Donald Sterling’s lawyer warns Hawks scandal just the beginning

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Donald Sterling hired private investigators to dig up dirt on Adam Silver and NBA owners, surely hoping to bring the league on his way out.

In Atlanta, Sterling has gotten his wish.

Hawks owner Bruce Levenson is selling his stake in the team after a racist email and general manager Danny Ferry’s racist comments may have him on his way soon, too.

The official word is Levenson’s email was uncovered in an internal investigation that was called due to Ferry’s comments being overheard by another owner – not anything Sterling’s private investigators uncovered. But Sterling’s lawyer, Bobby Samini, implies Sterling’s team knows more about other league personnel.

Samini, via Brent Schrotenboer of USA Today:

"We engaged private investigators. It’s no secret to anybody," Samini told USA TODAY Sports. "I would never discuss what their findings were or anything of that nature. It wouldn’t be appropriate, but what I can tell you is that my sense is that this is just the beginning. There’s not a single owner in the league who doesn’t have an e-mail, a conversation, a conference call comment, that by this standard that’s been established by (NBA Commissioner) Adam Silver, that wouldn’t completely taint them."

Look, I don’t know.

NBA owners are billionaires, not saints. It’s not difficult to believe other owners beyond Levenson and Sterling have done things that, if known, would threaten their ownership.

But is it provable?

Sterling’s and Ferry’s comments were recorded (though we have yet to hear Ferry’s and it’s unclear whether the audio still exists). Levenson put his in an email. Other owners won’t face scrutiny unless there’s evidence of their misdeeds.

The threat, though, is real – and Sterling’s investigators will be looking. We’ll see how well other owners have covered their tracks.