Magic Johnson on Donald Sterling's latest rant: 'Pray for him'
MAY 13, 2014 4:45p ET
One day after yet another rant directed his way by suspended Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson twice responded publicly, first telling TMZ that the 81-year-old's latest comments are "sad" and saying "we just got to pray for him," before CNN aired an interview with Anderson Cooper during which Johnson said Sterling is ''living in the stone ages'' in his attitudes about minorities.
Johnson, the LA Lakers icon and part-owner of the Dodgers, called "TMZ Live" on Tuesday in the aftermath of Sterling's comments made in a nationally televised interview with Cooper Monday night.
In the conversation, Sterling — who received a lifetime ban from the NBA after his original recorded racist remarks became public last month — heavily criticized Johnson. Sterling said Johnson has "done nothing" to help fellow blacks while serving as a poor role model because he said Johnson's "got AIDS." Cooper corrected Sterling in the interview, telling him that Johnson does not have AIDS, but is HIV positive.
Following the interview Monday night, Johnson made his feelings obvious on Twitter:
On Tuesday, Johnson attempted to take the high road regarding his efforts in the black community.
"I'm a proud black man. I'm a leader in the black community and I take that role seriously," Johnson told TMZ. The NBA legend defended himself further, saying he has sent more than 10,000 minorities to college via the Magic Johnson Foundation and has invested millions of dollars in urban cities and businesses, in addition to other extensive charitable work.
Then came the CNN interview:
"It's disturbing. It's sad. He didn't do his homework," Johnson told Cooper about Sterling's comments that wealthy African Americans do not help the African-American community. "He didn't educate himself before he actually came on and talked to you."
Johnson's reply to reports that he would not continue to speak with Sterling on the phone: "I didn't want him to feel he could just call me because he hadn't apologized to me. . . . When I saw that interview it's sad, it really is. I'm going to pray for this young man. . . . What's really sad is it's not about me. This is about the woman you love outing you, taping you and putting your conversation out here for everybody to know. That wasn't me, I didn't do that. I don't know this young lady. This is between you two."
On Sterling's efforts to retain ownership of the Clippers: "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. It's not going to happen."
In the TMZ interview, Johnson defended himself on several accusations made by Sterling on Monday night:
• On Sterling telling Cooper that Johnson was the one convincing the Clippers owner to stay silent after the initial comments and controversy broke:
"Let's go with the facts: Donald Sterling reached out to me . . . and he wanted me to go on (and be interviewed by) Barbara Walters with him and try to save him and his reputation. I told him I would not go on his show with him, and I told him, 'You should seek the advice of your attorney and try to make this thing go away, whether that's make a deal with her or whatever the case may be.' And (I told him), 'No. 1, you've got to apologize not only to me, but to all the other minorities out there because you haven’t apologized yet.' He said, 'No, no, no . . . I'm going to get to that.' To this day, he’s never apologized to me or to all of the other minorities that he offended."
• On having to defend himself against Sterling's comments:
"I'm not going to sit here and let Donald Sterling disrupt my day, my year, my month . . . I'm one of the most honest guys you're ever going to talk to . . . I don't steal, I don't set people up, I don't do those types of things . . . I don't know that young lady. I took a picture and all of a sudden I'm in the middle of this mess. But, at the same time I would not let you attack me without responding."You don't want me to come to your games? I won’t come. But you don't want blacks to come? I'm going to fight for those people because I'm a proud, black man. I'm one of the leaders in the black community and I take that role seriously."
• On V. Stiviano, Sterling's mistress who allegedly released the first recordings leading to Sterling's NBA suspension:
"He should point the anger at the young lady that he's in love with that put this (the original recordings) out. I had nothing to do with this. You put me in it, Donald, by saying all those terrible things about me."
• On Sterling's possible PR strategy:
"I think his strategy is to attack me and then to pit all the (black and Jewish) communities against each other, but it's not going to work."
• On Sterling wondering on TV what Johnson really did in working for the Dodgers:
"I think he's got it a little wrong. I own the Dodgers."
• On his opinion of Sterling now:
"I don’t have any other ill feelings for Donald. I think we all should try to get him some help. It’s a shame."