A number of sponsors suspended deals with the Clippers in the wake of Sterling's remarks, potentially hurting league revenues, and some players have said they would consider a boycott next season if Sterling still owned the team.
"Mr. Sterling's actions and positions significantly undermine the NBA's efforts to promote diversity and inclusion; damage the NBA's relationship with its fans; harm NBA owners, players and Clippers team personnel; and impair the NBA's relationship with marketing and merchandising partners, as well as with government and community leaders," the league said.
If Sterling does not respond to the charge within five business days, or if he does not appear at the hearing, it would be deemed an admission of the "total validity of the charges as presented," according to the constitution.
But even the players who want him out believe Sterling will fight, and his attorney sent a letter to the league last week informing it that Sterling wouldn't be paying the fine. Blecher also said Sterling will sue if not afforded due process.
Sterling's estranged wife, Shelly, has said she will fight to keep her 50 percent share of the team even if Donald Sterling is forced to sell, but the league said in its statement that "all ownership interests in the Clippers will be terminated" if the charge is upheld.
Shelly Sterling's lawyer, Pierce O'Donnell, released a statement on Monday.
"We have just received the voluminous charges and are beginning the process of carefully reviewing them," O'Donnell said. "Based on our initial assessment, we continue to believe there is no lawful basis for stripping Shelly Sterling of her 50 percent ownership interest in the Clippers. She is the innocent estranged spouse. We also continue to hope that we can resolve this dispute with the NBA for the good of all constituencies."
Leon Jenkins, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP, told The Associated Press Monday that he called Sterling after last week's interview aired and said Sterling's comments about Johnson took away from the apology he was making for earlier racist comments. Sterling was "really distraught" and hoped the public would forgive him, Jenkins said.
"I said, `Once you got off focus and started talking about Magic Johnson, whatever reconsideration some people would have, you kind of lost it," Jenkins recalled.
Jenkins resigned as chapter president May 1 following outrage over a decision he later reversed to honor Sterling with a lifetime achievement award. It would have been Sterling's second award -- the chapter also honored him in 2009. The same year Sterling agreed to pay $2.7 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department suit alleging that he refused to rent apartments to Hispanics and blacks.
Jenkins said Sterling's comments were "very, very ugly statements" but also said "I'm not really sure we have all the facts."
"You can never under any circumstances defend what he said," Jenkins said. "But there are some issues there like his right to privacy, are these private thoughts in a private home."
He urged people to also not forget about issues like crime and unemployment that impact the African-American community.
"I think a true racist deserves everything he gets," Jenkins said, but he wouldn't say if he considered Sterling a "true racist." He said: "I don't know, I don't know. You have to look at the body of work."
And he added, "Where's the forgiveness here?" before pausing -- "but then again, you've got to show redemption first."
Information from ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne and Darren Rovell and The Associated Press was used in this report.