On Monday night, CNN aired Anderson Cooper’s full interview with Donald Sterling, and while the network already released transcripts of the disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner apologizing and insisting he’s not a racist, they saved some special moments for the broadcast. To recap, Sterling’s main defense is that he was just jealous because his mistress kept bringing other men to games. He claimed that he only used the term “black guys” because that’s how V. Stiviano described the men, but Cooper read back several of his diatribes about associating with minorities. “I can’t explain some of the stupid, foolish, uneducated words that I uttered,” he responded. Then, Sterling decided to see if launching into new tirades about Magic Johnson and the differences between blacks and Jews would help get him out of this mess.
When Cooper brought up Johnson, whose appearance on Stiviano’s Instagram sparked their recorded argument, Sterling revealed that he’s been silent since the scandal broke because Johnson called him and said, “Don’t do anything. Wait until you hear from me.” He claims Johnson changed his mind about getting involved, then leaked a recording of their phone conversation.
“He acts so holy. I mean, he made love to every girl in every city in America. And he had AIDS,” Sterling said of Johnson, before claiming that he admires and respects the basketball legend. Then Sterling asked, “What has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done? … 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 commented that successful Jews give back to their community, but stopped himself, saying, “There’s no African-American – never mind. I’m sorry.” Later, he decided to go ahead and complete that comparison:
Do you know what I do? I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities. Does [Johnson] 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.
Apparently, Cooper did not realize he’d need to bone up on Johnson’s accomplishments for the interview, but afterward he noted that the Magic Johnson Foundation is a respected charity that “provides funds, HIV/AIDS awareness, testing and treatment, as well as scholarships and mentoring for minority students and other support for ethnically diverse urban communities. It’s spent many millions of dollars on these programs over the last 20 years.”
So Sterling was right about one thing: Somehow, he managed to get himself into trouble again.
UPDATE: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released this statement:
I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling’s interview with Anderson Cooper and while Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack. The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible.