Each time you read anything about Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, it’s hard not to come away with a similar feeling: “Man, that guy is just terrible.” The racism, the failure of the Clippers under his ownership – really, what more do you need to see?
But if you still remain unconvinced that maybe Donald Sterling is not the greatest guy in the world, ESPN’s J.A. Adande has something to show you: legal filings from former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor’s lawsuit against the team. Adande said the “one consistent theme that emerges” is that getting Sterling to open his significant coffers “is a daunting prospect,” but the “consistent theme” of Sterling being, well, Sterling is prominent too.
One thing we should say: these are filings from Baylor’s lawsuit, so not exactly an unbiased source. However, accusations of unsavory doings by Sterling are far from rare, so…well, make your own judgment. Plus, there’s the fact that both Baylor and the man who replaced him as Clippers GM, Mike Dunleavy, agree re: Sterling’s stinginess, though they put it different ways. Dunleavy:
Sterling “always told me to give him a great player and he’d pay for him, but there were several players I wanted to sign and we didn’t because Sterling refused to spend the money. The Clippers’ biggest concern was making a profit.”
“Because of the Clippers unwillingness to fairly compensate African-American players we lost a lot of good talent, including Danny Manning, Charles Smith, Michael Cage, Ron Harper, Dominique Wilkins, [Corey] Maggette and others.”
While they agree on that, Baylor also said the team took away much of his authority even while they still employed him, and Dunleavy was a part of it, often making deals that Baylor would only learn about after they were already done. Again, doesn’t make it sound like Sterling was promoting the healthiest work environment. But the most Donald-Sterling-esque passage of all is one that Adande called a “non-sequitur paragraph,” yet says so much at the same time:
“While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me…During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, ‘Look at those beautiful black bodies.’ I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room.”
Emphasis ours. Clippers fans, you might have Blake Griffin, but you’ve still got Donald Sterling.