Donald Sterling’s interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper debuted Monday, and the L.A. Clippers owner used a considerable portion of the conversation to rip into Magic Johnson.
Sterling blamed Johnson for delaying his apology and questioned the former NBA star’s contributions to African-Americans, as well as his role-model status.
“Here is a man who – I don’t know if I should say this – he acts so holy,” Sterling said. “I mean, he made love to every girl in every city and he has AIDS. And when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him, I hoped he would be well.”
Though Sterling intended for the interview to offer him an opportunity to apologize and tell his side of the story, some of his comments were already drawing strong reactions from viewers around the web.
“What has he done, can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?” Sterling said. “He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in South L.A.?”
Cooper interjected: “Well, I think he has HIV. He doesn’t actually have full-blown AIDS, but…”
“Well, what kind of a guy goes to every city, he has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV and — is that someone 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,” Sterling continued. “But what does he do for the black people? Doesn’t do anything.”
Cooper was quick to point out that Johnson has opened a number of businesses and charitable organizations around Los Angeles.
Sterling also accused Johnson of scheming to buy the Clippers by advising him to stay quiet as Sterling’s racist recordings made the rounds across the media.
“He lulled me into waiting a week, do you know what I mean? He says, ‘Don’t do anything.'” Sterling said. “‘Don’t do anything. I know the girl. Don’t do anything. I will help you.’ I’m waiting and I’m waiting and I’m waiting.
“I think he wanted me just to do nothing, so he could buy the team.” Sterling added.
At various points in the interview, Sterling insisted to Cooper that he doesn’t believe he’s hated in the NBA. Sterling even accused Cooper of being more racist than he is, and deflected Cooper’s question about Basketball great Elgin Baylor’s claims that Sterling had a “plantation mentality” when he ran the Clippers.
He continued to reject accusations that he harbored racist views.
“I’m not a racist,” Sterling said. “I made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I’m here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all the people that I have hurt. And I have hurt so many people, so many innocent people.”