Former Los Angeles Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor said he worked for now-disgraced owner Donald Sterling for 22 years because of limited job opportunities for former black players and the need to provide for his family.
In April, Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million by the league after private recordings of him making racist comments were made public. The league moved swiftly to oust him as Clippers owner, but Sterling has vowed not to sell and is suing the NBA for $1 billion.
"Why? Because in the first place, at the time I was probably only like the second black to be given the position of general manager," Baylor said on ESPN Radio's "The Freddie Coleman Show" as a reason for staying with the Clippers so long.
"There were not a lot of jobs available for black players, and like everybody else I had a family to take care, and at that time it was the best thing I could get to do was that particular job."
When Baylor left the Clippers in 2009, the team said he resigned, but Baylor claimed he was forced out by age and racial discrimination.
He wound up suing the team, Sterling and the NBA, alleging that he was underpaid during his tenure with the team. He later dropped the racial discrimination claims, and the remainder of the suit was dismissed in 2011.
Baylor was asked about his thoughts of Sterling's comments that were caught on tape.
"You know what, with Donald let me say this, and there's not very much I want to say about Donald," Baylor said. "I worked there, it's forgotten, it's basically over, but I mean nothing Donald does surprises me. I'm not surprised by anything he says or does."
Baylor, considered one of basketball's greatest players, was with the Los Angeles Lakers for 14 years and briefly coached the New Orleans Jazz. He joined the Clippers in 1986.
And now that he's been out of organization for five years, he says he's really tried to put Sterling and his time with the Clippers behind him.
"Well, you know, to tell you the truth, I don't even want to get into all of that," Baylor said. "You know it happens to be something that was in my life. It's passed now and I wanna forget about it."