Donald Sterling tried to block JJ Redick from Clippers because he didn’t like white players
Donald Sterling was an absolute disgrace of an NBA owner, and we are getting another testament to that this week.
Speaking on Monday with TNT’s Ernie Johnson, LA Clippers head coach Doc Rivers revealed that Sterling attempted to nix the team’s acquisition of JJ Redick in 2013 because he did not like white players.
“JJ changed his mind, I think he was going to sign with Minnesota,” Rivers recalled. “I literally talked JJ out of it. ‘Come play with me, come play with the Clippers, with Chris Paul and DJ [DeAndre Jordan] and Blake [Griffin]. You’d be a great fit. The trade’s done, or the free agent signing is done, JJ agrees, I jump on a plane, I fly back to Orlando, and I get a call from [then-Clippers president] Andy Roeser. [He] says, ‘Hey the deal’s off.’ I say, ‘What do you mean the deal’s off?’ ‘Donald doesn’t like white players.’ And I said, ‘Excuse me?’ ‘Donald Sterling said no.’ I said, ‘Well we’ve already agreed!’
“So I land, I’m in the garage of the Orlando airport,” Rivers added. “I get a call from Coach K [Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski], who’s upset because of JJ. I get a call from JJ’s agent, I think it was Arn Tellem, who’s screaming at me.”
Rivers then described how he went on to call up Sterling himself and had a heated conversation with him, saying that he would not let Sterling ruin his reputation. The phone call ended with Rivers saying that he was quitting his job with the Clippers and hanging up. Only at that point did Sterling finally relent and allow the Redick deal to go through.
Rivers, only a few weeks into his Clippers tenure at the time, ultimately stayed with the team and remains their coach to this day. Meanwhile, the acquisition of Redick, who became a pivotal part of their offense with his floor-spacing and shotmaking ability, was ultimately massive for the Clippers.
As for Sterling, he was, of course, banned from the NBA for life in 2014 after being caught on tape making ugly, racist remarks to his former mistress. That opened the door for current owner Steve Ballmer to buy the Clippers. Granted, Sterling was a well-known racist even before then, and his presence actually deterred some huge-name talent from signing with the team.
H/T NBA Reddit