LOS ANGELES (AP) — The interim CEO hand-picked by the NBA to run the Los Angeles Clippers said Monday he’s confident the league will succeed in forcing a sale of the team owned by Donald Sterling since 1981.
Dick Parsons arrived in Los Angeles and met with management and staff of the Clippers. Sterling has been banned for life by the NBA and fined $2.5 million after recordings of him making racist comments surfaced.
“My personal belief is the league will prevail, which means there will be an ownership change,” Parsons said during a news conference at Staples Center. “A prolonged legal battle is in no one’s interest, certainly not the league’s. I would hope we could avoid that.”
Parsons said he won’t be involved in the ownership fight. He said he’s being paid by the NBA but he doesn’t report to Commissioner Adam Silver or the league’s owners.
Sterling apologized for the racist comments captured during a recorded conversation, saying in a televised interview Monday night that they were a “terrible mistake.”
“I embarrassed the league. I humiliated them. I don’t know how, why I did it,” Sterling told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “I mean, it’s so terrible.”
Sterling said he apologized to the NBA and he doesn’t believe the other owners would vote to have him removed as owner of the Clippers.
In the same interview, Sterling went from apologizing to slamming Magic Johnson, repeatedly bringing up the former NBA star’s HIV status and calling him an unfit role model for children.
“He’s got AIDS!” Sterling said loudly at one point in the interview, cutting off Cooper as he tried to cite Johnson’s accomplishments after Sterling asked, “What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?”
The comments earned Sterling quick condemnation from the league that was already trying to rid itself of him as the Clippers’ owner.