Archived: Donald Sterling on Magic Johnson: 'What Does He Do for Black People He Doesn't Do Anything'

By Albert Lin


Turns out Donald Sterling’s shot at Magic Johnson in early excerpts from his interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper was just the tip of the iceberg. In the extended interview, which aired Monday night, Sterling repeatedly attacked the NBA legend, accusing him of being “all talk” and taking him to task for “going to every city and having sex with every girl.”

Sterling initially plays the victim, telling Cooper that he is the one who is hurt, because Johnson reneged on a promise to help Sterling and released a tape of a private conversation between the two.

“Here is a manI don’t know if I should say thishe acts so holy,” Sterling continued. “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 hoped he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could haveis he an example for children Because he has money, he’s able to treat himself.”

Sterling then does an abrupt about face that contradicts his other statements: “But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. He didn’t do anything harmful to anybody, and I respect him and I admire everything that he does. I’d like to help even more if we would offer me an opportunity to help. I like to help minorities.”

Johnson reached out to Sterling, the latter claims”I don’t know his phone number,” Sterling saysand advised him not to comment after the release of the recording, telling Sterling, “Wait, be patient, I’ll help you. We’ll work it out.” After Cooper asks why Johnson would do such a thing, Sterling replies, “I think he wanted me to just do nothing so he could buy the team. He thought maybe the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks.”

After a pause, Sterling, unprompted by Cooper, launches into an attack on Johnson, first asking Cooper, “What has he done Can you tell me Big Magic Johnson. What has he done” When Cooper offers that Johnson is a businessman, Sterling retorts: “He has AIDS.”

Sterling continues, “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 I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the Black people He doesn’t do anything.”

Cooper says that Johnson has opened a lot of businesses in inner-city neighborhoods.

“The Jewish people have a company and it’s for people who want to borrow money at no interest,” Sterling says. “We want to help people. If you don’t have money, we’ll loan it to you. If you don’t have interest [sic], one day you’ll pay us back. I’m just telling youhe does nothing. It’s all talk.”

When Cooper asks if Sterling is suggesting that African-Americans don’t contribute to African-American communities as much as Jewish people do to theirs, Sterling angrily cuts him off and says, “There’s no African-American Never mind. I’m sorry. You know, they all want to play golf with me. Everybody wants to be with me.”

Cooper then throws to an earlier part of the interview in which Johnson is first discussed. Again, Sterling seems convinced that Johnson isn’t what America believes him to be. Moreover, he paints himself as a white knight.

“What does he do” Sterling says. “He works with the Dodgers [Johnson is a part owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.] Do you know what I do I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities. Does he do that That’s one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people. And some of the African-Americansmaybe I’ll get in trouble againthey don’t want to help anybody.

“What has Magic Johnson really done for Children’s Hospital, [where] kids are lying in the hallways, they’re 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. I know he’s successful in business, but I’m not interested in business anymore at all. I’m interested in helping people.”

Cooper says that Sterling should still be interested in business, because he could takes hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of the Clippers and help anybody.

“And maybe I’ll do that,” Sterling answers.

Johnson took the high road, responding to Sterling’s comments with two tweets:

Johnson later told Cooper on CNN, “I’m going to pray for this man.”

According to CNN, Johnson’s Magic Johnson Foundation has raised more than $20 million for charity and awarded nearly $4 million in scholarships.

Watch Sterling’s full comments on Johnson below.

Latest News

Mastercard Names Ellen Jackowski Chief Sustainability Officer

Originally published at mastercard.com. Mastercard ranked No. 2 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.   Mastercard announced Ellen Jackowski will join the company as Chief Sustainability Officer starting July 25, 2022. In this role, she will be instrumental in further integrating Mastercard’s Environmental, Social and Governance…