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Magic Johnson on Donald Sterling: “He’s a man who’s upset and he’s reaching”

May 13, 2014, 5:27 PM EDT

Adam Silver, Magic Johnson Adam Silver, Magic Johnson

Now it’s Magic Johnson’s turn.

A night after embattled Clippers owner Donald Sterling sat down with Anderson Cooper in what was a public relations disaster of an interview, Magic Johnson sits down with Cooper for an interview on Tuesday to respond. You kind of know how this is going to end.

Magic gets public relations, he takes the high road.

“My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he’s talking. But he’s a man who’s upset and he’s reaching. He’s reaching. He’s trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it’s not going to happen….

“I’m going to pray for the man because even if I see him today, I’m going to say hello to Donald and his wife as well. I’m not a guy who holds grudges and all that. Yes, am I upset? Of course! 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.”

Here is what Sterling said about Magic, one of the lowlights of Sterling’s interview (which is saying something).

“He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in South LA?… What kind of a guy goes to every city and has sex with every girl and he catches it, HIV, is that somebody we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. What does he do for the black people? The Jewish people have a company, it’s for people who want to borrow money at no interest. We want to give them a fishing pole. We want to help people. You don’t have any money, we’ll loan it to you, without any interest. One day you’ll pay us back. I’m just telling you he does nothing, he’s all talk.”

The comments caused NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to publicly apologize to Johnson.

Sterling also said in the interview Magic Johnson called him and told him to wait and not doing anything, that Magic said he would help him. Magic’s people told TMZ the opposite happened — Sterling called Magic and wanted to have him next to him in an interview, to show Sterling was not a racist and was friends with Magic. According to that report Magic said no. Decide for yourself who to believe.

Sterling clearly has an issue with Magic Johnson. It likely stems from the fact the Clippers are still “the other team” in Los Angeles while the Lakers are the stars (even despite the recent fortunes on the court, trust me as someone who lives here L.A. is a Lakers town). In the business world Magic is seen as a shining light around Los Angeles, Sterling a slumlord. It’s not that hard to see where jealousy and a vendetta might have come from.

But Magic is going to win the battle of interviews as well.

When the league eventually forces the sale of the Clippers from the Sterlings, don’t be shocked if Magic and his partners (the group that already owns the Dodgers) win the bidding process. Which would be the ultimate insult to Sterling.

  1. michaelxvo - May 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    If Magic is true to his word, he should speak something like:”I forgive Donald and I support him to regain his ownership and NBA attendance at the Staple Center”. Lip service with no action is equal to hypocricy.

    • Kurt Helin - May 13, 2014 at 6:10 PM

      Feeling bad for him and helping him maintain ownership are very different things.

    • drewsylvania - May 13, 2014 at 6:55 PM

      No. Magic has the right of this. Sterling is a sad, barely-functional human being, who is about to find that his persona (mental illness?) is going to reduce him to irrelevancy.

  2. xliontamer - May 13, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    I’m a Clipper fan, I’m glad to see the Sterling family go, but I hope the process for getting a new owner goes past the ‘justice’ seeking idea of Magic Johnson and just boils down to the best group or individual with the financial ability to run the team.

    • antistratfordian - May 13, 2014 at 6:04 PM

      I hope it goes to Magic. That would be poetic justice.

    • genericusername93 - May 13, 2014 at 6:13 PM

      Magic’s group would fit all your desired parameters AND be the best, most fitting F-you to Sterling on his way out the door. He is going to make millions either way but how amazing would it be to see him relinquish ownership to a black person, one of the minorities he criticized, and specifically, Magic, one he specifically denigrated?

  3. ebrownwareagle - May 13, 2014 at 6:16 PM


    You Sound Foolish. America Always want the Black Man to Forgive And Apologize for someone else’s racial epithets.

    • storminator16 - May 14, 2014 at 8:54 AM


  4. soldierdog - May 13, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Maybe Ervin should start his own organization instead of attempting to strip this successful old man of his successful company.

  5. csbanter - May 13, 2014 at 6:39 PM

    In the words of the great Michael Olowokandi… uh wait a minute never mind.

  6. hojo20 - May 13, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Magic’s first hire as GM will be “V”, his co-conspirator in trying to get the Clippers.

    • ranfan12 - May 13, 2014 at 6:43 PM

      shes better off as an agent for negotiations lol

  7. soldierdog - May 13, 2014 at 6:45 PM

    Sterling said what he wanted to. It is the rest of the world who is upset!

  8. eugenesaxe1 - May 13, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Magic said he’d never attend a Clippers game as long as Sterling owned the team. That lasted a week, with him sitting beside Silver.
    Silver apologizes to Magic for stuff Sterling said.
    Magic has expressed an interest in buying the team.
    I don’t want to agree with the tin-foil hat crowd and say “Collusion”, but…

  9. titansbro - May 13, 2014 at 7:25 PM

    I don’t care one way about who gets the team but that interview was hilarious! In a sad kinda way but hilarious nonetheless.

  10. asimonetti88 - May 13, 2014 at 8:05 PM

    My favorite part of the interview… “If I was going to set someone up to steal a team, why would I choose the Clippers?”

  11. dretwann - May 13, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    @Michaelxvo, you are confusing forgiveness with stupidity. You can forgive and still punish. You can forgive and still vote against the forgiven. Please do not assume forgiveness means return to status quo. It does not. Sterling don’t deserve to represent the NBA or any other corporation.

  12. mudhead123 - May 13, 2014 at 9:31 PM

    The NBA will lose in court. I will laugh so hard when he keeps the team

    • pharohislife - May 13, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      Grow up kid.

  13. campcouch - May 14, 2014 at 1:36 AM

    Donald Sterling should buy the house next to Magic and shine a light through his window 24/7. I’m a jerk though,I find millionaires and billionaires feeling offended pretty funny. Fans,players and the league office had zero convictions to support their own distaste. They attended,played in and supported the playoff games under some pretense of sticking it to the Man via unity. Nah,the fans wanted to see their team advance,the players wanted their game checks and post-season bonuses and the league enjoyeg the revenue…and Magic popped up on TV again looking for sympathy. I will agree with Sterling on this,how many women or men did Magic infect before announcing that he “attained” (his word not mine) HIV as he stood next to his wife. Yeah,good urban businessman,but definitely not a guy I’d point at and tell kids how great he is.

  14. sportfan2 - May 14, 2014 at 7:02 AM

    Two rich guys fighting over power and money, one trying to keep it the other wanting to get more. I don’t believe either.

  15. vegasdestroyer - May 14, 2014 at 10:28 AM

    That Sterling is the “Archie Bunker” of the NBA is no surprise to anyone who has followed the news. The real news is all those rich people like JAY-Z will be hypocrites when they complain about their privacy invasion.

  16. antianarxi - May 16, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    i think from day one magic has done all the talking trying to convince us how he should get the clippers. its one thing to speak out against someone who you think is unjust, and another to try and swindle him, 20 cents to the dollar out of something that is rightfully his. thats where magic is right now, the only thing on his mind is $$$.

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