The basketball Hall of Famer says LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling absurdly outdated views about minorities and is beyond ignorant about HIV and AIDS for someone of his prominence.
“He’s living in the stone ages,” Johnson said in an interview that aired Tuesday with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, a day after Sterling made his first public comments since racist recordings emerged last month and earned him a lifetime NBA ban.
“You can’t make those comments about African-Americans and Latinos. You just can’t do it,” Johnson continued.
Sterling, in his interview with Cooper, continually brought up Johnson’s HIV and called him an unfit role model for children.
Johnson mostly held back from going in on Sterling, who at one point cut off Cooper’s listing of Johnson’s achievements to loudly say “He’s got AIDS!” Johnson, who is HIV positive but does not have AIDS, said he was surprised Sterling didn’t make the distinction.
“Here’s a man who you would think would be educated, and a man who is smart enough to build this type of wealth and own a team and have an incredible platform to change the world,” Johnson said. “But he’s doing it in a negative way.”
Johnson is now a part-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and was once a part-owner of the Lakers after the playing career that was cut short by his contracting HIV in 1991.
“I came out like a man, I told the world,” Johnson said of his famous public press conference announcing his retirement. “I didn’t blame nobody else. I understood what I did was wrong. And I hope that I was able to help people.”
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