The NBA is not considering whether to include Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling in the lifetime ban handed down to her husband last week, according to an NBA official who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity.
Shelly Sterling expressed her interest in maintaining control of the Clippers as a legal right in comments to The Times provided by her representatives Wednesday. She has been accused in the past of racial bias in lawsuits related to the family's real estate holdings but has denied those claims.
The league never banned Donald Sterling for being named in such lawsuits and did not plan on punishing Shelly Sterling for the same reason.
Donald Sterling was prohibited from engaging in any NBA activities for life because of a racially charged audio recording that surfaced almost two weeks ago.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said last week the lifetime punishment applied "specifically to Donald Sterling."
But Silver does not have the power to force Sterling to sell the team. A vote from the 30 NBA teams, including the Clippers, is expected to receive the mandatory three-fourths approval required to formally strip Sterling of his ownership rights.
Shelly Sterling, though, said she wanted to keep the franchise she has partly owned since 1981.
"During those 33 years, I have been a diehard fan even when the team was in the basement of the league," she said. "Now that all of our hard work is paying off, I want to celebrate the success that we are finally achieving."
NBA officials were considering whether to ask Shelly Sterling to stop attending Clippers games, though they acknowledged that enforcement would be difficult. The team continues its playoff series on Friday and Sunday against Oklahoma City at Staples Center.