NEW YORK -- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver delivered the swiftest, strongest penalty he could, then called on NBA owners to force Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling to sell the team for making racist comments that hurt the league. Almost unanimously, owners supported the commissioner Tuesday, as he handed down one of the harshest penalties in the history of U.S. sports. "We stand together in condemning Mr. Sterlings views. They simply have no place in the NBA," Silver said at a news conference. Sterling, 80, is banned for life from any association with the league or the Clippers, and was fined $2.5 million -- the maximum allowable under the NBA constitution. If three-fourths of the other 29 owners agree to Silvers recommendation, Sterling will be forced to sell the team he has owned since 1981. A message left seeking comment at Sterlings business office hadnt been returned Tuesday afternoon. Team spokesman Seth Burton said in an email that the Clippers had no plans to issue a statement from Sterling on Tuesday. Players and others cheered Silvers quick action, with union officials saying that if the leagues punishment hadnt included a mandate for Sterling to sell the team, players were considering boycotting playoff games, including Tuesdays Golden State Warriors-Clippers matchup, the teams first home game since the scandal erupted. "We wanted to be a part of this decision, and we wanted Adam Silver to know where we stood. And we were very clear that anything other than Sterling selling his team was not going to be enough for us," said Roger Mason Jr., the first vice-president of the players union. Chris Paul, the Clippers All-Star point guard and the president of the players union, issued a brief statement before leading Los Angeles against the Warriors in Game 5 of their tied playoff series. "In response to todays ruling by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver, my teammates and I are in agreement with his decision," Paul said. "We appreciate the strong leadership from Commissioner Silver and he has our full support." Sterlings comments -- which were recorded by his girlfriend and released by TMZ on Saturday -- harmed the league, Silver said. Sponsors were threatening to abandon the NBA, and criticism was coming from fans on social media and even the White House. Sterling criticized V. Stiviano -- purportedly the female voice on the recording -- for posting pictures of herself with black athletes Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp. "It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that youre associating with black people. Do you have to?" Sterling asks the woman on the recording. "Sentiments of this kind are contrary to the principles of inclusion and respect that form the foundation of our diverse, multicultural and multiethnic league," Silver said. The NBAs longest-tenured owner keeps his team for now -- and Silver said he didnt know if Sterling would fight to do so permanently. But he cant attend games or practices, cant be involved in any personnel decisions or participate in board of governors meetings. Just three days after the scandal broke, and hours before the Clippers hosted their biggest game of the season, Silver apologized to some of the leagues black pioneers while meting out a punishment he believed would satisfy outraged players and fans. Sterlings Clippers have been one of the most incompetent franchises in pro sports, and nearly all of their previous seasons would have been finished by now. But after the most successful two-year stretch in Clippers history, the current team is a title contender led by Doc Rivers, a black coach whom Sterling brought in from Boston and paid $7 million a year. "(Silver) made the decision that really was the right one that had to be made," Rivers said before the Clippers game. "I dont think this is something that we rejoice in or anything like that. I told the players about the decision, and I think they were just happy there was a resolution and that its over, at least the start of it. I think were all in a better place because of this." Silver said the ban applied only to Sterling, and there had been no discussions about whether he could sell to a family member. Many owners supported Silver, and none of them publicly defended Sterling. "We applaud the firm punishment handed out today by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and appreciate the swiftness with which the NBA conducted its investigation," Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob said in a statement. The fine will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts, Silver said. Sterling, with an estimated net worth of about $2 billion, did not comment, though Silver said he did not apologize for his remarks. Silver said Sterling confirmed that he was the person on the recording. Silver hasnt even been on the job three months and already had to face a crisis that threatened the league not only financially -- with several companies ending or suspending their sponsorships of the Clippers -- but more importantly, socially. The NBA survived the Indiana Pacers brawl with Detroit Pistons fans, and referee Tim Donaghy betting on games he officiated. But this brought a different level of outrage, particularly because the league could have done something sooner about Sterling, who has faced federal charges of civil rights violations and racial discrimination in his business dealings. "This has all happened in three days, and so I am hopeful there will be no long-term damage to the league and to the Clippers organization," Silver said. "But as I said earlier, Im outraged so I certainly understand other peoples outrage." After the announcement, the Clippers website had a simple message: "We are one." "We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver today. Now the healing process begins," the Clippers added in a statement. Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Raptors, issued a statement Tuesday afternoon. "As a proud member of the National Basketball Association, we stand strongly in our belief that the comments attributed to Mr. Sterling have no place in our society or sport. Our organization will always work to contribute to a culture of diversity and acceptance in this league and fully support the actions taken today. We thank commissioner Adam Silver, and all of the NBA players, for their leadership on this important issue." Rivers cancelled practice Monday and declined a meeting request from Sterling. He wouldnt address whether he would return next season if Sterling were still in control, a stance reaffirmed by the coach before Game 5 of the Clippers playoff series with Golden State. That might not be an issue if the owners vote to oust the owner. Sterling is estranged from his wife and had been dating Stiviano, 31. In court documents, Stiviano describes him as a man "with a big toothy grin brandishing his sexual prowess in the faces of the Paparazzi and caring less what anyone else thought, the least of which, his own wife." Silver said when he first heard the audio, he hoped it had been altered or was fake, but thought it was Sterling. And it doesnt matter if Sterling didnt realize he was being recorded, Silver said. "Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, theyre now public, and they represent his views." Swell Lahev Cz . LOUIS -- The Atlanta Braves used a two-run rally in the ninth to end their road trip with a win. Swell Levně . Siddikur, who led on all four days and took a four-stroke lead going into the final day, bogeyed four out of six holes starting at the sixth and continued a forgettable last round in which he returned a three-over 75 to finish with a 14-under 274. http://www.swelllahevcz.com/. The veteran fighter will be squaring off with Henderson in a five-round lightweight bout as part of another network televised card at the United Center on Saturday night.PHOENIX -- Some Suns fans made the mistake of disrespecting Jerryd Bayless Phoenix roots. He made regret their words. The Memphis guard came off the bench to score 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, leading the Grizzlies to a 99-91 win over Phoenix on Thursday night. The Grizzlies overcame 33 points from Suns guard Goran Dragic to improve to 14-17. Bayless was born and raised in Phoenix, played high school ball just north of the US Airways Center and played in college at Arizona. He helped the Grizzlies recover from the Suns 18-0 third-quarter run, giving Memphis a 94-84 lead on a 3-pointer with 4:30 to play. "Well, some guys on the sidelines said that I disgraced St. Marys (high school)," Bayless said. "That kind of hurt my feelings and that got me going a little bit." Zach Randolph had 20 points and 15 rebounds in helping the Grizzlies cool the Suns for a night, the second win for the visitors in two meetings between the teams this season. Ed Davis added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Dragic scored 15 of his points during the Suns big third quarter. Dragic added seven assists and finished with a career high in points on the night the Suns gave away thousands of bobbleheads bearing his likeness. The Suns (19-12) couldnt fight off the Grizzlies, who scored seven straight points to regain the lead after trailing by four to start the final quarter. Bayless fueled the run with a 3-pointer and jumper to give the Grizzlies an 80-75 lead with 9:31 left to play. "It was their bench that killed us again," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "These guys, if they dont think that Ed Davis and Bayless are good players, theyre crazy." Dragic drilled a 3-pointer after a layup by Davis and hit another after a layup by James Johnson to pull Phoenix within 84-81, but the Suns never got the lead back. "Memphis is not a good matchup for us," Dragic said. "They have a lot of big guys under the rim and they attack the paint." The Suns led 26-22 after one quarter, but struggled with their shooting in the second, when they made jjust 6 of 23 from the floor.dddddddddddd Memphis took a five-point lead on a driving layup from Mike Conley with 7:26 to play in the quarter. Then Conley flipped a no-look pass behind his back to Davis for the assist on a basket and a 38-31 lead. The Suns cut the lead to 46-41 on a dunk from Markieff Morris with 2:20 left in the half, but the Grizzlies scored the next seven points and took a 53-41 lead into the break. Randolph, who didnt play in the first meeting between the teams this season in Tennessee, led Memphis with 14 first-half points and grabbed eight rebounds. The Suns missed nine of 11 3-point attempts in the first half. The Suns 41 first half points was one away from their season low of 40 last week at Golden State. It didnt take long, however, for Phoenix to get back into the game. The Suns scored 16 unanswered points over a three-minute span in the third quarter, including Dragics step-back jumper that gave them a 58-57 lead. The Suns scoring streak reached 18 straight points on P.J. Tuckers layup with 6:12 left in the quarter that gave them a 62-57 lead. Memphis finally broke the run with Conleys two free throws at the 5:43 mark. "We weathered the storm," Randolph said. "When J.B. (Bayless) hits shots like that it opens up for us. We can play in the paint." The Grizzlies outrebounded the Suns 59-40 and were more physical throughout the game. Channing Frye scored eight of his 14 points in the game in the third quarter. NOTES: Suns guard Eric Bledsoe was a late scratch from the starting lineup due to a right knee sprain, and didnt play. Gerald Green started at the two-guard in Bledsoes place. Hornacek said Bledsoe, who was injured during the Suns game against the Clippers on Monday, is questionable for the Suns game Sunday against Milwaukee. . Hornacek was named the NBAs Western Conference Coach of the Month for December. He led Phoenix to a 10-3 record during the month. Hornacek is the third person in NBA history to win both Coach of the Month and Player of the Month, and the first to do so with the same franchise. ' ' '