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Donald Sterling Had No Idea About Elgin Baylor’s Playing Career

We’ve been all over Donald Sterling watch here at LBS, so we weren’t about to let another fantastic story slip through the cracks. The lawsuit former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor has brought against the team alleging age discrimination is now being heard. On Tuesday, Sterling testified in court and gave some responses that should come as no shock to anyone who’s followed his story closely.

Asked about hiring Baylor initially, Sterling said he had no idea about the Hall of Famer’s legendary playing career and accomplishments. The LA Times’ Lance Pugmire described the exchange between Sterling and Baylor’s attorney:

“You didn’t know about his basketball career?” Baylor attorney Carl Douglas asked Sterling in his first day on the stand as Baylor’s wrongful termination civil lawsuit against the team continued at a Los Angeles courthouse. “His accomplishments? The Hall of Fame?”

“No,” Sterling answered. “… I didn’t know that. I hired him for $3,000 a month. I didn’t really know what his role was…. He was working in a mail-order company back then.”

Ordinarily I’d say there’s some legal strategy behind this denial from Sterling, but I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he’s telling the truth. He was on the stand when he said it, and as a businessman, it’s quite possible he wasn’t a sports fan. We’ve already talked about what a flake he is and how strange he is, so this shouldn’t even come as a shock.

The one area I will defend Sterling for is his patience with Baylor. Few GMs had a worse record than Elgin, yet he kept his job for 22 years. I find it hard to believe there was any discrimination going on — any other GM aside from Isiah Thomas would never have lasted 10 years with such poor performance. Baylor was lucky to be employed as a GM as long as he was, and if anyone should be examined it should be Sterling for leaving him in there so long.

(also via Matt Moore at CBS)

Elgin Baylor Drops Racial Discrimination Claim Against Donald Sterling

The lawsuit Elgin Baylor filed against the Los Angeles Clippers and owner Donald Sterling appears to be weakening. Sterling has been accused of racism multiple times in his tenure as Clippers owner.  Earlier this week, we questioned whether or not his Black History month ad — which was run in March instead of during Black History Month — was anything more than a PR stunt.  Baylor’s claim that Sterling had a “plantation mentality” in dealing with him as an employee is just one tidbit in an abundance of information that has turned people into skeptics.

On Friday, Baylor dropped the racial discrimination claim in his lawsuit against the Clippers.  The teams executive vice president and general manager from 1986-2008, Baylor filed a wrongful termination suit in February 2009 alleging wrongful termination due to his age and race.  According to Baylor’s attorney, Carl Douglas, the race claim was “going to survive” but Baylor chose to voluntarily dismiss it.  Like many of the racism accusations against Sterling, an ongoing game of “he said, she said” probably wasn’t going to cut it in the court room.

When you consider that Baylor worked for the Clippers for 22 years — four of which saw the team qualify for the postseason — it should come as no surprise that he voluntarily dropped the racial discrimination claim.  Proving age discrimination will also be a challenge considering he worked for the team into his 70s.

This is not the first racial discrimination suit against Sterling that has been settled, so a pattern has obviously developed over the years.  At this point, one has to either believe that Sterling is not a racist, or he’s just extremely effective in covering his tracks.

Renardo Sidney Returns to Mississippi State After Fight, Elgin Bailey Transfers

About 10 days ago, controversial player Renardo Sidney got into an embarrassing fight with teammate Elgin Bailey during the team’s trip to Hawaii. Both players were suspended indefinitely after the brawl but coach Rick Stansbury has finally reinstated Sidney. Bailey has informed the coach of his desire to transfer, so he will be leaving the program.

The Bulldogs played two games after both players were suspended and lost both of them — an 11-point loss to Hawaii, and a 22-point loss to St. Mary’s. What’s surprising is that Bailey is transferring from the program. He’s been playing at Mississippi State for four seasons and was in the middle of his junior year, so it’s late in his career to be leaving for another program. Either he was disappointed with the amount of playing time he was seeing (nearly 20mpg), or the fight left him uncomfortable in the program.

Mississippi State already took a big chance by recruiting Renardo Sidney and making him a part of the team. It shouldn’t be surprising that they’re standing by him despite the fight, and that could be part of the reason Bailey is leaving. As for Stansbury, with his team at 8-6 and looking quite average, it’s no surprise he wants his most talented player back.

Clipper Fans Counter Sue Elgin Baylor for Drafting Michael Olowokandi

Sorry, I would have added more but then the title would have been longer than the actual post. The real list would have also included taking the likes of Shaun Livingston, Darius Miles, Danny Ferry, Danny Manning, and Reggie Williams with top five picks in the NBA draft over the years. Come to think of it, most people’s lists would have ended at Ferry, because after screwing up that many drafts in a row, they would no longer have been employed. The Clippers have always been a joke of a franchise, known primarily for being the second team in LA that nobody cared about because they had one of the cheapest owners in all of sports. It’s common knowledge that Donald Sterling never thought twice about winning otherwise he would have bought more free agents and actually fired a GM that proved to be as bad as Elgin Baylor was a long time ago.

16 teams make the playoffs each season. That’s like half the league, more than half, actually. Elgin’s teams made it three times in 22 years. They had one winning season in Elgin’s last 16 years and only two under his watch. Baylor’s effing lucky he had a job for 22 years and even luckier if anyone around the office listened to his decision. Screw it, he should have been paying them to rent an office at Staples Center — getting paid six figures was highway robbery. Sure, I’ll listen to arguments that Sterling may have some racial tendencies, but to say he was anything other than generous to Elgin for employing him for 22 years and paying him several hundred thousand dollars a season would be maddening. For Baylor to be suing Sterling under charges of racial and age discrimination is even more maddening. And if things were so bad around the environment and Sterling were a racist, then why would Baylor stick around for so long? Why would he continue to be employed by Sterling for 22 years? That doesn’t sit well with me. As they said at Fark, Baylor better be praying he can find 12 jurors that can’t compute winning percentages otherwise he’s toast. What a joke.