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Adam Silver applauded by NBA stars after issuing a lifetime ban to Donald Sterling

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses a news conference

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver addresses a news conference in New York on Tuesday, April 29, 2014. Silver announced that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been banned for life by the league in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation. Credit: AP / Kathy Willens

NBA commissioner Adam Silver's decision to ban Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life received the equivalent of a standing ovation from owners and players around the league.

LeBron James praised Silver on Twitter shortly after the decision was announced Tuesday.

"Commissioner Silver thank you for protecting our beautiful and powerful league!! Great leader!! #BiggerThanBasketball #StriveForGreatness," James tweeted.

Silver, in his first major act as commissioner, looked and sounded visibly shaken during a standing-room-only news conference in a midtown Manhattan hotel. But he was forceful in handing down an unprecedented punishment to Sterling, who made racist comments during a recorded conversation.

In addition to the lifetime ban, Silver fined Sterling $2.5 million and urged the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force him to sell the Clippers. Silver would need 75 percent of league owners to force a sale.

"I applaud Adam for acting quickly and decisively in appropriately addressing these disgusting and offensive comments," said Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan, who also is CEO of Cablevision, which owns Newsday. "This kind of behavior has no place in basketball, or anywhere else, and we as a league must stand together in condemning this ignorance."

The Nets' statement read in part: "The Nets organization welcomes and fully supports the decision and remains committed to tolerance and respect for all. We can all be proud that the reaction throughout the NBA -- from players, management, ownership and fans -- has been unequivocal and united in condemning the scourge of racism."

Silver, 52, took over as commissioner on Feb. 1, replacing David Stern, who served as NBA commissioner for 30 years.

Silver, who is from New York, graduated from Duke University and has a law degree from the University of Chicago. Silver has worked for the NBA for 22 years and became deputy commissioner in 2006.

Stern was widely considered the best commissioner in pro sports because he helped transform the NBA into a multibillion-dollar entity with global appeal.

Silver made a lasting first impression Tuesday.

"Current and former NBA players now know that in commissioner Adam Silver we have a great leader leading our league," Magic Johnson tweeted.

Another Lakers great, Kobe Bryant, tweeted simply, "Bravo Silver."

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade tweeted, "Commissioner Silver . . . STRONG . . . way to take charge and protect our great league."

Nets center Jason Collins, the first openly gay athlete in professional sports, also applauded Silver.

"Commissioner of the @NBA just showed us how he drops the hammer on ignorance. #lifetimeban for Donald Sterling. The ultimate #gone fishing," Collins tweeted.

The Clippers released a statement and made an emphatic one on their official website.

In white lettering, their website read, "We are one," and had a white Clippers logo over a completely black background.

"We wholeheartedly support and embrace the decision by the NBA and commissioner Adam Silver today," the Clippers statement read.

"Now the healing process begins."

New York Sports