May 13th, 2014
04:24 AM ET

Donald Sterling: Magic 'Should Be Ashamed of Himself'

Why did Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling take so long to say he's sorry for the racist remarks that got him banned from the NBA?

Magic Johnson, he claims, told him to stay quiet.

"Wait, be patient, I'll help you, we'll work it out," Sterling said the NBA legend told him.

In an exclusive interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper, Sterling spoke publicly for the first time since a controversial audio recording of him sparked a firestorm and put his ownership of the Clippers in jeopardy.

He repeatedly apologized and denied accusations that he's racist, claiming he'd been "baited" into making what he called "terrible" remarks. But while he defended himself for much of the interview, he went on the offensive when Johnson's name came up.

Sterling, 80, slammed the former Los Angeles Lakers player's character and his battle with HIV, saying Johnson hasn't done anything to help others.

"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. "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."

Johnson has been a central figure in the controversy since the recording of Sterling speaking with friend V. Stiviano surfaced last month on TMZ.

In the recording, which drew widespread condemnation from fans, players and the league, Sterling chastises Stiviano for posting pictures online of her posing with African-Americans, including Johnson. He tells her not to bring Johnson to Clippers games.

"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," he said.

As criticism over the recording spread, Johnson was among the first to say that Sterling should be forced to sell the team.

Now, as Sterling faces a lifetime ban from the National Basketball Association, a $2.5 million fine for the remarks and the possibility that fellow NBA owners could force him to sell the team he's owned for more than 30 years, he claims Johnson is angling for control of the Clippers.

Sterling said that he waited so long to apologize about the recording because Johnson, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA championships, called him and told him to remain silent.

"I know the girl, don't do anything. I'll help you," Sterling says Johnson told him.

"I think he wanted me to just do nothing so he could buy the team," Sterling said.

Johnson hasn't indicated whether he would pursue a Clippers ownership position.

Watch more of Anderson Cooper's interview with Donald Sterling on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET. Cooper will also speak to Magic Johnson.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. jnunley34

    How can a rights violation evolve into a legal battle and Magic Johnson interview at the same time?

    May 13, 2014 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  2. Rebecca Szerman

    Mr. Sterling should not stand in judgment of Magic Johnson, whoever he did or did not sleep with his none of his business. I think Mr. Sterling best keep his mouth shut because he is digging a bigger hole for himself.

    May 13, 2014 at 11:02 am | Reply
  3. blvicente

    I deplore Sterling. But he has a point about Magic Johnson. I do wonder why we have chosen to deify him.

    May 13, 2014 at 10:53 am | Reply
  4. Cornelia Goffney

    The issue is not Magic Johnson's health or behavior; it is about the condition of Sterling's heart that his mouth revealed. Sterling continued to shift the blame to his mistress or to try to make Magic look bad. It is apparent that he has a problem with Magic. He talked about him on the tape and continued to do so in the interview. He must be jealous of him, wishing he could "have sex with every girl in America." Who can he talk about, he is moral bankrupt in many ways himself. It takes more than a weak hearted apology to undo a long life of racism. He needs to go somewhere and shut is sick mouth before he chokes on his own vomit!

    May 13, 2014 at 10:04 am | Reply

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