It served as a breaking point for all of them. Over the next 24 hours, all the people who worked for the Clippers began to distance themselves from Sterling. The team's public relations staffers did whatever they could to protect the players. Extra security was called in as tensions outside the hotel and the arena escalated. They were hearing very little from the league at this point. "We were kinda operating as a rogue franchise," one team official said.
Roeser was always going to be the last one off the boat. After watching the game with Sterling on Sunday afternoon, he flew home with him to Los Angeles on a commercial flight.
Jimmy Goldstein, the famously ostentatious NBA fan seen sitting courtside in leather pants and wild jackets at games all over the country, was on the same flight from Oakland after the game.
"Donald was on the phone when I got on," Goldstein said. "So I didn't have to talk to him."
The Clippers never had much of a chance in Game 4. They basically just showed up to play.
Before the game, Matt Barnes had come up with the idea of turning their warm-up jerseys inside out as a statement against Sterling. Jamal Crawford came up with the idea of wearing black socks and armbands. Other teams followed suit that night to show their support. Kevin Johnson and the players' union prepared to take concerted action if Silver did not act quickly and decisively to punish Sterling. Team and league sponsors began running for the hills. Boycotts were discussed for Tuesday night's playoff games if Sterling were still in power by then.
The pregame gesture was both inspiring and overwhelming, but within minutes, it was clear the moment was too much for the Clippers to carry alone. The Warriors thumped them 118-97.
Afterward, former Clippers guard Baron Davis visited the team's locker room. He had gone to the game to cheer on the Warriors, the team with which he'd had his best years as a pro. But he wanted to check in on his former teammates in L.A., Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, too.
Davis' time with the Clippers was a nightmare. Sterling heckled him from the sideline, mocking him, cursing at him, embarrassing and belittling him. Davis was the most expensive star player Sterling had signed at the time, and, when he didn't perform the way Sterling had hoped, the owner wanted to get rid of him. Throughout Davis' time with the Clippers there were whispers that Sterling was looking for ways to invalidate Davis' contract. No one would confirm the rumors at the time, and eventually the Clippers just traded Davis to Cleveland, giving up an unprotected first-round pick -- which turned into Kyrie Irving -- in the deal. Sterling wanted him gone, so it was done.
Davis declined to comment for this story. He had done a podcast for Grantland five days before the TMZ report which was played in the immediate aftermath of the scandal as reaction. But that was the least of it. Sterling broke Davis -- his spirit, his love for the game -- for a time. He was never the same player after his time in L.A. It's still hard to talk about it.
One day he'll speak his truth. Tell people how deep this issue really is. Explain that it can't be fixed in three days, no matter how decisive the commissioner's decision. Everyone grabbing a microphone right now is outraged by what they heard on a tape. Davis lived it.