Set aside racism: Donald Sterling was prejudiced towards a winning culture
That sentence is a fitting ending to the deplorable era of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, considering that he never was a part of the NBA creed and was never committed to the efforts of building and running a successful franchise.
It was only when his venomous words of racism and bigotry came out in a taped conversation with his ex-girlfriend, V. Stiviano – one of many atrocities that he has his name tied to – that his rightful exile was far more evident. He has no place in the world of professional basketball, let alone professional sports. But as long as he remains the owner of the franchise he bought and then has buried in a comedy of errors for a majority of 33 years, the ignorance of a prideful man won’t go away. Neither will the constant view of the Clippers as a second-rate franchise go away quietly.
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to send Sterling into exile from NBA affiliation forever was a swift and justified one, a decision that should define his own era following a long, heralded yet polarized one by David Stern. Silver has brought us to the forefront of reality: Sterling shouldn’t be among the 30 owners – most of which are expected to push for him to sell the franchise – in this multicultural league and is certainly one of the few oppressors in a world that needs none.
As a man in plenty of money and power, he certainly does little in harnessing it for the righteousness of society. Several discrimination lawsuits far overshadowed whatever his public relations-heavy NAACP honors, as his prejudice has been as clear as day towards minorities. But the disrespect and carelessness can be said as much for managing a franchise that he carried out of the dreary times of San Diego and into the lavish, yet pressure-filled future in Los Angeles, where a potential rivalry with friend and then-Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss turned into yearly laughable Harlem Globetrotters-like debacle. There’s no guess as to which team was the Washington Generals.
Basketball-wise, Sterling had no idea what he was getting into with his $12.5 million investment from 1981 (now valued at $575 million). Financially, however, he knew exactly was coming: tax write-offs and a steady market. Even at the expense of winning games, Sterling’s vision has always been green and greedy. With only seven playoff appearances in a 33-year span, Sterling’s complete lack of attention to better basketball made him as big a slumlord for Clipper Nation as for his own apartment properties.