In an interview that could only have been conceived for ratings, rather than any attempt at actual journalistic integrity or enlightenment, Donald Sterling (he of the Los Angeles Clippers ownership and the “don’t bring black people to my games” soundbite) and Anderson Cooper (he of the television show AC360 and a handful of Emmy awards) sat down for a discussion over the Clippers controversy. It did not go well. Sterling, who is 80 years old, was largely incoherent and alternatively took on an assailed and and an angry tone. Weirdly, he saved most of his ire for Magic Johnson, rather than anyone who was involved with leaking the original recordings.
“I just don’t think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles,” Sterling said. ” He was a great player, but I’d like to know exactly, what does he do?” Sterling asked Cooper. “What has Magic Johnson done? He’s got AIDS. Did he do any business? Did he help anybody in South L.A.? I think he should be ashamed of himself. What does he do for the black people? I’m telling you he does nothing. It’s all talk.” For the record, Johnson has HIV, not AIDS.
Sterling then proceeded to wonder what Magic had done for the community of Los Angeles (the answer, courtesy of Deadspin, is “more than Sterling, at least as far as their charitable organizations are concerned”), even though earlier in the conversation he had said: “Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. He didn’t do anything harmful to anybody and I respect him and I admire everything that he does.”
At the outset of the interview (part one is above), Sterling said, “When I listen to the tape, I don’t know how I could say words like that.” It can be safely assumed that he would say a similar thing about his last statements on Magic. “He works with the Dodgers. Do you know what I do? I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities. Does he do that?
“That’s one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americans — maybe I will get in trouble again — they don’t want to help anybody. What has Magic Johnson really done for children’s hospital, which kids are lying in the hallways? They are sick. They need a bed. What has he done for any hospital? What has he done for any group? I don’t know. Maybe he’s done a lot.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who recently leveled a lifetime ban against Sterling that bars him from attending NBA games, practices, and facilities, released a statement apologizing to Johnson for Sterling’s comments yesterday. As for Magic himself, he tweeted that he’d ” rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling’s interview.” A full transcript of the show can be found here, courtesy of The Oregonian.