The New York Post first reported on Thursday evening that Sterling, 80, has been fighting prostate cancer for an unspecified period of time, citing unnamed sources. ESPN subsequently reported that Sterling had cancer, also citing unnamed sources.
Clippers players and coaches learned of the reports following their playoff loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.
“I honestly didn’t know that,” Clippers forward Blake Griffin said, via the Los Angeles Times. “But if that is true, my thoughts and prayers are with him. Nobody deserves to go through something like that.”
Similarly, Clippers point guard Chris Paul indicated he had not heard about the reports until after the game.
“That’s truly unfortunate,” Paul said.
Neither Sterling or his representatives have confirmed the reported diagnosis, reported Sports Illustrated.
“I hope it’s not true,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, via the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
The longtime owner of the Clippers, Sterling was hit with a lifetime ban from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine from NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in the wake of racist remarks made in recordings recently released by TMZ and Deadspin. Speaking during a press conference in New York on Tuesday, Silver indicated he would urge the owners of the other NBA franchises to force Sterling to sell the Clippers. Three-fourths of the league's 29 remaining franchise owners will need to agree to Silver's recommendation in order for Sterling to be compelled to sell.
On Saturday, not long after the release of the shocking recording containing Sterling's racist commentary, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that "the commissioner's office believed Sterling was sick and dying."
The league's 10-member advisory/finance committee held a conference call about Sterling on Thursday, reported The Associated Press. NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement that the committee discussed "the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling's ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers."