NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The question now isn’t where LeBron James will be playing next season. It’s whether he — or anyone else — will suit up at all.
National Basketball Players Association vice president Roger Mason Jr. says the Miami Heat superstar is prepared to lead a league-wide boycott if Donald Sterling is still owner of the Los Angeles Clippers heading into the 2014-15 season.
“If it’s not handled by … the start of next season, I don’t see how we’re playing basketball,” Mason said during a panel discussion on Showtime’s “Jim Rome” show, according to a press release from the network. “I was just in the locker room with LeBron. … At the end of the day, you know we have leaders. We have player reps, we’ve got executive committee members. … Leaders of the teams, they’re all saying the same thing, ‘If this man is still in place, we ain’t playing.’ ”
Rome followed up, asking specifically about James, who can opt out of his contract this summer.
“I was just in the locker room three or four days ago. LeBron and I talked about it,” Mason said. “He ain’t playing if Sterling is still an owner.”
Sterling was banned for life and fined $2.5 million for racist comments in recordings made public last month. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also encouraged the league’s owners to force Sterling to sell the team.
The 80-year-old Sterling is expected to contest the decision in court. His estranged wife, Shelly Sterling, has vowed to fight to hold on to her stake in the Clippers.
“No Sterling deserves to be an owner of that franchise any longer,” Mason said. “And I’ve gone down the line from LeBron to the other guys in the league that I’ve talked to and they all feel the same way. There’s no place for that family in the NBA.”
Players were reportedly ready to sit out playoff games as they awaited word of Sterling’s punishment last month.
The episode will air at 9 p.m. Wednesday on Showtime.
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