Sterling is the NBA’s longest-tenured owner. He is also among the league’s least successful, though in recent years the Clippers have surged. News of Jenkins’ resignation broke an hour before the Clippers tipped off against the Golden State Warriors in a first-round playoff game.
Reacting to the announcement, local activist Earl Ofari Hutchinson said the NAACP’s Los Angeles chapter needed to become “fully transparent and accountable to its members and community and not to dubious corporate donors.”
Jenkins had his own legal problems, which also came into focus this week. For years, he has been banned from practicing law in California based on allegations of corruption when he was a young judge in Detroit.
In 1988, federal prosecutors charged Jenkins with extortion and racketeering conspiracy, saying he requested and received money, jewelry, a handgun and other gifts to dismiss traffic tickets and other misdemeanors. While Jenkins was acquitted after two trials, in 1991 the Michigan Supreme Court removed him as a judge.
He had “systematically and routinely sold his office and his public trust,” then-Chief Justice Michael Cavanagh said at the time.
In April, three judges with California’s State Bar Court denied Jenkins’ most recent request to practice law again. The judges lauded Jenkins’ volunteer work with the NAACP and other organizations, but they cited several instances in which they said he misrepresented his finances or other aspects of his personal life.
“Despite Jenkins’ impressive good character evidence and community service, he continues to commit errors in judgment that call into question his rehabilitation and present good moral character,” the judges wrote.