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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