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Reports: Clippers owner Donald Sterling is battling cancer

May 2, 2014, 1:27 AM EDT

File of Clippers owner Sterling sitting as he watches team play Knicks in NBA game in Los Angeles File of Clippers owner Sterling sitting as he watches team play Knicks in NBA game in Los Angeles

The NBA came down swiftly and severely on Clippers owner Donald Sterling, for racially insensitive remarks he was heard saying in a recorded private conversation.

The lifetime ban and hefty fine were only the beginning, as the league is also moving toward forcing Sterling out of his ownership stake entirely — something he is more than likely to fight, at least initially to a certain extent.

But Sterling reportedly has health concerns that are far more serious than the ultimate fate of his NBA franchise.

Both the the New York Post and ESPNLosAngeles.com have confirmed that Sterling is battling cancer. Here is the Post’s report (in a very NY Post tone) :

Disgraced racist Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is battling cancer — surprising those around him by beating the final buzzer for as long as he has, sources told The Post on Thursday.

“They thought he would die two years ago,” one source said of Sterling, who on Tuesday was banned for life from the NBA for his now-infamous recorded racist rant. …

Another source said Sterling, 80, was specifically suffering from prostate cancer.

The tone of the piece is unnecessarily spiteful, but with confirmation from other outlets the reporting seems to be solid.

We wouldn’t wish the scourge of cancer on anyone.

That doesn’t change the fact Sterling will have nothing more to do with the Clippers or the NBA. His health issues, while unfortunate, are completely separate from his history of making remarks and taking actions which have proven to be racist in nature. They may affect his willingness to go through a long, litigious battle with the league over the punishment that’s been meted out, but that much remains to be seen.

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