April 28th, 2014
12:45 PM ET

Former NBA Players Weigh In On Donald Sterling Racism Allegations

Both former and current players in the National Basketball Association are reacting to racist comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

Sterling specifically mentioned former player Magic Johnson in discriminatory remarks that were recorded during an argument he had with his girlfriend V. Stiviano on April 9, according to the website TMZ. 

"I've known (Magic) well and he should be admired. ... I'm just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately," the man on the recording says. "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. And don't bring him to my games."

Speaking to CNN affiliate KCAL, Johnson responded to the comments saying he thinks Sterling should step down.

Monday on "New Day," three other former NBA players added their opinions on Sterling and what they believe should happen next:


Otis Birdsong, Former NBA All-Star Player 

Otis Birdsong said he was not surprised by Sterling's comments as his views have "been known for years."

While Birdsong said he can't remember any other time hearing comments like this from other owners, for Sterling: "He’s had several allegations before since he’s been on this team ... It’s true. There’s no doubt about it."

birdsong updated


Dominique Wilkins, Former NBA player, Executive for the Atlanta Hawks

Dominique Wilkins expanded on the belief that Sterling's views do not represent those of other owners.

"I think this is just one bad apple trying to spoil the bunch," he said. "Nobody wants to play for this guy. I wouldn’t want to play for him."



Mayor Kevin Johnson, Former NBA Player and current Mayor of Sacramento 

What's next for Sterling and the NBA?

Kevin Johnson called this time a "defining moment" for the league.

He said NBA commissioner Adam Silver needs to take very decisive action that should "make a statement."

"We've got to make sure that justice is served, not just for this league, but for society."

mayor johnson


In reaction to Sterling's comments, Clippers players gave the owner the silent treatment ahead of Sunday's playoff game. The team removed their warm-up shirts to reveal T-shirts worn inside out to hide the team’s logo. Do you think this is appropriate?  Should the players go as far as boycotting a game?

Vote in our poll below: 


NBA players protest racist talk attributed to L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling

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soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Thomas Jones

    Of course the players should not boycott the game. That would not be fair to their fans or to their chances of progressing further in to the playoffs. The owner is getting his due and has ruined his credibility for whatever remains of his life. He'll never be the face of the team and won't long be the owner.

    April 29, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Reply
  2. Lisa

    I don't follow basketball, I'm not a fan, and I"m a white person. The only reason I think that they should NOT boycott the game, is because, in some ways, this gives Mr. (Butt Head) Sterling, the power to effect their lives even more. What we need to do, is take power (and money) away from this A**H***. That being said, maybe if the Clipper games ARE boycotted, maybe this is taking money from him? If so, I can only hope that this is enough to get him to sell. Ultimately, that's what needs to happen!!

    April 29, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  3. John

    1. Is it OK for a woman to exploit someone to prosper?
    2. Purchasing properties to develop, improve and resell for profit is a crime? Raising the rent to pay for the construction instead of adopting the under achieving makes one a racist?
    3. Qualifying your statements by Not caring if, does nothing to focus on the point of the statement goes un-noticed?
    4. Responsibility for branding someone has waned in favor of siding ones self with popularity, regardless of correctness. Let's hang the guy, everyone will applaud us, even if we're wrong.
    Before anyone condemns someone, remember the Nazi's and what they did to the Jews for what they believed.

    April 29, 2014 at 4:00 pm | Reply
  4. GChase

    The NBA and the NBA players as well as many others all knew what Sterling is like. He is unlike many politicians who talk out of both sides of there mouth and lie outright. At least you knew where this guy stood and how he felt. In spite of his racism people, players and the NBA turned their heads. It didn't stop the coach or players for signing on and accepting his money so after thirty plus years why all the out cry? I'm not agreeing with him nor trying to justify or excuse his ill behavior but when we have a major political party acting and making racis remarks about our president what should we expect? Where are our free Speech advocates? A private conversation was taped and is being used against him.
    What he said on the tape he has said before in public and nobody did anything about it. And the NCAAP was going to give him an award within a week so how hypocritical can we all be?

    April 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Reply
  5. Abbe

    I think fans should and shouldn't boycott. It's a double edged sword because they should boycott to show their stance against racism from a team owner. But in the same regard, it's not the players fault for the comments from Mr. Sterling and would probably benefit the player more from having their fans there, cheering them on and showing their support.

    April 29, 2014 at 2:54 pm | Reply
  6. Denise McNeal

    No don't give him full satisfaction of knowing he can say whatever to make you stop doing what you love to do because is a number 1 a**. Go get that paper out his pocket play the game show him one man don't stop the show. Our Fore Fathers paved the way We have come to far now. Get It Done!!

    April 29, 2014 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  7. dan forbes

    Don't care what the players do. Said nothing racist other than saying I give people things not jobs. If I told my child not to intermarry is that racist, of course not.

    April 29, 2014 at 10:38 am | Reply
  8. Alonzo Ed

    They should not boicot since they owe their playing to the public

    April 28, 2014 at 8:06 pm | Reply
  9. Robert Amusquivar

    I choose the website about CNN sports news from the NBA, but my opinion that this website looked so awesome picture, clearly explain and good details about Clippers protest Donald Sterling as new recording includes more racist and misogynistic remarks because L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling told his girlfriend but he does not want her bringing black people to his games. I think that NBA commissioner should fire Donald Sterling owner after latest racist rant. Now, if there is evidence that he has discriminated against people because of their race against rules of law or NBA policy. That’s horrible news.

    April 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Reply

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