Skip to content

State Farm, CarMax, Virgin America, Kia halt Clippers sponsorships as Donald Sterling faces allegations of racism

Apr 28, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT

The NBA is limited in the scope of the punishment it can hand Donald Sterlingwe’ll soon know what the league is doing – but the Clippers’ sponsors don’t face the same restrictions.

We don’t know what each sponsor’s contract stipulates, but it appears at least two have distanced themselves from the Clippers to varying degrees:

I’d guess the Clippers and each of their sponsors have similar, if not the same, langue on the sponsors ending their payments. If so, I expect more to follow CarMax and State Farm out the door. It’s bad business to be associated with Sterling, even if the allegations against him have not yet been proven true.

Updates: Virgin America has followed.

Kia, too.

If there’s a way to persuade Sterling – and his fellow owners – to act, it’s through their wallets.

As we’ve repeatedly said, getting Sterling to sell the team will not be easy. However, if he’s making less money from the team and a potential buyer could make more by bringing back the sponsors, that would push the needle in the direction of a sale. As much as he enjoys the fame of owning an NBA team, he’s also notoriously cheap. There’s no telling how he’d balance those two priorities if they butted heads.

And if the Clippers are losing opportunities to make money, the league is losing opportunities to make money. That affects every owner.

None of this will change what the NBA can do about Sterling, but it might change what the league will do and it might change what Sterling will do.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: Nets to explore trade market for Mason Plumlee

    May 27, 2015, 11:50 AM EDT

    Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Getty Images

    The offers won’t be as strong as they were in December.

  2. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak: ‘Anywhere from 4-8 players could be in consideration’ for No. 2 pick in NBA Draft

    May 27, 2015, 11:10 AM EDT

    Mitch Kupchak AP

    Eight seems like too many, but Kupchak has proven that he knows what he’s doing.

  3. PBT Extra: Expect a healthy Stephen Curry for Game 5… sorry Houston

    May 27, 2015, 8:00 AM EDT

    Curry and this Warriors team are not going to crumble like the Clippers did.

  4. J.R. Smith takes selfie at podium after Cavaliers advance to Finals

    May 27, 2015, 2:02 AM EDT

    JR Smith Selfie

    J.R. Smith on the national stage of the Finals is going to be so much fun.

  5. Report: Hawks’ Paul Millsap may require offseason shoulder surgery

    May 26, 2015, 10:30 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards-Game Three Getty Images

    Injury issues continue to pile up as Atlanta is on the verge of elimination.

  6. Storms in Houston forced Dwight Howard to remain at arena with fans until 2:30AM after Game 4 win over Warriors

    May 26, 2015, 9:30 PM EDT

    Dwight Howard AP

    Severe flooding in the area had fans — and at least one player — stranded.

  7. Stephen Curry went through concussion protocol twice before returning to court

    May 26, 2015, 6:59 PM EDT

    cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznpti2yjjimja4ywnhyza4zdnjzti5mja0nzy1mjqzm2e2 AP

    Curry reported no symptoms after the game or on Tuesday, which means expect the regular Curry back for Game 5 Wednesday night.

  8. Report: Kyle Korver to have surgery on his ankle

    May 26, 2015, 6:17 PM EDT

    Atlanta Hawks v Washington Wizards - Game Six Getty Images

    There is no timeline but this could impact training camp and the start of next season.

  9. Jason Terry says he will play next season, his 17th in NBA

    May 26, 2015, 5:45 PM EDT

    Jason Terry AP

    If he’s used in the aging shooter role on the court and veteran locker room presence off it, bringing him back for another season for a few million makes sense.

Featured video

Will Klay Thompson get a little help on James Harden?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. S. Curry (6947)
  2. K. Irving (6780)
  3. K. Love (5960)
  4. L. James (4950)
  5. D. Howard (4751)
  1. D. Carroll (4351)
  2. K. Korver (4124)
  3. K. Bryant (3799)
  4. K. Durant (3595)
  5. A. Varejao (3582)