Magic Johnson says Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is living in the stone age in his attitudes about minorities.
Sterling made his first public comments on Monday since racist recordings emerged last month and earned him an NBA life ban. In an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, he repeatedly brought up the ex-NBA star’s HIV and called him an unfit role model for children.
Johnson, in a separate interview with Cooper, said he didn’t know how he became stuck in the middle of a personal dispute between Sterling and V Stiviano. She recorded the comments with Sterling, and her photo of herself and Johnson on Instagram helped spur Sterling’s racist remarks.
Johnson said he was shocked such a prominent man would have such ignorant views on HIV and AIDS.
“Am I upset? Of course,” Johnson said. “But at the same time, I’m a God-fearing man and I’m going to pray for him and hope things work out for him.
“I was in disbelief that he would say these things and then throw me into the situation.
“I don’t know the young lady. I barely know Donald. Now I’m caught in the middle of this love or affair or whatever they have.”
In New York, NBA owners discussed Sterling’s CNN interview and the plans to terminate his ownership of the Clippers on Tuesday in the third meeting of the advisory/finance committee.
A day after Commissioner Adam Silver repeated his desire to force Sterling to sell quickly, the committee met via conference call. League spokesman Mike Bass said owners reviewed the status of the charge for termination of the Clippers’ ownership.
Silver or an owner has to formally charge Sterling in writing with violating Article 13 of the NBA’s constitution. A hearing would then be held and require a 75 per cent vote of the board of governors to force Sterling to sell the team he has owned since 1981.
Bass said the committee also discussed the media appearance of Shelly Sterling, who said she wanted to keep her share of the franchise even if her estranged husband was forced to give up his. The NBA has said that wouldn’t be possible.
The 10-member committee was also briefed on the hiring of Dick Parsons as the Clippers’ interim CEO, and his meeting with team employees on Monday.
Minnesota owner Glen Taylor chairs the committee that includes Miami’s Micky Arison, the Lakers’ Jeanie Buss, Oklahoma City’s Clay Bennett, New York’s James Dolan, Boston’s Wyc Grousbeck, San Antonio’s Peter Holt, Phoenix’s Robert Sarver, Indiana’s Herb Simon and Toronto’s Larry Tanenbaum.
The committee plans to reconvene next week.