The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Magic Johnson: Donald Sterling “shouldn’t own a team anymore”

Clippers owner Donald Sterling (Associated Press)
Placeholder while article actions load

The NBA is investigating racially insensitive statements allegedly made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and, if the recording can be authenticated, Johnson says the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver should “come down hard” on the owner.

Johnson made his comments in an appearance on the ESPN/ABC show preceding Sunday’s playoff games on ABC and added that Sterling “shouldn’t own a team anymore.”

“There’s no place in our society for it, and there’s no place in our league,” Johnson said on the ESPN/ABC pregame show Sunday. “We all play with different races of people in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful. He’s put his own team in a tough situation. So I believe that once Commissioner Silver … does all his due diligence, gets all the information gathered, he’s gotta come down hard. [Sterling] shouldn’t own a team anymore. And he should stand up and say, ‘I don’t want to own a team anymore.’ Especially when you have African-Americans renting his apartments, coming to the games, playing for him, coaching for him. This is bad for everybody. It’s bad for America and I’m really upset about it.”

Johnson, a Hall of Fame player for the Lakers and a part owner of the Dodgers, went on to add that “nobody’s going to want to play for the Clippers ever again. They’ll want to play for Doc Rivers. They’ll want to play with Chris Paul. But nobody will want to play for the organization.”

In the recording obtained by TMZ, a man purported to be Sterling tells his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, not to bring blacks to games and urges her to delete an Instagram photo showing her with Johnson. On Sunday, Johnson said he and his wife, Cookie, wouldn’t be attending any more Clippers games. On Sunday, he took his criticism beyond his personal slight from a man he’s known since both entered the league and considered a friend.

“You can’t understand how hurt I was,” Johnson said, “and I was hurt for all African Americans, and all minorities.”

Bottom line for Magic: “We have made him money, but we’re not welcome at the game?”