The End of Donald Sterling’s Reign of Ignorance


Robert Gauthier

(Courtesy Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via MCT.)


Donald Sterling is an ignoramus, but his remarks will be the catalyst for a more progressive NBA.

(Courtesy Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via MCT.)
(Courtesy Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via MCT.)

As a Knicks fan, I dislike team owner James Dolan.  Some of it is deserved due to his constant meddling with basketball geniuses such as Donnie Walsh and now Phil Jackson.  Some of it is frustration, based on the Knicks never really being title contenders even though we are always promised that they are.  Some of it is his need to defend men like Isiah Thomas and Steve Mills, who are not very good executives, because of close friendship.  However, I would have good ole JD be in charge of my favorite team for life before I would want it run by Donald Sterling for even a minute.

It would be bad enough if Sterling was just a bad owner because the NBA has had plenty and will have plenty in the future.  Under his “leadership,” the Los Angeles Clippers have been the laughingstock of the NBA.  In his thirty years of ownership, the team has won 19 playoff games total at time of writing.  For comparison sake, the home-town rival Lakers have won 41 since 2008.  He has consistently fielded mediocre or worse teams. Arguably the greatest Clipper under his regime, Elton Brand, ran away from the franchise as quickly as humanly possible.  The man, even though his team plays in one of, if not the, largest market in the NBA refused to spend Laker or Knick money to field a competitive franchise.  A miracle would need to happen for the Clippers to be anything but depressing while Sterling was top dog.  That miracle that Clipper fans have prayed for for three decades finally happened in the form of Blake Griffin.

Blake Griffin is the most important person in the history of the Clipper organization.  That is not hyperbole, because Clipper history had been so terrible before him.   This team would be nothing without his high-flying antics, one in a million athleticism or superstar ability.  Thanks to him signing up to be a Clipper long-term, management was able to land Chris Paul, the greatest point guard of the modern era.  They also lured Doc Rivers, arguably the second best coach in the NBA right now, to Los Angeles based on the idea of running a team with Blake and Paul.  This season, for the first time maybe ever, the future of the Clippers looked bright.  Then, we were all reminded of the bigoted doofus that lead the franchise to ruin in the first place.

Like I said earlier, Sterling is not just a bad owner, he’s a terrible person.  This week’s leaked tapes are just another piece of proof. Former Clipper’s general manager Elgin Baylor had sued Sterling and the organization a few years ago, citing racial discrimination as the chief reason he was relieved of duty.  He has also been accused of evicting men and women from housing on the basis of race.  He has been quoted numerous times speaking ignorantly about not only African-Americans, but Hispanics as well.  The only good part of the leaked phone call is that Sterling’s racism is now on the national radar.

If this were the Antebellum South, perhaps Sterling’s casual racism would been socially, although certainly not morally, acceptable, but we live in 2014.  The NBA no longer tolerates men like Sterling as shown by the comments of Lebron James and even his own player Chris Paul.   The fact that Sterling somehow sees minorities as innately inferior is somewhat hilarious when one realizes that he owns a sports team whose first, second and third largest contributors are at least partly of African descent.  He looks like a fool, especially when one considers that he needed Rivers, who is African-American, to clean up the mess his white coaches Vinny Del Negro and Mike Dunleavy left in their wake.  Sterling seems ridiculous when one realizes that four of the five greatest players in NBA history are black.  Above all, and with no explanation needed, Sterling is moronic for harboring such a racist attitude.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has just issued a lifetime ban for Sterling, effectively ending his reign of either ignorance or terror depending on one’s point of view.  This was a necessary move in order to eliminate this parasite from the league and progress the NBA further into the future.  Lebron James recently commented that “there’s no room for Donald Sterling in our league.”  Whether speaking for the players, front office executives, owners or fans like myself who spent hours emulating their favorite players whether they were white or black, he could not be more correct.