A former top executive with Time Warner and Citicorp was appointed Friday by the NBA as interim chief executive officer to supervise the Los Angeles Clippers, after the league announced a move to ban owner Donald Sterling after he made racist comments during a recorded conversation.
Richard Parsons will be hired as the new CEO, Clippers officials confirmed to NBC4. An official announcement followed with a statement from the NBA, indicating the Parson's supervision is effective immediately.
"I believe the hiring of Dick Parsons will bring extraordinary leadership and immediate stability to the Clippers organization," said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. "Dick's credentials as a proven chief executive speak for themselves and I am extremely grateful he accepted this responsibility."
Parsons, who played basketball at the University of Hawaii, is currently a senior advisor at Providence Equity Partners. He sits on the board of directors for the Commission on Presidential Debates.
At a mid-day practice, Clippers J.J. Redick and Darren Collison said they are not concerned with the front-office move as they are with the Oklahoma City Thunder. The teams are tied at a game apiece in their best-of-seven playoffs series.
"It's a secondary issue for us," Redick said. "Our main focus is figuring out how to stop Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook."
Game 3 is scheduled for Friday night in Los Angeles.
The league announced the transitional plan involving a CEO last weekend, just days after the Sterling recording was posted on TMZ.com. The supervisory position is "the best way to ensure the stability of the team during this difficult situation," league officials said in a statement.
"Like most Americans, I have been deeply troubled by the pain the Clippers' team, fans and partners have endured," said Parsons in a statement released by the league. "A lifelong fan of the NBA, I am firmly committed to the values and principles it is defending, and I completely support Adam's leadership in navigating the challenges facing the team and the league.
"The Clippers are a resilient organization with a brilliant coach and equally talented and dedicated athletes and staff who have demonstrated great strength of character during a time of adversity. I am honored to be asked to work with them, build on their values and accomplishments, and help them open a new, inspiring era for their team."
Clippers co-owner Rochelle Sterling, Donald Sterling's estranged wife, said she supports the decision to install a CEO. Rochelle Sterling also said this week that she plans to fight for her part of the team.
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Silver banned Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million April 29 for making racist comments. Sterling, the NBA's longest-tenured owner, can have no association with the league or the team.
The comments were part of a recorded conversation involving Sterling and companion V. Stiviano. On the recording, a man can be heard criticizing the woman for posting online about bringing black friends to games. The man is also heard chastising the woman for posting a photo on Instagram with Lakers great and Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson.
The recording, which an attorney for Stiviano said was leaked by a third party, led to public outcry across the country and the NBA. Some sponsors dropped the Clippers and others re-evaluated their relationship with the NBA.
Parson's appointment marks the second major personnel move since Silver announced Sterling's ban. Clippers President Andy Roeser announced he will take a leave of absence.
As for the process of ousting Sterling, a 10-member NBA finance/advisory committee has met twice to discuss the timeline and steps required to remove the 80-year-old Sterling, who has owned the team for three decades. The committee is scheduled to meet against next week as part of a process that might eventually come to a vote by other NBA team owners regarding Sterling's termination.
Sterling has not commented publicly about the ban.