The NBA's owners kicked off the process of kicking Donald Sterling out of their club on Thursday, unanimously agreeing to begin the work of totally ousting the banned-for-life Sterling from the league and forcing the sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.

“This afternoon the Advisory/Finance Committee met via conference call to discuss the process for termination of Donald T. Sterling’s ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers," Mike Bass, the NBA's executive vice president of communications, said in a league statement. "The Committee unanimously agreed to move forward as expeditiously as possible and will reconvene next week.”

As detailed in the NBA's just-published constitution and bylaws, an owner's franchise "may be terminated by a vote of three fourths (3/4) of the Board of Governors" — which consists of the owners of NBA franchises — if said owner commits any of a number of willful violations of the provisions of the constitution or other agreements with the league. There's some debate as to whether what Sterling did — which, in case you've somehow managed to miss it, was "make racist comments in conversations with his girlfriend that were recorded and published online" — technically constitutes the sort of breach that would allow for the proper invocation of Article 13, the section of the constitution that governs franchise termination. ESPN.com legal analyst Lester Munson suggests that "Silver and the owners could assert that Sterling's statements violated the constitution's requirements to conduct business on a 'reasonable' and 'ethical' level," but whether that would hold up against a legal challenge remains to be seen.

That three-fourths number means Silver would need 75 percent of the NBA's owners — or 22 of the 29 non-Clippers owners — to vote in favor of terminating Sterling's ownership to turn the Clippers over to the league to control the sale of the franchise. During his press conference, Silver claimed he hadn't taken a head count, but expressed confidence that he had the Board of Governors' backing; the owners of all 29 teams expressed support for Silver's ban on Tuesday before Thursday's unanimous vote to move forward with the ouster "as expeditiously as possible."