Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling repeatedly disparaged Magic Johnson’s HIV-positive status in an interview that aired on Monday, saying he was not a fit role model for children and dismissing his work in business and charity.
The interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper was meant to be a mea culpa in Sterling’s first public comments since racist recordings emerged last month and earned him a lifetime NBA ban, but when the subject turned to Johnson, who was mentioned in the recordings, Sterling is anything but apologetic.
“He’s got AIDS!” Sterling said, cutting off Cooper he attempted to cite Johnson’s accomplishments after Sterling asked, “What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?”
Sterling changed course briefly during the interview to call Johnson “a good person,” but resumed his criticism.
“He acts so holy,” Sterling said. “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 criticise him. I could have. Is he an example for children?”
Cooper corrected Sterling, explaining that Johnson was HIV-positive but did not have “full-blown AIDS.”
Johnson, who is scheduled to appear on Cooper’s show on Tuesday, wrote on his Twitter account that “I’d rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling’s interview.” Johnson later Tweeted, “After this week, no more Sterling talk.”
The comments earned Sterling a quick rebuke from NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who handed down a lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine against Sterling last month.