The National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver has banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling from the league for life following racist comments that sparked national uproar.
The move is the harshest sanction the NBA can impose on an individual.
“The views expressed by Mr Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said of the comments made by Sterling, in which he told his girlfriend he did not want blacks to attend Clippers games with her.
“That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage,” Silver told a news conference on Tuesday.
Under the ban, Sterling cannot attend any NBA games or workouts, appear at any Clippers office or facility or make any business or personnel decisions for the club.
He was also fined $US2.5 million ($A2.7 million) and is banned from all league activity.
Silver said he will urge the NBA owners to exercise their authority to force Sterling to sell the team, which is valued by Forbes magazine at $US575 million.
Sterling bought the club in 1981 for $US12 million.
Sterling purportedly told his much-younger girlfriend, 31-year-old V. Stiviano, in recordings made public at the weekend by celebrity news website TMZ, that he didn’t want her associating with black people or attending Clippers games with black friends.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” the man in the recording says.
“You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want,” he adds later.
“The little I ask you is not to promote it… and not to bring them to my games.”
The conversation was reportedly prompted by an Instagram photo Stiviano shared of herself posing with retired basketball player Magic Johnson and Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp.
Johnson has spoken out over the recordings, saying he feels “outraged.”
“He called me out, he singled me out personally,” Johnson told media. “Then he singled out African-Americans. Again, I am going to always fight for myself as well as my people. I have been doing that for years. I will not stop doing that.”
Sterling has yet to comment publicly about the recordings.