After LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling was interviewed by CNN’s Anderson Cooper regarding the recent controversy with taped racist comments that Sterling made, Magic Johnson spoke at the issue in his own interview with the network.
“In a league that is over 80 percent, or at least 75 percent Afro-American… he wants us to play for him, but he doesn’t want us in the stands. He wants us to win a championship, but he doesn’t want us in the stands,” Johnson said. “We cant have this type of action in our league, or in our society. We just can’t have it. ”
Sterling has previously made comments directly at Johnson, questioning his charity work, and also touching upon such subjects as Magic’s HIV status.
“He said I walk around like a holy, that’s not true. I lean on my faith. I don’t walk around like I am better than anybody. That’s why I am basically forgiving him,” Johnson said.
“Donald Sterling is not welcomed by the NBA. The players, the former players and the fans do not want to see Donald Sterling as the owner anymore,” he said.
Johnson also responded to Sterling’s HIV remarks, saying he never hid from the diagnosis when he retired from the NBA in 1991.
“I came out like a man, you know, I told the world. I didn’t blame nobody else. I understood that what I did was wrong,” Johnson said. “OK, so I announced that to the world, and I hoped that I was able to help people in doing that, and I think I did.”
Johnson says Sterling’s comments about HIV show there’s still a stigma that needs to be fought.
“I hope this doesn’t set us back,” Johnson said. “The stigma is still there. We know that. We’ve been fighting it for years, and what we want to continue to do is just educate the world that it’s OK, that you can high-five a person who has HIV. It’s OK. … It’s a shame that Donald used this platform with you, instead of using this platform to come out and apologize to the world, which would have been great.”
Following the revealed tape with Sterling’s racist comments, NBA has reacted, as the league’s commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life from the NBA and also issued him a $2.5 million fine.
Johnson noted Sterling’s past legal issues with his real estate business where he settled lawsuits brought against him and his wife with out-of-court payments.
“He can’t buy his way out of this one. He bought his way out of all other situations, but he can’t do it this time,” Magic Johnson said.
Commenting on Sterling’s words that the Clippers players love him, Johnson said the 80-year old owner is simply delusional.
“He is delusional if he believes that the Clippers’ players love him. Not only the Clippers don’t love him, the other players in the NBA don’t love him. He’s in another world if he thinks everybody want to see him come back to owning the Clippers,” Johnson said.
Sterling went on the offensive in his interview, when Johnson’s name came up, blaming the basketball Hall of Famer for Sterling’s delay in apologizing for the racist remarks that have him now fighting to keep his team.
“Wait, be patient, I’ll help you, we’ll work it out,” Sterling said the NBA legend told him.
In fact, Johnson told CNN, Sterling called him recently and asked him to appear alongside him in an interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters.
“I said the number one thing you need to do which you haven’t done is apologize to everybody, and myself,” Johnson said. “(Sterling replied) ‘I’ll get to that. I’ll get to that.'”
The former NBA star told Sterling that the billionaire businessman needed to consult with attorneys, stressing that the controversy was bigger than Sterling realized.
Johnson said Sterling was adamant about Johnson doing the interview, even reaching out a second time. Johnson said his attorneys advised him not to have any further conversations with the embattled owner. Sterling never did the interview with Walters.
“I later informed Commissioner Adam Silver and my associates that Donald Sterling called me,” Johnson said.
Former NBA star said everybody should be celebrating the NBA playoffs and the performances of athletes, while instead everyone are talking about what Donald Sterling is doing.
After Sterling’s recorded racist remarks, the NBA began the process of forcing him to sell the franchise, which some experts have valued between $575 million and $1 billion. It will take a 75% vote of the league’s owners to terminate Sterling’s franchise rights. Sterling so far did not express any open thoughts on selling the team.
Sterling, the longest tenured owner in the NBA, bought the Clippers in 1981 when it was in San Diego and moved into Los Angeles.
Johnson said Sterling should go into retirement.
“You’re 80 years old. You’ve had a tremendous life. And you’re going to benefit, whatever the price tag is, from this team selling. Just go ahead and enjoy the rest of your life,” Johnson said. “You’re fighting a battle that you can’t win.”Follow @exnbadotcom
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