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J.J. Redick says deal to bring him to Clippers almost fell apart because of Donald Sterling’s racism

May 4, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Seven Getty Images

J.J. Redick came to the Clippers last summer as part of the three-team deal that included the Bucks and the Suns, but he was a free agent, so L.A. would need to agree to a sign-and-trade that would lock Redick up for the next several seasons.

It was a good deal for everyone involved, as the Clippers wouldn’t be able to afford Eric Bledsoe the following year when he became a restricted free agent, and Redick would help the contending Clips immediately should he be able to continue his sharp-shooting ways.

Apparently, though, the team’s now disgraced owner Donald Sterling almost let the deal fall apart due to his temporary unwillingness to hand out a long-term contract to Redick, perhaps due solely to the color of his skin.

From Sam Amick of USA Today:

Sterling, the man whose racist comments sparked this whole furor, was believed to have had concerns about paying a white player that kind of money. He had once given white center Chris Kaman a five-year, $52 million deal, and how that contract panned out (or didn’t, as Kaman played 195 games in the next four years of that deal and was traded to New Orleans with a year and a half left) appeared to be coloring Sterling’s judgment on this deal. In a way, it was a mirror-image of the issue that would be front and center 10 months later.

“I’ve been told both ways: one, that he didn’t want to pay me because I was white, and that he didn’t want to pay me because I was a bench player,” Redick said. “I didn’t know (the deal almost fell apart) until after the fact. I just got a weird phone call from Doc on July 4, and I got off the phone and said to my wife, ‘Something’s going on.’ He’s like, ‘You better play for me (expletive).’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s the plan. We figured this out two days ago, right?’

“And then he just rambled a bit. … but he never really got into the nuts and bolts of what was happening. And then I got a call about 48 hours later from my agent, and he said, ‘We wanted to keep you out of it, but here’s what happened.'”

Now that Sterling is gone, we can expect more and more stories like this to come to the surface. There’s a long history of this behavior, most of it having been buried due to his position of power within the organization.

That’s no longer the case, and Redick deserves a fair amount of credit here for being forthcoming about how Sterling’s racism almost affected him in a major way, and all because he happens to be a basketball player who’s white.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - May 4, 2014 at 10:07 PM

    Stern’s not racist, he hates everyone equally.

    • eugenesaxe1 - May 4, 2014 at 10:07 PM



      • musician0785 - May 4, 2014 at 11:46 PM

        You’re right on both counts

      • therealhtj - May 5, 2014 at 10:13 AM

        Sterling’s beliefs come as a shock to not even he casual NBA fan. Those who follow the goings on around this man have no one but themselves to blame when he almost brought their good thing to an end. Docs outrage was more at himself than Sterling – he knew it was coming at some point, but he never thought it was coming this soon at this magnitude.

    • sire2334 - May 4, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      Actually this proves he’s prejudice…He’s a bigot who ignorant enough to believe in stupid stereotypes. One happens to be white guys can’t ball. Another happens to be black guys smell and attract rodents…hmm…let me see which one I’d prefer.

      • eugenesaxe1 - May 4, 2014 at 11:57 PM

        No, that shows he’s just an amoral, asocial a-hole.

      • sire2334 - May 5, 2014 at 12:29 PM

        Well yeah…that too.

      • sire2334 - May 5, 2014 at 12:32 PM

        So 31 people either believe white guys can’t ball or black people attract rodents? lol.

    • delyce22 - May 5, 2014 at 11:00 AM

      This is exactly why I have no sympathy for the players, coaches and whoever else that is affiliated with the Clippers. It is well documented that Sterling is a racist and has extremely racist views and players and coaches still sign with the team and take the money. I don’t want to start hearing all these stories about how players were directly affected by Sterling’s racist attitudes.

      • Wammy Giveaway - May 5, 2014 at 12:31 PM

        Do you believe that everybody within the Clippers knew about Sterling’s racist character and demanded everyone that they keep it quiet, even at the risk of termination? Is this scandal similar to the Jerry Sandusky situation, where Joe Paterno wished he could have done more, but instead acted as an accessory to a criminal? Do we have to blame everybody in the organization and make them equally guilty?

      • jvw1982 - May 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

        I disagree, there are only 30 teams how can you possible turn down an opportunity to play for one of them when it may be you’re only chance? Every black person has worked for someone who they heard rumors was a racist, most of the time it doesn’t affect the job they are doing but occasionally it comes to the surface and you have to make a choice to either continue to work for them or find another job..It’s very easy for you to sit here and say how you would handle a situation you will never have to deal with in your life….This is the exact reason the players and coaches were so distraught over the situation, the issue became public and now they may have to make a public decision on leaving or be considered a sell out…the commissioner took the weight off their shoulders so they could continue to be players and that’s why they are so thankful to him…I will always have sympathy for people who have to work for racist …

    • sire2334 - May 5, 2014 at 12:36 PM

      Clearly you’re unfamiliar with the definitions for “prejudice” and “bigot”. Are you one of those who thinks racism doesn’t exist? Not trying to call you out but it seems like you’re rather reluctant to call a spade a spade.

      • eugenesaxe1 - May 5, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        That’s an old joke-he doesn’t care what race you are because he hates all races.

        Obviously the guy’s a racist.

      • sire2334 - May 5, 2014 at 5:33 PM

        Oh ok…my bad.

  2. 00millerfortune - May 4, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    Who DOES Sterling like and approve of? And is Blake Griffin the best of both worlds for him? lol

    • rogerrodgers - May 4, 2014 at 11:45 PM

      Griffin is probably his favorite kind of race…which is a combo of each. lol…

  3. rogerrodgers - May 4, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    Ok, so sterling hates everyone equally…

    • nfl4days - May 4, 2014 at 11:50 PM

      He hasn’t said anything about Jeremy Lin.

      • sackofrice - May 5, 2014 at 12:07 AM

        he probably wants him to rent his apartment.

    • moseskkim - May 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      he likes koreans because they dont complain as his tenants. lol as long as we as a people stop complaining and smell good, sterling might like us!

  4. lunasceiling - May 5, 2014 at 2:10 AM

    All that money, and still can’t seem to buy a clue.

  5. bruiserbrigade - May 5, 2014 at 2:14 AM

    An undersized 2guard who can’t defend or get his own shot? Gee, I wonder why Sterling wasn’t jumping for joy at that deal? He’s also proven he can’t withstand the rigors of an NBA season as a fulltime starter. The first thing I thought of when I heard of this deal was the field day Wade, Harden and other strong 2’s were gonna have with him. Why exactly, other than shooting, did Doc want this guy?

    • pharohislife - May 5, 2014 at 4:48 AM

      Aaah Sterling Sterling Sterling, you don’t have to come on here and defend yourself, creating an account, posing as a casual commenter; Cmon Donald have some pride, save some dignity for God’s sake.

    • chunkala - May 5, 2014 at 10:46 AM

      Bruiser – You nailed It on all points. Couldn’t agree more.

    • imnotyourbuddyguy - May 5, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      Problem is it doesn’t sound like Donald was using your argument.

    • jvw1982 - May 5, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      Every team needs a guy who can shoot the lights out and he’s an energy guy…..he may not be a star but this kid makes you work on Defense running off screens and his D is underrated.

  6. harshedmellow - May 5, 2014 at 3:59 AM

    Can he jump?

  7. david407 - May 5, 2014 at 4:28 AM

    Wow this is getting ridiculous, who cares! This is so stupid, an old man is racist big deal. Everybody likes to act like they are so righteous. Shut up already. While everybody was so worried about some 80 year old man’s opinions you all missed the hands down best first round of the playoffs ever.

    • pharohislife - May 5, 2014 at 4:42 AM

      No, we all saw it. The games are still televised right?

  8. dynamicninja - May 5, 2014 at 5:19 AM

    And so Doc Rivers didn’t know what Sterling was about?? Puh-lease

  9. - May 5, 2014 at 6:30 AM

    so he’s racist against white people too?

  10. jasper36 - May 5, 2014 at 7:23 AM

    JJ signed didn’t he, so why is this a story. If he cared so much about the racist owner I don’t think he would’ve signed. The Clippers weren’t the only team in the NBA.

    • sw19womble - May 5, 2014 at 10:24 AM

      The article says that JJ didn’t know about the comments until after he’d signed.

      I doubt many basketball players really followed the previous news about Sterling’s questionable business practices… and as others have intimated, there might be one or two ‘older’ owners who may share some private thoughts along the same line as Sterling, but aren’t batship crazy enough to say them out loud.

      Players in all sports are used to being treated as pieces of meat. They get bought and sold and used as trading pieces in deals all the time. Moving cities and getting bought out. That’s part and parcel of their careers. However, Sterling crossed the line when he opened his big fat mouth and made it clear he sees some sets of people as inferior.

      JJ’s reading a little too much into this after-the-fact, but it wouldn’t surprise me if Sterling truly believed that white men can’t jump.

      • jasper36 - May 5, 2014 at 12:10 PM

        WOW so if you went to a job interview you wouldn’t do research on the company. If so I could understand that, but a millionaire who has an agent, and probably numerous others who could check for him. It sounds a little sketchy, because now everyone’s story is the same ( we didn’t know who was paying us and they didn’t care until now). I’m sorry if I don’t buy it, but I don’t.

  11. kavika6 - May 5, 2014 at 8:25 AM

    What a crock.

  12. watermelon1 - May 5, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    So then sterling hates white people too then. So how is he racist?

    • doc305 - May 5, 2014 at 10:11 AM

      Because he makes judgments about people based on skin color as opposed to who they are… but i wouldn’t expect a stinky, stupid watermelon to understand that……

  13. ningenito78 - May 5, 2014 at 9:53 AM


  14. chunkala - May 5, 2014 at 10:45 AM

    Just another typical Duke jerkoff.
    Can’t defend, needs 3 picks to get an open look, can’t stay healthy, here’s $500m for 5 seasons JJ.

  15. senorpapino - May 5, 2014 at 10:46 AM

    If he was so offended, why not sign elsewhere? He was coming off a career year and had plenty of options. Guess money talks more than anything.

    • jvw1982 - May 5, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      First he didn’t know until after the fact and 2nd he didn’t have plenty of options…..he is limited in what he can do, the money was there and he fit the profile the Clips were looking for plus he would be contending for a championship…..why would he want to play somewhere else for less money, less playing time or on a team with no chance? Stop blaming the people who are discriminated against and blame the racist…..

  16. andreboy1 - May 5, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    He still took the money just like EVERYONE else on the team who would have known the owner was a racist if they would have done a 5 minute google search.

  17. flash8910 - May 5, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    Stop the hypocrisy. The only color everyone involved cared about was green.

    • delyce22 - May 5, 2014 at 11:25 AM

      Agree 1000% Flash8910. That is why I have no sympathy for the players, coaches, etc.

  18. florida727 - May 5, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    Most people don’t like, or want to accept, the fact that racism does work both ways. I used to do television work and was literally told by a producer once that she’d have hired me on the spot if I was either black or female. I can’t truthfully say it bothered me though, then or now. It happens. It’s part of life. So what? You move on.

  19. wordyduke - May 5, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Where do I go to get my silly rabbit?

  20. mutasian - May 5, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    he is not racist. he just knows the right places to put his money. he has no problem handing out money to cp3 and griffin and he really likes crawford a whole lot. it is true. he just just doesn’t like people for a reason. one way or another.

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