Magic Johnson took the high road when responding to another round of shocking comments made about him by disgraced Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.
One day after Sterling slammed the NBA legend’s battle with HIV and community outreach efforts, Johnson told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that he is praying for the embattled owner, calling the ongoing incident “sad.”
On Monday, Sterling sat down with Cooper for his first public interview since being banned for life from the NBA; that decision was handed down by league commissioner Adam Silver after a recording of Sterling making racist comments was leaked to TMZ. The conversation in question involves the 80-year-old billionaire scolding alleged mistress V. Stiviano, instructing her not to “promote” images of herself with black people — including Johnson — or bring black people to Clippers games. When Cooper brought up Johnson in his conversation with Sterling, the real estate mogul went on another controversial rant.
“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?” Sterling asked Cooper in Monday’s interview. “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.”
On Tuesday, Johnson dismissed the comments, telling Cooper that Sterling didn’t do his homework before his sit-down.
“My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know, I just wish he knew the facts when he’s talking,” said Johnson, whose business investments include helping to open gyms and movie theaters in disadvantaged areas. “That really makes me upset. And then my competitive spirit comes out, because I’ve done all this great work. All the kids we’ve sent to college, and I’ve got 150 kids on scholarship right now.”
Johnson said he is still waiting for an apology, which he didn’t receive when Sterling called, asking the Hall of Famer to appear alongside him for an interview with Barbara Walters. (That interview never happened.)
“I said the number one thing you need to do which you haven’t done is apologize to everybody, and myself,” Johnson said. “[Sterling replied], ‘I’ll get to that. I’ll get to that.'”
“I’m really disturbed by the fact that when he called me [he didn’t say], ‘Magic, I’m sorry,'” Johnson added.
Watch a clip from Johnson’s interview here: