Magic Johnson said Friday that Los Angeles Clippers co-owners Donald and Shelly Sterling should do everyone a favor and sell the Clippers.
Last week, the NBA banned Donald Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million after a tape surfaced on which he made disparaging remarks about African-Americans and other minorities.
The NBA is trying to force Donald Sterling to sell the Clippers. His estranged wife, Shelly, said she plans to fight the NBA to retain her 50 percent ownership share.
Johnson, who was honored at a charity event Friday by Emmitt Smith at the Omni Hotel, said it’s not a good idea for any of the Sterlings to be part of the Clippers or the NBA.
“The guys are not going to play for anybody [named] Sterling, that’s just how it is,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to separate [Donald and Shelly Sterling].
“It’s going to be hard for them to sell that to the fans and definitely to the players.”
Johnson said he might be interested in purchasing the Clippers. But he knows getting Sterling to sell the team is not something that’s going to happen any time soon.
“The [NBA] Board of Governors first has to vote him out, and then Donald Sterling is going to fight it,” Johnson said. “Look, I’ve got other things to do before I just say my level of interest, but the team has to be up for sale, and I think that’s going to be eight months to a year.
“Once that time is official that it’s really up for sale, we’ll take a look at it. But right now I’ve got too many other things to be worried about.”
Johnson was dragged into the Donald Sterling incident when Sterling told his companion, V. Stiviano, that he was upset that she posted a picture of her and Johnson on Instagram.
Sterling added he didn’t want his companion to bring Johnson or any African-Americans to any Clippers games.
“It’s a shame that this all happened,” Johnson said. “But since it did they should just sell the team and live a wonderful life, because they’re going to get a billion-plus for the team.
“It’s not like they’re giving up something. They’re going to get paid for this team.”
Johnson said that he was proud of the way the NBA players bonded together and were prepared to take a stand against the league if harsh action wasn’t immediately taken against Sterling.
“I’m not just talking about the Clippers — everybody was going to boycott,” Johnson said. “And so I’m proud of the guys, the leadership of Chris Paul and LeBron James rallying the whole league, all the players.
“The leadership of [Sacramento Mayor and players union adviser] Kevin Johnson to represent the players at that time, and I want to give [Clippers coach] Doc Rivers a lot of credit. Not just coaching this team, but also getting them to understand, ‘Hey, we’ve got to concentrate on basketball.’
“Once this decision came down, he got them focused to win that series against Golden State, but also got them focused now against Oklahoma City, so Doc Rivers deserved a lot of credit for what he’s done with that team.”