Elgin Baylor: Sterling has mood swings, you never know what he’s going to say or do


Former Clippers executive Elgin Baylor, who once sued Donald Sterling alleging discriminatory treatment, believes NBA commissioner Adam Silver did the right thing by imposing a lifetime ban on the disgraced Clippers owner, who was caught on tape making a series of racist remarks.

“Justice has been served,” Baylor said in an interview with CNN. “Look at it that way. They know what Donald is like. The things I said before about Donald are absolutely true.”

Baylor, 79, was an 11-time All-Star during his Hall of Fame career with the Lakers. Baylor retired during the 1971-72 season, during which the Los Angeles Lakers went on to win a record 33 consecutive games and the NBA championship. During his NBA career, Baylor averaged 27.4 ppg and 13.5 rpg in 40 minutes of playing time. He appeared in 846 career games.

After retiring in 1972, Baylor briefly pursued a career in coaching. In 1986, he was hired by the Clippers as GM and he remained in that position until 2008.

The following year, Baylor sued Sterling for wrongful termination and initially accused Sterling of age and racial discrimination.

“Of course he is [a racist],” Baylor told CNN. “There’s no doubt in my mind now. At the time I thought that, and there’s no doubt now. I think he is.”

TMZ released audio of a conversation in which Sterling can be heard scolding V. Stiviano, his girlfriend, for bringing African-Americans to Clippers games and for posting photos of herself and African-Americans, including Lakers legend Magic Johnson, to her Instagram account.

Silver said the NBA was able to authenticate that it was Sterling’s voice on the tape and that Sterling acknowledged that it was his voice during a league investigation.

“It just brought back memories of some of the things that were said by Donald,” Baylor said, when asked about the tapes. “It didn’t surprise me at all, no. That’s the Donald Sterling I know. He says a lot of things, different things, he has different mood swings. You never know what he’s going to say or do.”

Baylor’s lawsuit of Sterling was ultimately unsuccessful, as a jury ruled in favor of the Clippers owner in 2011. Although Baylor did drop the race-related accusations as the legal proceedings played out, his lawsuit painted a damning picture of the Clippers organization, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In the original lawsuit, Baylor said that Sterling had a “vision of a Southern plantation-type structure” for the Clippers and accused the owner of a “pervasive and ongoing racist attitude” during long-ago contract negotiations with Danny Manning.

The lawsuit also quoted Sterling as telling Manning’s agent, “I’m offering you a lot of money for a poor black kid.”

Baylor alleged Sterling said he wanted the Clippers to be “composed of ‘poor black boys from the South’ and a white head coach.”

In addition to the lifetime ban, Silver imposed a $2.5 million fine on Sterling, the maximum allowed. The NBA is also taking steps to force Sterling to sell the team.


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