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NBA charges Sterling, sets up June 3 hearing

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By BRIAN MAHONEY
AP Basketball Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- The NBA charged Donald Sterling on Monday with damaging the league and its teams by making racist comments, setting up a hearing planned for June 3 after which owners could vote to terminate his ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The league also said the banned owner has engaged in other conduct that has impaired its relationship with fans and merchandising partners.

"All of these acts provide grounds for termination under several provisions of the NBA constitution and related agreements," the league said in a statement.

Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million by Commissioner Adam Silver after the release of a recording in which he made racist remarks. He has until May 27 to respond to the charge, and the right to appear at the hearing and make a presentation in front of the board of governors.

If three-fourths of the owners vote to sustain the charge, Sterling will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981.

Sterling told a female friend, V. Stiviano, not to bring blacks to Clipper games during their conversation that was recorded. Sterling specifically mentioned Magic Johnson, then criticized the NBA Hall of Famer again as a poor model during a recent interview with CNN.

"Among other things, Mr. Sterling disparaged African-Americans and "minorities"; directed a female acquaintance not to associate publicly with African-Americans or to bring African-Americans to Clippers games; and criticized African-Americans for not supporting their communities," the NBA said.

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