LOS ANGELES (AP) – In an interview aired Monday where he expressed sorrow for recorded racist remarks that earned him a lifetime NBA ban, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was anything but apologetic toward Magic Johnson, one of the men mentioned in the recording, repeatedly disparaging Johnson’s HIV-positive status, dismissing his work in charity and business and saying he’s not a proper role model for children.
“He’s got AIDS!” Sterling said loudly at one point, cutting off CNN’S Anderson Cooper as the interviewer attempted to cite Johnson’s accomplishments after Sterling asked, “What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?”
“He acts so holy,” Sterling said. “He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS, and when he had those AIDS, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him, I hope he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children?”
Anderson corrected Sterling, explaining that Johnson was HIV-positive but did not have “full-blown AIDS.”
Sterling briefly adjusted his language but not his tone.
“What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect, and tell our kids about?” Sterling said. “I think he should be ashamed of himself.”
Johnson had Tweeted after the recording emerged last month that he would never attend another Clippers game while Sterling was owner. But he was in attendance at Sunday’s playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder sitting next to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who handed down Sterling’s lifetime ban and a $2.5 million fine nearly two weeks ago.
Also in the interview that had its first full airing Monday after the release of excerpts Sunday, Sterling says he was “baited” into using racist language by V. Stiviano, the woman who made the recording.
“She would always use the word ‘black,’ ” Sterling said of Stiviano. “That’s a black girl, that’s a black guy, this is black, that’s black. So when she said to me I’m going to bring ‘four gorgeous black guys to the game,’ players she was referring to either football or basketball, I was a little jealous maybe.”
“I used her words,” Sterling said, later adding: “I don’t know why the girl had me say those things.”
Johnson, who is scheduled to appear on Cooper’s show to reply on Tuesday, wrote on his Twitter account that “I’d rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling’s interview.”
Johnson later Tweeted, “After this week, no more Sterling talk.”
The comments earned Sterling a quick rebuke from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who handed down a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine against Sterling last month.
“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,” Silver said. “The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible.”