The comments, alleged to have been made by Sterling to a woman believed to be his girlfriend, were released by TMZ.com on Friday. In the nearly 10-minute tape, the man speaking tells the woman he is bothered by her association with African Americans and directly asks her not to bring them to any Clippers games.
According to TMZ, Sterling was particularly upset that the woman, named by the website as V. Stiviano, posted a picture on her Instagram account of her with Hall of Famer Magic Johnson .
Stiviano is reported to be of both black and Mexican descent.
"We are in the process of conducting a full investigation into the audio recording obtained by TMZ," said NBA executive vice president of communications Mike Bass in a statement. "The remarks heard on the recording are disturbing and offensive, but at this time we have no further information."
The Clippers have yet to comment publicly on the matter.
Johnson responded on Twitter that he and his wife "will never go to a Clippers game again as long as Donald Sterling is the owner."
This is not the first time Sterling, who has owned the Clippers since 1981, has been embroiled in controversy.
In 2009, he was fined over $2.7 million by the U.S. Justice Department to settle allegations he discriminated against African-Americans, Hispanics and families with children at apartment buildings he controls in Los Angeles.
Two years later, Sterling won a lawsuit filed by former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor, who accused the team of firing him based on his age.
Sterling also previously reached a settlement with a former employee who accused him of sexual harassment.