"Donald’s a Donald Duck. He’s a weird duck. There’s no doubt about it," Jackson, now the New York Knicks president, said at the New Yorker Festival on Sunday. "Every since he got the organization -- the San Diego Clippers -- and moved them to L.A., he’s been an outlier in [the NBA]."
Sterling was banned for life by the league in response to racist comments the NBA said he made in a recorded conversation. Sterling was also essentially forced to sell the Clippers by NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the other owners.
"He did things his own way and went against all the rules, and eventually it caught up with him. Even though it was 30 years later, it still caught up with him," Jackson said. "And it was embarrassing to the league. Because this league has always been embracing and compassionate, and this was not an embracing and compassionate act."
Jackson added that he didn't think the views Sterling espoused on the recording were ones he actually believed.
"I don’t think they were held personally. I know many of the players. Ron Harper ... played for the Clippers and felt that Donald was a decent guy to hang around with. He said he was squirrelly, but that was who he was -- kind of a squirrelly dude," Jackson said. "He doesn’t carry any animosity. I don’t think he carries that. But in expressing the way he expressed his feelings -- [it was] quite unusual and totally against the thoughts that we all thought."