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Magic Johnson Vows to Pray for Clippers Owner Donald Sterling

"I'm going to pray for him and hope things work out for him," Johnson says.

Magic Johnson. Patch file photo.
Magic Johnson. Patch file photo.

Magic Johnson shrugged off criticism from Donald Sterling today, saying he would pray for the ostracized owner of the Los Angeles Clippers.

"I'm a God-fearing man and I'm going to pray for him and hope things work out for him," Johnson said in an excerpt of an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper set to air tonight.

Sterling, in an interview with Cooper that aired in full last night, questioned whether Johnson should be considered a role model.

"What does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything," the embattled billionaire said. "What kind of guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then catches (HIV)? I think he should be ashamed of himself."

In response, Johnson said he wished Sterling knew the facts before speaking out and said he took his role as a leader in the black community seriously.

The former Laker great said his "whole life is devoted to urban America."

Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks said Johnson, among other things, invested in a much-needed South Los Angeles shopping center and has raised money for college scholarships for minorities.

"We view Magic as one of the best stimulus packages that we have seen in dealing with issues we have in our community," the councilman said.

Parks said Johnson opened his namesake movie theater in a mall that had been in danger of closing and "saved the shopping center" by persuading chains such as Starbucks and TGI Fridays to open nearby.

Parks said he expected to Sterling to apologize for the racist comments he previously made to an associate that led to his lifetime ban from the NBA, but "I had no idea he would do it so poorly."

Parks said Sterling's statements reflected "ingrained thoughts that are not a problem of the mind. It's in the heart -- that's what he believes."

Johnson said Sterling is upset and appears to be trying "to find something he can grab onto to help him his team. And it's not going to happen."

Johnson acknowledged he was upset about Sterling's remarks, but would not hold grudge.

In a tweet, Johnson wrote that he "would rather be talking about these great NBA playoffs than Donald Sterling's interview," referring to the Clippers' defeat of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the latest playoff game, tying the series 2-2.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the league for life, fined him $2.5 million and said he would do everything he could to force the Clippers owner to sell the team after taped remarks Sterling made to a frequent courtside companion were leaked to a pair of websites.

He chastised V. Stiviano for appearing in photographs with black people - - including Johnson -- and bringing them to Clippers games, but told CNN's Anderson in his first public statements that he was not a racist and that he had been "baited" into making the comments.

Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for $12.5 million, but the team recently was valued by Forbes around $575 million, making it the league's 13th most valuable.

--City News Service


Randy Mahlman May 14, 2014 at 09:10 AM
People in this world will and continue to do things that are not right. I pray that Mr. Sterling finds Jesus Christ in his life and that is the beginning of a new and eternal relationship.
George May 14, 2014 at 02:01 PM
Save your prayers Magic. You have capitalized on having HIV due to your affiliation with the Los Angeles Lakers. Basically you had relationships outside of your marriage too wifey and have admitted to having 100's of sexual encounters. How can you be a role model for ur youth? This is insane! Donald Sterling is correct you are NO role model. The fact the black movement looks toward you as some kind of role model is disgraceful to this group of people. Just shameful that the media has sided with a piece of you know what like you. I loath you Mr. Johnson! You do not deserve to be honored in anyway. Also, what the hell is up with your son? He acts like a woman wearing fur coat and carrying a purse?(ha, ha, ha)
howard L. Visnick May 14, 2014 at 02:38 PM
Is it not possible that Sterling's comment about bringing blacks to the games is not a racial statement, but more of a classification issue. From my perspective as an old criminal defense lawyer, I truly believe the probability is that Attorney Sterling was using the young female in question as " arm candy ". She's been tagged as his courtside companion. If you haven't noticed, she appears to be black, and they presented as a couple. She obviously was up to something sinister just for the fact she was recording the conversation. It's simple logic. He wanted to maintain the image that she was his companion. If she appeared at games with others, it could appear she was "with" them. Evidently, her friends were blacks. It was convient for him, unfortunately, to use the language he did. If she would have been purple, with young hansome purple friends, the comment would have been about purple people. He's not a racist. His comments about Majic were, I believe, from an old guy that felt betrayed by Majic's response to the original comment. He was hurt and, unfortunately, knee jerk reacted. This has gone too far. Did anyone hear when he said " I should have paid her off"? Is it not illegal in Califonia to attempt to extort and exploit the elderly? Anyone wonder how she lives so lavishly? I would suggest the mob and bully mentality cease. Drop it. Let it go into the past.
George May 14, 2014 at 03:03 PM
The media is out to get Sterling like they did with poor Paula Dean. That sweet, kindly woman has been painted to be this awful woman by the media. Here we have some tramp using Mr. Sterling for financial gain. She is an extortionist and ne3eds to be prosecuted. Also, no where in the conversation recorded with Mr, Sterling does he refer to blacks as ni__ers. He was simply stating he did not want her bringing her black friends to the game as he did not want to share her attention as she was being paid to be his companion. He is an old man and no one believes a man that age can perform sexually but he still wants that illusion that he is as a billionaire owner of the Clippers with the sexy black hooker GF. Obviously he is NOT aracist as he has the black hooker as a companion. I think she is part Mexican also? The media including awful Magic Johnson is out to get Don Sterling. Shameful!
Jon Hunt May 15, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Sterling is the kind of person to tell Marques Johnson that he would "…ruin him financially…" after Johnson's son died. Enough said.

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