Johnson specifically addressed Sterling's criticism of his humanitarian efforts, offering, "My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he’s talking. But he's a man who's upset and he's reaching. He's reaching."
He's trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it's not going to happen. It's not going to happen. The board of governors now have to do their job. Adam Silver, our commissioner of the NBA, did a wonderful job of banning him for life. Now the board of governors have got to do their job.
Johnson also said he would pray for Sterling:
And again, I'm going to pray for the man because even if I see him today, I'm going to say hello to Donald and his wife as well. I'm not a guy who holds grudges and all that. Yes, am I upset? Of course. But at the same time, I'm a God-fearing man and I'm going to pray for him and hope things work out for him.
Though he did wish him well, Johnson maintained that Sterling's views are archaic, via Mike James of the Los Angeles Times:
Magic Johnson on #Donaldsterling: "He's living in the Stone Ages." On Anderson Cooper 360.— mike james (@LATimesjames) May 14, 2014
Johnson also joked about the notion of him taking over the Clippers franchise, via Yahoo Sports:
Magic Johnson: "If I'm going to try and steal someone's franchise, it's going to be the Lakers. It won't be the L.A. Clippers." #AC360— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) May 14, 2014
On Monday, Cooper sat down with the 80-year-old Sterling for an exclusive interview regarding the racist remarks he made, and the disgraced owner had this to say about Johnson, via CNN.com's Catherine E. Shoichet and Steve Almasy:
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. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything.
New league commissioner Adam Silver, who has banned Sterling for life and given him the maximum NBA Constitution fine of $2.5 million, issued an apology to Johnson for Sterling's CNN interview, per the NBA on ESPN:
Commissioner Adam Silver releases a statement in response to Donald Sterling's CNN interview: pic.twitter.com/Fj6n01zrJd— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 13, 2014
Cooper himself has taken to Johnson's defense:
Fact: @MagicJohnson has raised tremendous amounts of money for HIV/aids awareness, education, under served communities.— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) May 13, 2014
It stands to reason that his discussion with Cooper will be the last time Johnson will discuss Sterling for quite some time, based on these recent tweets:
I'd rather be talking about these great NBA Playoffs than Donald Sterling's interview.— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) May 13, 2014
The private-life potshot Sterling leveled at Johnson has nothing to do with his own unbecoming conduct that painted him as a behind-the-scenes bigot.
His most recent comments project insecurity and don't help Sterling's cause to retain his team. Widespread, well-founded vitriol has followed Sterling in the aftermath of his racist utterances. Rather than firing back at Sterling, which was well within his right, Johnson took the high road, instead opting to suggest he needs help.
Whatever happens moving forward, Sterling should keep out of the public eye as much as possible, because nothing he said to Cooper has helped him. Juxtaposed with Johnson's hope that Sterling can change his staunch ways, public sentiment has to be even more against Sterling than his ill-fated initial attempt at positive PR.