It was supposed to be an apology interview where disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling said sorry for making racist remarks against African-Americans.
"I think [Johnson] should be ashamed of himself," Sterling told Cooper during the interview, which aired Monday night. “I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything.”
"He's got AIDS," Sterling added. "What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?”
When Cooper countered by saying Johnson is a successful businessman and clarified that the basketball legend is HIV-positive but does not have “full-blown AIDS,” Sterling retorted:
“He acts so holy. 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 hope he could live and be well. I didn't criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children?"
Sterling also used the interview to allege that Johnson had reached out to Sterling and advised him to “be patient” and “we’ll work it out.”
To that allegation, Johnson told TMZ that it was Sterling who called him, requesting that they sit down together in an interview with Barbara Walters. Johnson scoffed at Sterling's request, according to the celebrity news website. Johnson will surely provide more of a response Tuesday night, when his interview with Cooper airs on CNN.
Sterling’s lambasting of Johnson even drew a reaction from NBA commissioner Adam Silver.
"I just read a transcript of Donald Sterling's interview with Anderson Cooper and, while Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack,” Silver said in a statement. "The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."
If three-fourths of NBA owners vote against Sterling, he will be forced to sell the Clippers.
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(Photos from left: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images, Charles Norfleet/Getty Images)
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