Magic Johnson says Donald Sterling should sell Clippers
Former Lakers star blasts Clippers owner over alleged racist comments.
Update 1:43 p.m.: Johnson appeared on ABC Sunday to again call for Sterling to relinquish ownership.
Original post Saturday 4/26: Magic Johnson spoke with KCAL/CBS2 in Los Angeles Saturday, expressing his "disappointment" with Donald Sterling over alleged racist remarks that have brought the Clippers owner under fire. Johnson also says that it's time for Silver to sell the team.
“I’m very disappointed, angry and upset,” said Johnson. “Let’s go back when I first got here in 1979. Dr. Buss took me to my first real party at Donald Sterling’s house in Malibu for his annual BBQ. Ever since then, since Dr. Buss introduced me to him at the time he bought the Clippers, we’ve been out, we’ve had lunch and even shared meals to talk about his team, so I thought we had a sort of a friendship, even though it may be a distant one.”
Johnson added, “I respect him, I thought he respected me, but when these comments came out, it hurt. It didn’t hurt me as much personally as it hurt me for all African Americans.
If you come to me and say, ‘Hey look I’m a racist or I discriminate against blacks or I don’t like you because you’re African American, I respect that. I can respect you more by doing that, but don’t smile in my face, shake my hand and then you don’t really respect me or want me to be around or come to your games as the owner of the Clippers.”
Magic said he also felt bad for the players and people associated with the Clippers organization.
“I feel bad for Doc Rivers, Chris Paul and all those guys who are African Americans that play for Donald Sterling. Then you think about all the people who live in his apartment building – some of them are African Americans, too. We’re putting a lot of money to his pocket, but at the same time he doesn’t want us in there or come to the Clipper games.
I think that all of us are outraged. We are all upset … If you’re going to be like this, ‘why do you own a team in the NBA which is over 70% African American basketball players?’”
Johnson is clear on what he thinks should happen next.
“I think he should step down. If you feel like that in a league that is predominately African Amercians, you shouldn’t be owning a team.”
After all this, Magic suggests Sterling would be well advised to sell the team.
“It’s a shame because of the fact at this time, here we are now in 2014, we still are having people discriminating against African Americans. That’s uncalled for and has no place in the NBA.”
Johnson was the target of the alleged comments revealed by TMZ, in which audio of a taped conversation featured Sterling lambasting his girlfriend for taking an Instagram photo with Johnson.
Adam Silver largely declined comment on the matter at a press conference Saturday, expressing the need for the process of investigation to conclude that it was in fact Sterling's voice on the tape before commenting.
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