Congratulations, Donald Sterling. Your Los Angeles Clippers are now postseason contenders and poised to become the new face of the city – after the Lakers’ fall from grace this year.
A team that was once the dictionary definition of “futile” – it had 10 straight losing seasons after you purchased it and recently had only its fourth winning season in 22 – is now at the top of its game.
Stars such as Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan are headlining a squad into a new era coached by Doc Rivers, whose resume includes winning an NBA title against a major rival.
It’s an honor, after decades of being the laughingstock of the entire league, to finally own a team that is making a playoff push. You, Mr. Sterling, have done it. For once in the NBA, there are the words “Los Angeles” in the postseason, and the next word does not read “Lakers.”
Oh, and let me remind you, the players and head coach I just mentioned are black.
Black, as in the race you “privately” bashed in front of your half-black girlfriend in a recording acquired by TMZ.
See, it wasn’t enough that the Department of Justice sued you back in 2006, alleging that you used race as a reason whether people could move into your apartment building or not, claiming that, “black people smell and attract vermin.”
It wasn’t enough that a jury’s verdict went in your favor when Basketball Hall of Famer and former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor sued you back in 2009 on allegations of wrongful termination based on race, claiming that you had a “Southern plantation-type structure” for your organization.
It wasn’t enough that, according to the litigation, you told 1988 first-round pick Danny Manning, “I’m offering you a lot of money for a poor black kid.”
Now supposedly you had to cause a ruckus over your girlfriend’s Instagram post of her and Magic Johnson. That benign post on her personal account just didn’t sit well with you. No, it’s not because Magic is a former Laker. It’s far from that.
So, let me get this straight, you don’t want black people watching Clippers games – but you’ll gladly take all of the advertising dollars, (non-black) ticket sales, and the glory when the black players you’re paying actually perform well?
Well, you’ve done it now. The Clippers are finally a respectable team, and we are all reminded of why they shouldn’t be considered as such.
The players are admirable – past and present – but it’s the man signing the checks who has made the team look terrible.
For example, after deciding not to sit out Sunday’s playoff game in protest, your players took off their warmup jackets and threw them at the center of the court. They then wore their practice jerseys inside out — all red, no “Clippers” to be seen.
The NAACP decided not to award you the lifetime achievement award (an award I’m surprised you even qualified for, considering the earlier allegations). And many, many people have spoken out against you, including President Barack Obama.
Oh, and let’s add insult to injury: you decided to do all of this in the midst of a rivalry series. Now, fans of the Golden State Warriors have something to use against the Clippers. I can hear it now: “At least we love black people!”
And the bigger shame is that your actions will fall on the NBA. Adam Silver has only been commissioner for nearly three months, and he already has a big controversy to work with. We all sit and wait for his decision. Maybe it will be a suspension, maybe a slap on the wrists.
One thing that’s for sure, if you wanted to solidify your spot as the worst owner in the history of the NBA, then I want to express my deepest congratulations.
You have tattooed your name in history.