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The National Basketball Association has banned Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, for life. Sterling was done in by racist remarks. If three-fourths of the league's team owners agree, Sterling will be forced to sell the team.

From a financial perspective, don't cry for Sterling. This morning, in the 919 Gang report, a newsletter for former and current U-T editorial staffers, sportswriter Barry Bloom spelled out the monetary history of the Clippers. Bloom worked for the San Diego Tribune, and followed the Clippers, when the team was in San Diego. Here's Bloom's report:

"The Clippers were the original Buffalo Braves. In a weird swap and sale that would never happen today in the NBA, owner John Y. Brown of the Braves swapped the club for the Boston Celtics, owned by Irv Levin, a Los Angeles native. Levin moved the Braves to San Diego and renamed them the Clippers. The league, in its wisdom, decided to shuffle the players of both teams in the swap and in very Clipperesque fashion, San Diego got the raw end of the deal. It got even worse when the Clippers signed an injured Bill Walton as a free agent. Under the rules at the time, Commissioner Larry O'Brien gutted the Clippers, sending two of their best players to Portland in compensation. Walton, with a broken tarsal navicular bone in his foot, couldn't play anyway.

Levin went bankrupt, and that's when Donald Sterling came in, buying them for little cash while assuming their debt for pennies on the dollar."

Sportswriters are saying that Sterling paid $12.5 million for the team, but knowledgeable sources say it wasn't that much, considering how he picked up the team out of bankruptcy and plunked down little. What could he sell it for? Probably more than $700 million, the price that the Milwaukee team recently changed hands for.

I called Tom Cushman, former sports editor and columnist for the Tribune and Union-Tribune. Cushman, just hired by the Tribune, was driving to San Diego around the time Sterling, the new owner, was boasting what he would do with the team. Cushman stopped to see his longtime friend, Bob Knight, coach of Indiana University. Sterling was telling friends that he would hire Knight to coach the Clippers. But Knight told Cushman he had never spoken with Sterling. In any case, Knight didn't like the pro game and everybody who knew him knew he would never coach a pro team. So among the first columns Cushman wrote for the Tribune was one pointing out Sterling's lack of integrity. In his long career as a sportswriter and editor, "I didn't deal with any one person that I thought less of than Sterling," sums up Cushman.

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Don Bauder April 30, 2014 @ 10:12 p.m.

CUSHMAN REMEMBERS MORE FROM HIS CONVERSATION WITH BOBBY KNIGHT. Former U-T sports editor and columnist Tom Cushman contacted me this evening (Wednesday, April 30) with more details of his conversation with Bob Knight, legendary coach and a good friend of Cushman. Knight had been told that Sterling was telling people that Knight had called him, probably fishing for a job as coach of the Clippers.

Knight told Cushman in the latter's 1982 visit, "Not only did I not call Donald Sterling, I had no idea who he was, what he did, and wouldn't have cared if I'd known. If I was interested in coaching in the NBA, it sure as hell wouldn't be for someone I'd never heard of." So Cushman started his Tribune career writing negative things about the Clippers' owner, whom he contemptuously called "The Big Clipper."

Everybody knew Knight had no use for NBA basketball. Cushman tells the story of Knight driving to Indianapolis for a Pacers game. Quinn Buckner, the captain of Knight's undefeated, 1976 NCAA championship team, was playing for the Pacers. At halftime, Buckner spotted his old coach and said, "I can't believe you're still here."

Snapped Knight, "When you come back, I won't be." Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh May 1, 2014 @ 6:58 a.m.

Who could possibly feel sorry for Sterling? He's amassed a fortune and "enjoys" it, if you can call it that, by having a girlfriend/mistress (choose one) who stabs him in the back.

This brings that Bill Walton episode back. With another player who was a local product the strategy might have worked. Of course, there was no other basketball player from a local family who had ever bloomed into a superstar in college. His mentor was John Wooden. But in the few pro years that Billy played, his behavior grew progressively more erratic. I surmised at the time that his problem wasn't with his foot as much as it was something amiss between his ears. Regardless, that move by Sterling went bust for sure.

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 9:44 a.m.

Visduh: I wouldn't know anything about Walton's alleged erratic behavior. Certainly, he seems quite normal -- and is doing very well -- following his basketball career. You are quite right, as is Barry Bloom: the Walton deal was a disaster for the Clippers. But I don't think that was Walton's fault. As a result of that deal, the Clippers had to send two top players to Portland. And before that, the NBA had screwed the Clippers in player swaps related to the Boston Celtics deal, as described by Bloom.

So the Clippers started out in a helluva hole. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 1, 2014 @ 11:47 a.m.

Except Sterling didn't make that move. Walton was signed as a free agent in 1979, and Sterling's reign of "error" didn't begin until 1981.

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 12:16 p.m.

aardvark: I will check my source, Barry Bloom, on that. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 1, 2014 @ 1:34 p.m.

Don: I used the site Basketball Reference as my source for Walton signing with the Clippers as a free agent on May 13, 1979. Sterling didn't buy the club until 1981.

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 6:44 p.m.

aardvark: That does sound like an authoritative source. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel May 1, 2014 @ 2:33 p.m.

You really do need to check your sources. Walton did indeed sign as a free agent before the 1979 season, which, as aardvark correctly pointed out, was before Sterling bought the Clippers. Also, it wasn't 2 players that the Clippers had to give to Portland. It was 3: Kermit Washington, Randy Smith and Kevin Kunnert. They also had to throw in a draft pick and cash. Walton was quoted a couple of years ago saying that his time in San Diego was “The biggest failure of my professional life,”, further saying "If I had been able to play, the Clippers would have been a vibrant team, a dynamic team, would have had a new arena in my hometown, San Diego.”

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 6:46 p.m.

danfogel: I will pass this to Barry Bloom and see what he says. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 9:07 p.m.

danfogel: See my response to aardvark. Barry Bloom never said that Sterling signed Walton. Re-read what he wrote. It was clear Walton was signed on Levin's watch. Levin went bankrupt and Sterling bought the team cheap.

As for the number of players sent to Portland, you may be right, says Bloom. It could have been three and not two. Best, Don Bauder

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danfogel May 2, 2014 @ 11:24 a.m.

Don Bauder, I don't recall that you included the name of your source in your original comments. In any case, you didn't include quotations in your remarks re the Walton/Clippers deal, so I attributed them to you. I have looked to find comments posted by Barry Bloom, but can't seem to find any, so I can't re-read what he wrote. Also your remark about the Celtics deal is at least incomplete and not really accurate. Levin owned the Celtics and JY Brown owned the Buffalo Braves. The essentially swapped teams. Levin was from California and wanted a team on the coast, but knew the NBA would never allow him to move the Celtics. The NBA let him move the Braves/Clippers after the 1978 season. Part of the deal from the beginning was that the teams swap rosters and since the Celtics had compiled a better record than the Braves in the 1978 season, I find it hard to say that the team that became the Clippers got screwed. The 2 owners did make a trade, separate from the roster swap. Kunnert and Washington came to San Diego along with Sidney Wicks and the draft rights to Freeman Williams. And the "new" Celtics got Nate Archibald, Marvin Barnes and Billy Knight in return. But that was a trade between teams, not a roster swap mandated by the NBA. So no screwing of the Clippers by the NBA. Funny thing about this swap. Donald Sterling had aid many times in the early days of his ownership that he wanted to model his team after the Celtics, when the reality was that his team actually WAS the Celtics.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 8:55 a.m.

danfogel: I disagree with you. If you read my original post, above, second paragraph, you see that Barry Bloom is cited as the source of the material on how Sterling got the Clippers. Bloom is a distinguished sports journalist.

Bloom says the Clippers got screwed on the player swap; you say they didn't. That is a difference of opinion, completely subjective, and you are both welcome to your views. The Clippers did not perform very well after the trade. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 9:03 p.m.

aardvark: I checked with Barry Bloom. He says that he never said Sterling signed Walton. I re-read what he wrote and Bloom is absolutely right. He wrote that Walton was signed on Levin's watch, and after Levin went bankrupt, Sterling picked up the team. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 2, 2014 @ 9:01 a.m.

Don: That original reply of mine was directed at Visduh. Just a misdirected response, I guess.

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shirleyberan May 1, 2014 @ 11:43 a.m.

You mean sparkling Sterling is sole owner and the NBA Commisioner has cured racism? Good for everybody then. How many millions does it take to pay a few archivists?

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 12:19 p.m.

shirleyberan: There is talk today that Sterling may challenge the NBA's decision in court. He could challenge the lifetime bank, the $2.5 million fine, and the vote of owners to force him to sell if that vote goes through. But this is talk right now. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 1, 2014 @ 1:38 p.m.

Don: I hope he does. I am all for the league forcing him to sell, even if it is on allegedly shaky legal ground. But the bad part about that, and a good part for Scumbag Sterling, is that the price of the franchise will probably do nothing but rise as this drags on, which will give the Scumbag even more money for the sale.

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 6:52 p.m.

aardvark: At his age, Sterling might prefer to take the money now. On the other hand, he already has so much that he can't spend it in his lifetime anyway.

Realistically, though, billionaires get their thrills pursuing and multiplying their money -- not spending it or giving it away, even though they claim to take pride in being philanthropists. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill May 1, 2014 @ 3:53 p.m.

Sterling was originally a lawyer and apparently he does not shy away from litigation. Heck, he probably would have got away with having his racist beliefs if him and his wife hadn't decided to sue V (whatever her name is) several years ago.

I would guess that Sterling will probably fight every single part of the penalties in court. This may be in court for years.

But I think the important thing is the message and the overall effect. Silver wanted to make clear the NBA wasn't going to allow someone who was clearly a racist to be an owner.

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 6:55 p.m.

ImJustABill: Sorry to be cynical, but Silver had no choice. He had to make the moves he did because players were threatening to boycott the rest of the playoffs. Follow the money. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill May 2, 2014 @ 12:47 p.m.

Even if Silver did the right thing for the wrong reasons he still did the right thing. And he handled it cleanly and quickly.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 8:58 a.m.

ImJustABill: Agreed. Silver did the right thing -- but the players should get the credit for backing him and the NBA owners into a corner. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard May 1, 2014 @ 3:32 p.m.

Donald Sterling revealed the shocking truth, that professional sports are run like a slave plantation, by those with no appreciation for those who made their wealth. Only a corrupt legal system, combined with the fig leaf of union contract, grants the owners any rights. The NBA would be very wise to pay Donald Sterling lots of money to create a team run by Black celebrities as proposed, Donald Sterling would be wise to take the money and run. I expect a filth throwing contest between morons.

While they fight, lets hope the players win new rights. Clippers players can't be forced to work for Donald Sterling now, this fact caused the swift action.

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Don Bauder May 1, 2014 @ 7 p.m.

Psycholizard: Congress has given pro sports leagues lots of unjustifiable breaks through the years. With the money the athletes make, though, I don't think you can call them slaves, unless you argue that the owners are billionaires and the athletes are only millionaires.

Possibly Sterling would be wise to take the money and run. But how many pro sports owners are wise? Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 2, 2014 @ 9:04 a.m.

Don: It appears now that Sterling will take this fight to his death bed, as Fox Sports is reporting this morning (although this may have been known for some time, even though it's the first time I have heard of it) that Sterling has been diagnosed with prostate cancer.

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Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ 10:40 a.m.

aardvark: I have never heard the story that Sterling has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark May 2, 2014 @ 12:29 p.m.

Don: Neither had I, until this morning. I have seen the story on both Fox Sports and ESPN today.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 9 a.m.

aardvark: It's possibly true. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh May 4, 2014 @ 4:31 p.m.

True or not, it's not a death sentence every time. After nearly twenty years, I'm living, breathing proof of that.

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Don Bauder May 4, 2014 @ 4:42 p.m.

Visduh: Good for you -- and others who survive prostate cancer. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 1, 2014 @ 8:29 p.m.

Don - He's suing them back. Tough guy for an 80 year old.

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Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ noon

shirleyberan: Not tough. Litigious. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard May 1, 2014 @ 11:24 p.m.

Owners buy, sell, and trade contracts with players in blatant restraint of trade and collusion. Medieval serfdom, or Hollywood contracts might be more precise metaphors, but slavery is far too close. The legal position of the NBA is fragile, Donald Sterling undermines billions of paper value. Remember that the NBA doesn't own arenas, the value of franchises is licences and contracts.

If Donald Sterling decides to fight, players can with justice boycott his team, and the legal mess would threaten the League's entire structure. That's why the League acted so quickly. If there is to be a lawsuit, they need it to be NBA and Players against Sterling. Trouble is, Sterling isn't the only bigot amongst the NBA owners, and he drinks with them.

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ImJustABill May 2, 2014 @ 6:51 a.m.

I think the serfdom analogy is more appropriate with the semi-professional sports league known as the NCAA. The NCAA brings in billions of dollars and rewards coaches and member institutions handsomely, but there are a lot of arbitrary rules and restrictions against any player sharing in even a tiny bit of the massive income of the NCAA.

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Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ 12:05 p.m.

ImJustABill: Agreed. The serfdom analogy applies much more to the NCAA than the pro leagues. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ 12:04 p.m.

Psycholizard: Yes, it is no sure thing that the NBA will get three-fourths of the owners to agree to ban Sterling. However, Silver will explain to them that it all comes down to money -- the thing that is nearest and dearest to all the owners' hearts. If the players boycott, the owners lose. So in the end I think Sterling will lose. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill May 2, 2014 @ 7:03 a.m.

I think we should also note how Sterling played the game of making a few relatively small donations in exchange for valuable P.R. The NAACP was about to give Sterling a lifetime achievement award, apparently in exchange for donations totally less than $100K - a paltry sum to someone like Sterling.

In San Diego John Moores played a similar game - making some well placed donations for tens millions of dollars. This bought a lot of P.R. which made it much easier for him to receive corporate welfare on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars.

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Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ 12:12 p.m.

ImJustABill: Oh yes. Moores played the donation game. He also played the political power game. He recruited Jimmy Carter to help. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld sat in Moores's box at a Padres home game. Immediately, those who had good civil suits against Moores know it was all over. Moores had the clout. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ 12:27 p.m.

Stephen Merrill: I agree with your basis thesis, but I still can't envision athletes who make $5 million a year as slaves. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ 12:29 p.m.

Stephen Merrill: Filth throwing contest -- well put. But the players hold the high cards. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard May 2, 2014 @ 1:34 p.m.

Owners and players have a great business together, and thanks to a collective bargaining agreement, players gave consent to the buying and selling of contracts, and therefore agree to work for jerks they hate. But there must be limits. Donald Sterling would be the perfect test case for the players if he fights.

1

Don Bauder May 2, 2014 @ 8:34 p.m.

Pscholizard: Players, as well as owners, are beneficiaries of corporate welfare in stadium, ballpark, and arena subsidy deals. I can't muster as much sympathy for multi-millionaire players as you can. I do feel sorry for pro football players who retire and are crippled, often mentally, for the rest of their lives, and get little help from greedy owners. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi May 2, 2014 @ 10:16 p.m.

Thrown under the bus by a whore. I don’t know how the conversation was recorded, whether Sterling knew his private conversation was being recorded or not. But it is against Federal law to wiretap and record telecommunications without the express consent and notice to both parties. The whore who changed her name to V. Stiviano is just another in a parade of gold digging whores that seduce wealthy older men and then use them for their money and even resort to blackmail to enlarge their take.

Granted, Sterling rings of a racist, but his private conversations are supposed to be protected under FCC rules. It just goes to show that old men with money need to take precautions when they take on lovers and discern whether they are getting involved with a fun loving gold digger or a complete out-and-out whore like V. Stiviano.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 9:05 a.m.

Ponzi: Again, we don't know that Stiviano is a whore. She doesn't deserve the moniker from what we know now. She does have a reputation as a gold-digger -- especially targeting older men, preferably billionaires. I am still fascinated to know how that tape got in the hands of TMZ and Deadspin. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard May 2, 2014 @ 11:09 p.m.

Don't disrespect whores. They offer a service, they don't manipulate men the way wives and girlfriends do. And it was Donald Sterling and wife that sued to get their money and jewelry back. It was Donald Sterling that perjured himself to beat Elgin Baylor's lawsuit not long ago. Whores delight men for money, for this they are vilified. Donald Sterling bathes the World in filth for money, then whines to a judge to get back the pocket change, candy and toys he gave to a child. Can anyone blame her for tossing his own filth back in his face?

I defend the weaker against the stronger, for this reason I take the side of kids who entertain with a basketball for millions against those who conspire in restraint of trade for billions.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 9:16 a.m.

Psycholizard: Again, I don't think we can call Stiviano a whore. But your point is well taken. Prostitutes provide sex for money. Then the deal is consummated. Gold-diggers keep digging until the target pockets are empty.

Men -- particularly old men -- are such fools. I am both a man and an old one, so I am qualified to say that. However, I have not consorted with prostitutes or gold-diggers in 52 years of marriage. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 3, 2014 @ 12:20 p.m.

Keep telling yourself they enjoy the "work". Psycho, you wouldn't recommend it to your daughters or your mother, you'd protect them from it and the men who treat every girl/woman the same, like they were a cheap piece to use and throw out. When there is equal opportunity in real jobs, men can __ck themselves for free and decrease the surplus exploitation. "they don't manipulate men" like wives and girlfriend do. Wow man.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 6:42 p.m.

shirleyberan: Psycholizard never said prostitutes enjoy the work. Everybody knows they are miserable. It's a horrid, often drug-sated existence. I think Psycholizard is saying that manipulative wives and girlfriends can get a Machiavellian thrill from leading a horny, lame-brained old man around by the nose, picking the old goat's pocket in the process. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 3, 2014 @ 12:43 p.m.

I watched Barbara Walters last night on 20/20 with VStiviano. She said she is Donald's "right hand" "personal assistant", and she is with him to keep safe, making sure what he does is the right move. She spoke soft and slowly, trying to choose words but really couldn't. Don Bauder can spot a liar in a second. For some of us it takes longer.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 6:45 p.m.

shirleyberan: Since I didn't see the interview, there is no way I can comment on it. I cannot call her a liar. There is abundant evidence that Sterling IS a liar. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard May 3, 2014 @ 2:59 p.m.

I defend prostitutes as real people, I don't defend their work, recommend or patronize them. But they don't deserve to be compared to Donald Sterling and his enablers, proud bigots spreading hate, real villains. If the woman involved was a whore, selling her body, I might respect her as a victim, but she furthered his wicked schemes, lying and cheating, just like him. She knew who he was, and was on his team. These are evil people.

NBA players as a group, are not evil people, and they have a right to leave his team. The NBA has a right to refuse to associate with Donald Sterling. They must.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 6:49 p.m.

Psycholizard: I can't say that Stiviano furthered Sterling's wicked schemes, lying and cheating as he does. Maybe some evidence will come out to affirm that judgment. In fact, that evidence may have come out and I missed it. The episode smacks of insufferable sleaze, but at least I don't have all the facts yet. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 3, 2014 @ 3 p.m.

Don - I know you don't have time for TV but there's a reality show called "Basketball Wives LA" on VH1 I found when I was channel surfing. Lots of dramatic pretty ladies. I guess that's fun to watch, maybe they're Clipper-wives. They don't seem very happy. I'm not watching either.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 6:51 p.m.

shirleyberan: I have never seen a reality show, but I have seen ads for them. I think they are phony as a three-dollar bill. It's clearly all acting, and not very good acting at that. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 3, 2014 @ 4:07 p.m.

She also claimed to be a journalist. Archivist spin. Nobody knows how to Behave. I guess you're right - too much has been said.

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Don Bauder May 3, 2014 @ 6:52 p.m.

shirleyberan: If she is a journalist, I would like to see her credits and her writing -- and be assured it is HER writing. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 3, 2014 @ 8:13 p.m.

They need to move the flagger. Stephen psycholizard I'm sorry I misinterpreted. Don - she has been trying to make herself appear smart, but she's an odd one. Delusional I'd say, they both might be. Some acting in reality show but the set ups are and reactions are sometimes worth it. Bravo channel has a lot of them. Orange County, Beverly Hills, New York, New Jersey, Miami ...

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Don Bauder May 4, 2014 @ 7:15 a.m.

shirleyberan: There is a difference between being smart and being foxy. Best, Don Bauder

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silverlover May 3, 2014 @ 8:58 p.m.

NBA legend commented that whoever taped Donald Sterling's comments should be "sent to prison". TMZ should reveal the name of the person that sold them the tape and how much they person was paid.Donald Sterling is a racist and has been well known for many years and no one said or did anything about it until this woman who was getting so much money out of him decided to tape his private comments to her; this is against the law in California. 1.8 plus million in "gifts" she extracted from him and it was not enough?

1

Don Bauder May 4, 2014 @ 7:18 a.m.

silverlover: TMZ and Deadspin are protected under the law. They do not have to reveal who gave them the tapes. I suppose they might, in certain circumstances. The law was once black and white. Now it is gray. Best, Donn Bauder

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Don Bauder May 4, 2014 @ 7:36 a.m.

Burwell: I watched it. I kept thinking of questions that Baba Wawa should have asked. The interview never got into the lawsuit. Wawa never pressed her when she said she played the tape for so-called friends who may have leaked it to TMZ. Hmmm. She never asked how much TMZ paid for the footage. Much more needs to be gathered. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 4, 2014 @ 11:43 a.m.

Apparently 60 years of marriage is worth something.

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Don Bauder May 4, 2014 @ 10:13 p.m.

shirleyberan: After 60 years of marriage to Sterling, Rochelle may feel some resentment toward Stiviano. Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 4, 2014 @ 2:41 p.m.

So maybe she can help work things out with the commish and Doc Rivers.

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Don Bauder May 4, 2014 @ 10:14 p.m.

shirleyberan: Who can help work things out? Rochelle or Stiviano? Best, Don Bauder

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shirleyberan May 4, 2014 @ 4:48 p.m.

Mr. and Mrs. Sterling, like a pair of blue-footed boobies.

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Don Bauder May 4, 2014 @ 10:15 p.m.

shirleyberan: Ah, Galapagos. Best, Don Bauder

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valueinvestingisdead May 9, 2014 @ 9:07 p.m.

Ron Artest beats up fans and gets one year? Sterling makes private comments and gets lifetime ban?

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