Magic Johnson said Donald Sterling’s diminishing comments in an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper earlier this week of his charitable efforts in the African-American community would not harm relations between the Jewish and black communities.
“One thing great about the African-American and Jewish communities is that they have worked well together over years, and we will continue to work with the Jewish community,” Johnson, the former Los Angeles Lakers star, said in an interview May 13 with gossip website TMZ.
The basketball Hall of Famer spoke to TMZ in the wake of the latest controversial statements by Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who was banned last month from the National Basketball Association following a racist rant captured on audio.
“I think his strategy is to attack me and then also pit both communities against each other, but it’s not going to work,” said Johnson, who is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.
In his first interview since the leaking of a taped conversation with a girlfriend in which he slanders blacks, Sterling told Cooper May 12 that he should be credited for his charitable work.
“Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people,” Sterling said. “And some of the African-Americans – maybe I’ll get in trouble again – they don’t want to help anybody.”
In what was intended to be an effort to apologize and rehabilitate his image, Sterling instead went on to attack Johnson for his past promiscuousness.
His rant in the original conversation with his girlfriend, V. Stiviano, was prompted by Stiviano appearing in an Instagram photo with Johnson.
Johnson, who is HIV positive, has done considerable work to raise awareness about AIDS, including in Israel.
With files from JTA