(CNN) — Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling speaks publicly for the first time since a controversial audio recording prompted the NBA to ban him and fine him 2.5-million dollars.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Sterling stirred up even more controversy by slamming NBA legend Magic Johnson.
Sterling says he just made a terrible mistake.
“It’s painful to me, because I’m not a racist, and I’ve never been a racist,” Sterling said.
Despite talk of players possibly boycotting games, Sterling says they don’t hate him.
“I contend that they love me,” Sterling said.
“You think the players love you?” Cooper asked.
“Of course, they do,” Sterling said.
In his first televised interview since the start of the media firestorm, Sterling did not skirt talk about race.
“Jews, when they get successful, they will help their people, and some of the African-Americans — maybe I’ll get in trouble again — they don’t want to help anybody,” Sterling said.
Specifically, he went after NBA legend Magic Johnson.
“Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?” Sterling asked.
“Well, he’s a business person…” Cooper responded.
“He’s got AIDS! Did he do any business, did he help anybody in South LA?” Sterling said.
“Well, I think he has HIV; he doesn’t actually have full-blown AIDS anymore…” Cooper said.
“Well, what kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself,” Sterling said.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement, saying in part: “While Magic Johnson doesn’t need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack.”
The Magic Johnson foundation got a top rating from charity navigator in 2012, providing support to ethnically diverse urban communities.
After the interview aired, Magic tweeted, “After this week, no more Sterling talk.”