’re talking about all NBA players. We’re talking about the playoff games tonight.”

First-year commish Silver announced on Tuesday the longest tenured NBA owner has been suspended for life, fined $2.5 million, and banned from all team activities in the wake of his racist rant.

“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,” said Mason. “We’re happy with the decision but we’re not content yet. 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.”

NBA players installed former Phoenix Suns star and current Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson as their voice throughout much of the controversy and on judgment day Johnson told reporters “throughout history sports have played a pivotal role in advancing civil rights. I believe today stands as one of those great moments where sports once again transcends and provides a place for fundamental change for how our country should think and act.”

Glenn Minnis is an XN Sports NBA contributor. He has written for the Chicago Tribune, ESPN, BET and AOL. Follow him on Twitter at @glennnyc.