Magic Johnson on Donald Sterling: I can’t let someone attack me and not respond


Following LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling’s interview with CNN, where he once again bashed Magic Johnson, the latter responded in his own interview on CNN.

In his interview, Sterling went as far as bringing up Johnson’s HIV-positive status, and his charitable work.

“What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about?” Sterling asked Cooper in Monday’s interview. “I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn’t do anything.”

In response, Johnson defended his charitable work and business investments, saying Sterling should have done his homework before making the comments.

“My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he’s talking,” Johnson told Cooper. “But he’s a man who’s upset and he’s reaching. He’s reaching. He’s trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it’s not going to happen.”

Johnson said Sterling disrespected the work he’s done, like helping coffee shops, gyms and theaters open in urban areas. “That really makes me upset. And then my competitive spirit comes out, because I’ve done all this great work. All the kids we’ve sent to college, and I’ve got 150 kids on scholarship right now.”

“I am a respectable guy, and I’ve worked hard to put myself in this position. I don’t deceive anyone, I don’t back stab people to get what I want,” Johnson said. “The African-American community, all the work I’ve done – I’ve never deceived anybody, never tricked anybody, and I’d never do that to gain wealth or popularity for myself.”

Johnson expressed regret that Donald Sterling “didn’t do his homework” and that he “doesn’t know what he’s talking about”.

“We help each other. What we try to do is bond together, on how we can make our community better. We also give information. We go back and educate the others on how they can become successful. So it’s not just about giving them the money, it’s about giving them the tools so that they can be successful,” Johnson explained on CNN.

Johnson said when the audiotape was first released, he couldn’t believe Sterling made those racist statements, and also throw him into the mix.

Sterling’s explosive CNN interview was the first time he had spoken publicly since audio recordings surfaced last month of him making racist remarks.

Johnson became an involuntary figure in the controversy after Sterling named him in the leaked recording.

“Admire him, bring him here, feed him, f**k him, but don’t put (Magic) on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me,” Sterling is heard telling his girlfriend V. Stiviano.

“I didn’t expect him to personally attack me,” Johnson said. “I shouldn’t have been included in the conversation.”

Johnson said he is still waiting for an apology from Sterling for getting roped into Sterling’s fight with Stiviano, and Johnson called the interview – in which Sterling directed another tirade at the NBA legend – “disturbing.”

Johnson and the woman at the center of the scandal – Stiviano – have met briefly only once, the NBA legend said.

“I don’t know the young lady. I barely know Donald, so now I am caught in the middle of this love affair or whatever they had,” Johnson said. “I’ve known Donald, not so well, but I knew him, we met 3-4 times. We had basketball conversations, we never had life conversations.”

Johnson said he doesn’t think Sterling understands what a big mistake the Clippers owner’s racist comments were or the number of people who were offended by the remarks.

“I was also upset by the fact that he threw minorities into the conversation, and also African-Americans, Latinos. So I had to speak up. I am one of the leaders in the black community. So I can’t let anybody attack our people and not respond,” Johnson said.

Johnson couldn’t say if the Clippers owner has slipped mentally.

Sterling “seems like he’s all there,” Johnson said. “But the problem is, he’s living in the stone ages.”

“Am I upset? Of course,” Johnson said during the interview. “But at the same time, I’m a God-fearing man and I’m going to pray for him and hope things work out for him.”


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