NBA commissioner Adam Silver dropped the dime on Clippers owner Donald Sterling for his vile and racist remarks who does not deserve the honor of owning a team in the most progressive league in history

By Mike Lupica, New York Daily News

Silver banned Sterling (above right) for life and fined him $2.5 million.

Silver banned Sterling (above right) for life and fined him $2.5 million.

It was the weekend in Arizona when the Giants would get their first Super Bowl off the Patriots, and we were at a lobby bar at a famous Phoenix hotel known as the Arizona Biltmore. And somehow as the night wore on and our table got bigger, there was Al Davis with us and David Robinson, the old Spurs player, and an old fool named Donald Sterling, who kept waiting for somebody to recognize him as a big shot.

But the truly amazing thing now, looking back on that night, is that Sterling didn’t think he merited another big award from the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP because he didn’t ask David Robinson to go fetch him a drink, or his car.

As even people in outer space know by now, Sterling is now accused of saying racist things on a tape that ended up in the hands of TMZ, apparently because a former female companion — part of a conga line of former female companions — has turned out to be an extremely bad sport.

Just for the record, the companion to whom Sterling, the LA Clippers owner, is alleged to have made comments that make him sound like that knuckle-dragging Nevada rancher, Cliven Bundy, is named V. Stiviano, aka Vanessa Maria Perez, aka Maria Monica Perez Gallegos, aka Maria Valdez. But then Mr. Sterling has a long history of hooking up with women whom he did not meet at the Junior League.

Sterling’s long-suffering wife, the feisty Shelly, finally went after V. Stivano in court, the papers including this hundred-yard sentence, one of the very best in the history of all court filings:

“The lawsuit involves the activities of Defendant Stiviano, who (Mrs. Sterling) is informed and believes and therein alleges, engages in conduct designed to target, befriend, seduce and then entice, cajole, borrow from, cheat, and/or receive gifts, transfers of wealth from wealthy older men whom she targets for such purpose.”Maybe that was all going on later at the Biltmore later that night at the Super Bowl. All I remember the blond sitting next to him saying the whole night is, “I’d like another, please.” Sterling didn’t make any kind of racial comment, but we left early. So did Robinson, before Sterling had to tell his blond friend not to pose for any pictures with Robinson or he wouldn’t buy her a Bentley later.

“Donald Sterling,” my old friend Paul Westphal, an NBA coach and great NBA player before that, said on Sunday, “was always the worst-kept secret in the NBA.”Just not anymore. Not with the release of this tape, whose authenticity is currently being determined by the commissioner of the league, Adam Silver. Silver is the one who suspended Sterling for life and fined him $2.5 million. In a tour de force press conference on Tuesday, he also said he would galvanize support from the owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

Sterling comes across as one of the most arrogant bums ever to own a sports team in this country, a man who has a low opinion of women and — obviously — an even lower opinion of African-Americans. In that tape, the man talking to V. Stiviano gets hysterical because his latest Queen of the May posed for an Instagram shot with Magic Johnson. Big famous black guy.

Maybe my favorite part on the tape is when the voice of V. Stiviano’s male friend tells her that if she insists on loving blacks, to at least have the decency to love them in private.

Sterling turns everybody lousy with this, starting with a league that enabled him for years even as he was being sued for things like refusing to rent apartments to blacks and Hispanics and families with children, eventually paying millions to settle those allegations. He also makes the L.A. chapter of the NAACP look bought and paid for, because they had not only given him one award but were about to give him another. Perfect. The old man bought them, too.

Donald Sterling doesn’t just sound like a bigot on that tape, he sounds like every other rich old man pathetically insecure about the latest V. Stiviano in his life, even after showering her with cars and apartments and money. Sterling thinks she looks bad posing for pictures with black men, and isn’t aware enough to consider what she looks like being with him, the former Donald Tokowitz, with his fat bank account and fat little belly and hair dyed the color of a Rawlings baseball mitt.

Silver is making him go away, for a good long time. It is about time. Good riddance to Donald Sterling if he does. Maybe somebody takes an Instagram of him on his way out the door.

Reprinted by permission.


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