LOS ANGELES — The Warriors players were prepared to boycott Game 5 of their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday had they been dissatisfied by sanctions announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
Guard Stephen Curry said that had Silver merely announced an indefinite suspension and fine, every Warriors player planned to walk off the court as the jump ball was tossed for the opening tipoff.
“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,” Curry said. “We would deal with the consequences later but we were not going to play.”
NBA players association Roger Mason Jr. said outside Staples Center that he spoke with Warriors center Jermaine O’Neal about a possible boycott.
“He said specifically that if they don’t make that man sell his team or their recommendation isn’t that, that they would be prepared to boycott the game and not play,” Mason Jr. said.
Silver announced that Sterling would be banned for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA while also that he would urge the league’s Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale.
“If the league didn’t come down as harsh as it did, I think you would have seen not only the Golden State Warriors, but players league-wide do something about it,” Mason Jr. said.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who had said the previous day it was best for his team to play, acknowledged that a boycott was possible had Silver not acted.
“It was a real discussion amongst the players, and I think they were sitting, listening very closely to the tone and the words that came out of the mouth of the commissioner,” Jackson said. “And so it was a real option.”