Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NBA [Print without images]

Monday, May 26, 2014
Dr. Richard Lapchick advising NBA

By Darren Rovell
ESPN.com

The NBA has retained Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the University of Central Florida's The Institute of Diversity and Ethics in Sport, as an independent expert.

The league hired Lapchick to analyze the effect that Donald Sterling's words have had on the league and his report was included in the charges presented to Sterling. It was based on Lapchick's report that the league concluded in its charges levied on Sterling that his words contributed to "significantly undermining the NBA's efforts to promote diversity and inclusion" and proved to be "damaging (to) the NBA's relationship with its fans."

Sterling has until May 27 to respond to the NBA's charges, which were initiated last Monday. His lawyer, Max Blecher, asked the league for a three-month delay, which the league rebuffed. Sterling then surprisingly agreed to pass the team onto his wife.

ESPN.com has confirmed that Shelly Sterling, Donald Sterling's wife, has at least six suitors who have come to her to buy the team. It's not clear that a transaction could even take place as it's more than likely the league will conduct the sale after its board of governors moves to strip the entire ownership group of its rights to control the team's future on June 3.

Lapchick's institute publishes a racial and gender report card each year. In 2013, the NBA received an A+ for its racial hiring practices. Lapchick reported that 35.7 percent of all employees in the league office were people of color. The report also lauded the NBA for having African-Americans as head coaches on nearly half the league's teams (43 percent), the second highest percentage in league history.

Lapchick's report found that, for the 2012-13 season, African-Americans made up 76.3 percent of all players on NBA rosters.

ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne contributed to this report.