At a charity event in Gary, Ind Monday night, NBA legend turned businessman Magic Johnson, addressed the controversy surrounding LA Clippers owner Don Sterling.
Johnson is in the picture that started the tirade by Sterling. 31-year-old Vanessa Stiviano, Sterling’s girlfriend, says she taped a conversation with Sterling after she posted the picture on Instagram.
Johnson says he never was on the receiving end of racism by Sterling. He’s had dinner with him many times. He said he was hurt, outraged and disappointed by what he said.
Johnson was in Gary for a fundraiser for the public school system. He’s going to invest in the city like he has in cities across America. Chuck Hughes, the executive director of the chamber of commerce, has held basketball leagues in Gary and worked with NBA greats Oscar Robertson and Dick Barnett and seen the discrimination they went through to become game changers for African-Americans in the NBA. He says Sterling should use this opportunity to be a force for good.
“Let’s have him spend that money and let’s direct those funds to make sure that it’s not cosmetic that it’s helping to make a difference in these urban communities,” Hughes said.
The LA. Clippers issued a statement saying: “Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life.”
Johnson was very clear: Sterling should lose his team. He hopes that’s the decision NBA commissioner Adam Silver announces at a press conference tomorrow. And if not he’s urging a boycott by all NBA players once the season is over.