Magic Johnson: Sterling 'Shouldn’t Own a Team Anymore'

Magic Johnson, who was specifically referenced in the racist remarks by LA Clippers’ embattled owner Donald Sterling, told a panel on ESPN Sunday that Sterling “shouldn’t own a team anymore.”

Johnson said to an ESPN panel prior to the LA Clippers-Golden State playoff game Sunday (which the Clippers lost handily) that he was personally hurt by Sterling's alleged statements, as he had a long-time friendship with him, but that what was really at issue was how the owners’ views impacted the league.

Johnson concluded his remarks by arguing that Sterling should not own an NBA team anymore, something he hoped Sterling would decide on his own—a sentiment apparently shared by many in the league, including LeBron James who stated that “there’s no room” in the NBA for such racist sentiments.

Here is Johnson’s full statement:

Well, Sage, I was really upset. You can’t understand how hurt I was. And also I was hurt for all African Americans and all minorities. Because when a man who owns a team in the NBA—and Donald Sterling has had issues in the past, so this is not the first time... And I’ve known Donald, one of the first men I met when I came to LA. Dr. Buss took me to his annual Malibu beach party—actually my first week in LA. Then I met with Donald two or three times. He wanted to discuss the issues with his Clippers team. So I had a friendship with him.

So for him to make these comments, or alleged comments, about myself as well as other African Americans and minorities...There’s no place in our society for it, there’s no place in our league because we all get along, we all play with different races of people when you’re in sports. That’s what makes sports so beautiful. And then he’s put his own team in a tough situation.

So I believe that once commissioner... Silver does all his due diligence... gather the information, he’s gotta come down hard. He shouldn’t own a team anymore. And he should stand up and say, “I don’t want to own a team anymore.” Especially when you have African Americans renting his apartments, coming to the games, and playing for him, and coaching for him. This is bad for everybody.