Being Donald Sterling
Ignorance knows no logic.
If you’re wondering why the Lakers will always be L.A.’s team, look no further than the demented mind of Donald Sterling, a man who has arguably made the majority of his vast riches on the backs of many black men, yet remains so mean-spirited and close-minded he would seek to have the likes of Doc Rivers, Chris Paul, and Blake Griffin all barred from the very arena where they all have become household names.
To think, 80 percent of all the players in the multi-billion dollar industry of the NBA are black and 12 of the 14 players currently on the Clippers’ 57-win regular-season roster are too, and still Donald Sterling would have you believe they have no worth. Have you believe that even though he acquired the team in 1981 at a relative cost of just $12.5 million and it’s now valued by Forbes magazine at a staggering $575 million.
Then again, consider the source. In the minds of many, this week’s revelation that the 80-year-old Sterling does not want “blacks at my games” merely confirms he is who many have long feared he is.
From endlessly jerking Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor around to the point the one-time Clippers’ GM sued him for age and race discrimination to recently being forced to pay the federal government a settlement of nearly $3 million for refusing to rent his properties to blacks and Hispanics, Sterling’s wondering nature has only been consistent in how repulsive he’s been.
To be sure, there is as little excuse for what a very married Donald Sterling said in sternly chastising his girlfriend about the company she keeps as there is for who he has openly shown himself to be for at least the last several decades.
Baylor claims Sterling once told him to his face he wanted to compose a team of “poor black boys from the South playing for a white coach” and once said of negotiations with then star player Danny Manning “I’m offering a lot of money for a poor black kid.” Legend also has it there were times when Sterling would bring women into the Clippers locker room to gaze at his players’ “beautiful black bodies.”
But then how much sensitivity would you expect from a man who reportedly once invited 1,000 African-American kids to a Clippers game to celebrate Black History Month, all during the month of March?
Donald Sterling has never had to apologize for anything he’s said or done, and that seems part of the problem. It’s worked to foster a belief in him that no rules apply to him and whatever he says, scandalous as it might be, simply is his overriding right to do whatever he damn well pleases.
The tape is merely the latest in a lifetime of vile examples.