Donald Sterling’s Black History Month ad raises eyebrows

This ad ran recently in the L.A. Times. Take a good look.

On the surface, Clippers owner Donald Sterling was trying to do something nice. He wanted to admit 1,000 “underprivileged children” free to the Clippers/Rockets game on March 2 in honor of Black History Month.

Only Black History Month is in February. Why is he celebrating it in March? And why is he associating “underprivileged kids” with Black History Month in the first place? Is he implying that all “underprivileged kids” are black? And how did the Staples Center employees know if a kid was “underprivileged” or not when he/she showed up for the game? By the color of his skin?

If this were any other owner, people would have a chuckle and write it off as poor planning by the team’s public relations department, but Sterling has a long history of racial missteps, from discrimination lawsuits in his real estate ventures to comments he allegedly made in the Clipper locker room.

The guy just can’t get out of his own way.

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Bill Simmons argues that Carmelo should join the Clippers

Keep in mind that Simmons, a Clippers season ticket holder, made a similar case last year that LeBron should come to L.A. and look how that turned out.

Anyway, here’s his case:

Griffin is the most meaningful in-the-air player since Shawn Kemp. Throw in his competitive streak and he did the impossible — he made Baron Davis care about basketball again. As my friend Tollin said last week, “It’s amazing; it’s like Baron has a purpose again.” He’s Blake’s dunk muse. Now the Clips have the foundation of something special: Griffin, Davis, Eric Gordon (a future All-Star) and enough left to make a legitimate offer for Denver: lottery pick Al-Farouq Aminu, Chris Kaman, expiring contracts and the rights to Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 pick (nearly as valuable a trade chip as Favors) for Carmelo and Al Harrington’s horrendous contract that’s the Carmelo Trade Tax. Mrs. Anthony could live in Hollywood and make her next unwatchable reality show. And her husband could play with Griffin, Gordon, Davis, Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan … a situation that’s between five and 20 times more appealing than New Jersey. Even when you include Donald Sterling.

From a basketball/quality of living standpoint, you couldn’t do much better than the situation with the Clippers. Anthony-Griffin-Gordon would make an excellent trio to build around and I’ll agree that the building blocks the Clippers could offer (Aminu, Kaman and Minnesota’s unprotected 2012 pick) are almost as good as what the Nets can offer.

But there’s one thing that stands in the way: Donald Sterling. The Nets’ owner, Mikhail Prokhorov, a.k.a. the Russian Mark Cuban, is infinitely more impressive and Simmons notes that LeBron thought that the Nets meeting was right up there with the Heat’s last summer.

It will be nice for Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton land in New Jersey with Melo, but only for a year or two, as both players are past their respective primes. It’s really about Brook Lopez and Mikhail Prokhorov versus Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon and Donald Sterling.

Could Blake Griffin eventually become a Laker?

J.A. Adande of suggests the Lakers as a possible destination for Griffin when he becomes a free agent in 2014.

From 1994 to 2004, the Clippers had 10 picks in the first 10 selections of the draft. The only one to stay with the team for more than five seasons is Chris Kaman, the center selected sixth overall in 2003.

Griffin could become an unrestricted free agent in 2014, which coincides with the expiration of Kobe Bryant’s and Pau Gasol’s contracts with the Lakers. Now that’s a franchise with a history of attracting and retaining star players, one with a low tolerance for down time. If the Lakers have to reset in 2014, who better for them to do it with than Griffin?

For his part, Griffin seems to be focused on the right thing — making the Clippers better.

“I would love to do that,” Griffin said. “I would love to be a part of it. I don’t think there’s a greater feeling than helping something, being a part of something bigger than yourself, being a part of something that changes the culture. If we’re really committed to winning, we’re committed to being better, I would love to be here. But there’s a lot of years, a lot of games to be played before any of that’s going to be decided.”

The phrase that caught my eye was “if we’re really committed to winning…”

That’s the rub with the Clippers, isn’t it? There have been a lot of good players come through the franchise and they hardly ever stay. Can Griffin and Eric Gordon turn this thing around quickly enough to convince themselves to stay? Can Clippers management surround them with enough talent to make the playoffs? If Gordon doesn’t re-sign in 2013, I doubt Griffin will re-up the following summer, but that’s just speculation.

The key is Donald Sterling. Widely regarded as one of the worst owners in sports, the Clippers’ bubble always seems to burst, and some have suggested that Sterling’s stink is the reason.

In Griffin they have a bubble. A very, very big bubble. Is it going to burst?

Did Donald Sterling really bring women into the Clippers’ showers?

Former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor is suing the franchise for wrongful termination, and with owner Donald Sterling’s reputation, is anyone really surprised?

Anyway, in documents obtained by ESPN’s TrueHoop, there was this startling paragraph:

“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,” Baylor said in the declaration. “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.”


Clippers owner heard taunting Baron Davis from sideline

Mar 1, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling (left) and Dave Winfield (center) watch during the game against the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center.

Clippers owner Donald Sterling is frustrated with the way his team is playing and is taking out most of his frustration on free agent disappointment Baron Davis:

Sterling has expressed his displeasure about Davis’ play by taunting him from his courtside seat at Clippers’ home games, several sources told Yahoo! Sports. Among Sterling’s verbal barbs:

– “Why are you in the game?”

– “Why did you take that shot?”

– “You’re out of shape!”

For his part, Davis didn’t go into specifics when asked about the situation:

“There’s nothing I can say,” Davis said of Sterling’s taunts. “I have no comment on that. You just get to this point where it’s a fight every day. It’s a fight. You’re fighting unnecessary battles. I’m fighting unnecessary battles.

Sterling is widely regarded as the worst owner in sports and the Clippers would be far better off if he just sold the team and focused on his real estate business.

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