When Donald Sterling is too busy telling the world that he isn’t a racist pig, shooting himself in the foot and digging a deeper hole for himself, he’s talking down on Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson. And in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling piled onto the star, speaking on how he’s dealt with his HIV and his “lack of contributions” to the community.
Here’s an excerpt of what Sterling had to say about the point guard who was a focal point in the tapes released by TMZ that welcomed Sterling to the worst times of his life:
“He acts so holy. He made love to every girl in every city in America and he had AIDS. And when he had those AIDS I went to my synagogue and prayed for him. I hope he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? Because he has money he is able to treat himself…. He is irrelevant in this thing….”
An hour after the entire interview aired, NBA commissioner Adam Silver came to Magic Johnson’s defense in a statement released by the league’s official public relations page:
“I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper and while Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack. The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible.”
At no point is this entire situation about Magic Johnson. It’s about how a racist slumlord, after years of offenses against him flew under the radar, was caught red-handed displaying a personality that the NBA wanted nothing to do with; at least the Adam Silver regiment considering how David Stern allowed Sterling to walk away unscathed in the past. But Johnson’s name continues to pop up in the conversation and as a respected face and name in the NBA community, few are letting Sterling get off easy by taking shots at the Hall of Fame points guard.
Odds are the Sterling vs. NBA case won’t start until the NBA Playoffs are over, but it’s a case that’ll surely draw lots of eyes. The image of the league is on the line here, though we’re completely unsure what Silver has the jurisdiction to do with Sterling. The future of competency for the Clippers is also on the line as Sterling finding a way to maintain ownership will surely create trouble with the personnel (front office, coaching staff, players, future free agents), damaging the team as it’d lead to the mediocrity that surrounded the franchise prior to Blake Griffin and Chris Paul’s arrival.
For now we’ll have to deal with the plethora of comments surely to come from Sterling and his camp as he attempts to revive what’s left of his credibility. But with Adam Silver heavily surveying the situation, shots toward the league or any important figures won’t go unheard and unnoticed.