In ESPN The Magazine, Peter Keating does an amazing job reporting the story of Clipper owner Donald Sterling.
There is a pubic relations issue at play with Sterling. People suing him for this or that have demonized him from time to time. But they're suing him! They're supposed to demonize him. Even though there have been reports of terrible things, it has always felt kind of tough to pass judgment.
But in Keating's article, there are just so many such stories. And his accusers tend to get confidential settlements.
Put them all together, and it takes Sterling well out of the "lovable eccentric" category. You really must read the whole article. Don't believe me? Here are some excerpts, as proof:
"When Sterling first bought the Ardmore, he remarked on its odor to Davenport. 'That's because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they're not clean,' he said, according to Davenport's testimony. 'And it's because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day.' He added: 'So we have to get them out of here.' ...[Kandynce] Jones had repeatedly walked to the apartment manager's office to plead for assistance, according to sworn testimony given by her daughter Ebony Jones in the Housing Rights Center case. Kandynce Jones' refrigerator dripped, her dishwasher was broken, and her apartment was always cold. Now it had flooded. Davenport reported what she saw to Sterling, and according to her testimony, he asked: 'Is she one of those black people that stink?' When Davenport told Sterling that Jones wanted to be reimbursed for the water damage and compensated for her ruined property, he replied: 'I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch.'"
"Those San Diego years are the stuff of NBA legend. Sterling welcomed himself to town by plastering his face on billboards across the city. And when the Clips won their 1981 home opener, he ran across the court, shirt unbuttoned and glass of wine held aloft, to high-five his players and hug coach Paul Silas. 'I love you!' he told them. But later that year he refused to pay a $1,000 prize to a local lawyer who won a free throw contest until the guy sued for fraud. Sterling even asked Silas to cut costs by taping players himself. Before the next season, he installed an ex-model named Patricia Simmons as assistant GM, putting her at Silas' desk while the coach was on an NBA promotional trip to China. Silas returned to find his belongings piled in the hallway."
"For years he has run semianonymous ads (crude design jobs he reportedly locks up himself) seeking 'hostesses' for Clippers events and his private parties. ... According to testimony Jaksy gave under oath, Sterling touched her in ways that made her uncomfortable and asked her to visit friends of his for sex. Sterling also repeatedly ordered her to find massage therapists to service him sexually, telling her, 'I want someone who will, you know, let me put it in or who [will] suck on it.'"
One of the most amazing things about the article is the accompanying photo, of a Sterling poster soliciting hostesses. I have seen such ads before and wondered: Who has the gall to advertise for that? Donald Sterling, that's who.
And I'll second what I said the other night. To those who think the NBA lottery is rigged: No way in hell it's rigged to put this guy in the spotlight.