A day after Sterling’s fresh jabs at Johnson, the NBA legend told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday night that “I’m a God-fearing man and I’m going to pray for him and hope things work out for him.”
Sterling received a lifetime ban from the NBA and a $2.5 million fine last month after audio recordings of him making racist comments were made public. Johnson, who Sterling mentioned in the recordings, declared in the aftermath that Sterling should no longer own a team.
Sterling apologized for his comments in a CNN interview that aired on Monday. But he dug himself a deeper hole by asking of Johnson, “Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don’t think so. But I’ll say it, he’s great. But I just don’t think he’s a good example for the children of Los Angeles. That he would go and do what he did, and then get AIDS.”
Johnson does not have AIDS, he was diagnosed as HIV positive. And he has, in fact, done quite a lot to help many communities. The Magic Johnson Foundation has raised millions for charity and “works to develop programs and support community-based organizations that address the educational, health and social needs of ethnically diverse, urban communities.”
As Cooper pointed out, many Americans are still misinformed about HIV. Johnson acknowledged that discrimination is “our biggest fight in the HIV and AIDS community… we’ve got to continue to educate people just like Donald Sterling.” He added, “I hope this doesn’t set us back. The stigma’s still there.” Despite misinformation, “You can high five a person with HIV, it’s okay… Your kid can go to school with somebody, a kid who has HIV. There is nothing that is going to happen to them.”
In response to Sterling’s claim that the Clippers players still “love me,” Johnson declared, “Really? Now he is delusional.”
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