Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Is An Example of NBA Hypocrisy

May 24, 2011

The NBA and Commissioner David Stern have prided themselves on cracking down on the personal behavior of its employees. A few years ago, a concerted effort was made to rid the league of the terrifying "thug" or "gangsta" image that its players were supposedly adopting by creating a stricter dress code and fining players for harsh fouls.

After that, the NBA decided that its referees should suffer no "back talk" and gave them license to give technical fouls at will, while fining any coach or player who dared criticized the referees to the media.

Just today, Joakim Noah of the Bulls was fined $50,000 for using an anti-gay slur against a drunken fan. This followed on the heels of an even stiffer punishment given by the NBA to Kobe Bryant for making an anti-gay slur towards a referee (out of the hearing of that referee). Clearly the NBA wants us to know that it expects its players and coaches to be positive role models.

But has the NBA ever cared about how its owners behave? Shouldn't they be held to some basic level of decency?

All you need to know about the hypocrisy of the NBA is that Donald Sterling still owns the Los Angeles Clippers.  Let's see if Sterling possesses all the qualities the NBA would want in a good owner.


1. Commitment to Excellence

The Clippers have had 2 winning seasons in 30 years under Donald Sterling. They have made the NBA playoffs 4 times during that same span. Despite playing in a major city like Los Angeles and watching the high-standards set by the Lakers, Donald Sterling has shown no interest in competing for anything other than the lottery.

2. Tolerance

Sterling has allegedly made it clear that he likes Asian women because they are obedient.  However, he doesn’t like "Blacks" because they are not clean and smell. He stated he doesn’t like Hispanics because they are lazy and drink all the time. However, Sterling likes Asians because they work hard.

Sterling has been known to bring various girlfriends or prostitutes into the player’s locker room and comment on the "beautiful black bodies."

In 2011, Donald Sterling promoted Black History Month . . . by planning a celebration in March . . . wait it gets worse . . .for 1,000 poor and underprivileged children to attend a Clipper game.

3. Good Relationship with NBA Players

Donald Sterling heckles Baron Davis from courtside for missing shots and being out of shape from the stands at Clipper home games. When rookie Blake Griffin's game starts to flourish after Davis returns from injury, Sterling rashly and vindictively trades Davis and an unprotected 1st Round Pick to Cleveland for Mo Williams and Jamario Moon. The unhelpful move looks even less intelligent when the Clippers unprotected pick turns out to be the #1 pick in the draft.

"That’s a lot of money for a poor black kid." - to former Clipper Danny Manning during contract negotiations.

"Personally, I would like to have a white Southern coach coaching poor black players." - to former GM Elgin Baylor.

4. Love of the Local Community

Kandyce Jones was a tenant at Sterling’s Ardmore Apartments. She was an elderly African-American who was paralyzed on her right side and legally blind. Construction work caused flooding in Ms. Jones’ apartment. When Sterling was asked by his apartment manager whether he would compensate her for water damage and ruined property, Sterling allegedly stated, "Is she one of those black people that stink? . . . I am not going to do that. Just evict the bitch."

5. Law-Abiding

Sterling was sued in 2009 by the U.S. Department of Justice who alleged he discriminated against Hispanics, African-Americans and people with families. He settled the case for $ 2.725 million, the largest settlement of its kind. Donald Sterling was also sued by 19 plaintiffs in 2003 for housing discrimination. The case settled for an undisclosed amount described by the presiding Judge as “one of the largest” settlements ever for such an action. It has been reported that he paid $5 million for the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees alone.

Sterling has also been sued for sexual harassment a number of times.

6. Integrity

Donald Sterling pledged $50 million for a project to help the homeless in Los Angeles. After substantially advertising his pledge to the public, Sterling has yet to begin the project.

7. Appreciation for the NBA and its History

Donald Sterling was sued for age and race discrimination by his long-time GM Elgin Baylor. Sterling testified that he didn’t know who Baylor was when he hired him. When informed that Baylor was in the NBA Hall of Fame and one of the great players of all-time, Sterling stated, "I don’t profess to know anything about basketball. I’m a professional lawyer."

8. Humility

Take the quiz. Sterling regularly places advertisements to the general public in the L.A. Times promoting:

(a) One of his shady apartment complexes . . . with pictures of busty females.

(b) Celebratory Events with party details . . . that are invitation only.

(c) Charity Banquets sponsored by him . . . awarding himself.

(d) All of the above.

9. Compassion

Clippers assistant coach Kim Hughes was diagnosed with prostate cancer.

"I contacted the Clippers about medical coverage and they said the surgery wouldn’t be covered," Hughes said. "I said, 'Are you kidding me?' And they said if they did it for one person, they'd have to do for everybody else."

When (then Clippers coach Mike) Dunleavy learned the Clippers wouldn't cover the cost of Hughes' surgery, he mentioned it to his players. Several of them, including Corey Maggette, Chris Kaman, Elton Brand and Marko Jaric, were taken aback by the news and paid $70,000 for the surgery.

10. Dignity

At a planned gathering with Anaheim officials to celebrate the Clippers move to Orange County, Donald Sterling informs his hosts that he is going to the bathroom. After a substantial amount of time passes, Anaheim officials realize that Sterling has disappeared and left them hanging. Sterling later explains that he can't move the Clippers to Orange County because his Beverly Hills friends don’t want to make the drive to see games.


While the NBA has done their best to harshly punish "thug-like" behavior and criticism of the referees by its players, its owners are apparently not held to any particular ethical standard. One assumes the "NBA Cares" about its public perception, yet unfortunately they have maintained an almost feudal mentality which holds that the "rulers" are allowed to play by different rules than the "workers."

Manish Pandya
Staff Editor for


  1. San Diego ClippersMay 25, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    we need Bud Selig to step in and takeover the Clips from that incompetent bigot Sterling

  2. It is sad that this article, written 3 years ago, could foretell the embarassment that Donald Steeling would cause the NBA and the hypocrisy of the league he would reveal. It is shameful he was not forced out years ago.


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