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Magic Johnson Insists Clippers Won’t Play For Any Sterling

Magic Johnson insists not only were players ready to boycott the NBA playoffs if Adam Silver did not work swiftly in his handling of Donald Sterling, but current players will never play for a team headed by any member of that family.

Magic Johnson


Magic Johnson

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Magic Johnson is insisting not only were players ready to boycott the NBA playoffs if new commissioner Adam Silver did not work swiftly and forcefully in his handling of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, but current team players will never again play for a team headed by any member of that family.

Directly named in the racially-laced rant that led to Sterling’s now lifetime ban and the enforcement of a league maximum $2.5 million fine after a tape of him instructing a girlfriend never to bring blacks to his games was made public, Johnson told USA Today Sports “those guys are not going to play for anybody named Sterling. It’s just how it is. It’s hard to separate the two. It’s going to be hard for them to sell that to the fans and definitely to the players.”

Over the last several days, Shelly Sterling has stepped forward to express an interest in retaining the 50 percent share she’s held in the team since acquiring it with her husband in 1981. Sterling maintains she would be a passive owner, and not engage in the day-to-day running of the team.

But in the view of the man widely regarded as one of the league’s all-time best assist men, even that seems to be asking too much.

When they accused them of being slumlords, that was both, it wasn’t one person,” said Johnson recalling a number of suits that have been filed against the couple over the years alleging housing discrimination against minorities, including one where they were ordered to pay out a nearly $3 million settlement.

“It was both of them,” the Hall of Fame guard and L.A. Lakers legend reflected. “They will never recover from this. All the sponsors pulling out, they will pull out for good if she is owning it. It’s not going to be the same.”

With the league on record in asserting it plans to force the Sterling’s to sell the franchise, Johnson is rumored to be among a group of celebs that also includes Oprah Winfrey, Sean “Diddy” Combs, David Geffen and Oscar Dela Hoya that may have some interest in purchasing a franchise expected to  sell for upwards of $1 billion.

“It’s a shame all of this happened,” said Johnson. “But, it’s not like they are giving up something because they are going to get paid for this team.”


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