Shelly Sterling: NBA is sexist

37 Comments

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Following Donald Sterling’s CNN interview, Shelly Sterling appeared on the Today show with Savannah Guthrie Tuesday. It did not go as poorly as her husband’s interview, but it was certainly not endearing. Let’s go point by point using key excerpts from Scott Stump’s transcription from Today.com:

“I’m very angry. And I’m very hurt. And I even cried listening to that, because I just feel bad,” she told Guthrie in a sit-down that aired Tuesday on TODAY. “And then I feel bad. Why am I the victim when he’s the perpetrator? If somebody killed somebody, does the wife have to stand trial too?”

False equivalency. In the United States, no, collective punishment is not allowed in criminal court.

But Shelly is not standing trial!

The NBA is in the process of removing the owner of one of its teams, and if the league’s interpretation of its rules is correct, it can remove all owners of that team. This is not a court of law. This is a private business exercising its right to operate.

Shelly goes on to discuss Donald’s comments on Magic Johnson (which Adam Silver apologized for on behalf of the NBA).

“I never understood what he was talking about,” Shelly told Guthrie after watching the interview. “And why would he bring Magic Johnson into the issue about what’s happening now? I mean, that’s why I felt pity because he couldn’t get all the dots together. He couldn’t connect the dots.”

“He’s not the man I know, or I knew,” she said. “There’s something wrong. I really think, personally, he has dementia.

“I don’t think it happened overnight. I think it’s been happening, but nobody really knew the reason. I mean, he gets crazy, and yells, and screams, and hollers one moment. The next moment he’ll…talk about something else. I mean it’s like nothing makes sense.”

Guthrie noted that while dementia may make people delusional or nonsensical, it doesn’t necessarily make them say racist things.

“I don’t make excuses for anybody,” she said, admitting that she doesn’t know much about dementia.

Anderson Cooper, who interviewed Donald, said he saw no signs of dementia during their interview. Cooper said Sterling repeatedly referred to previous questions when there were more points he wanted to make before jumping back to the current question. To be fair, Cooper is not trained to diagnose dementia and an hour-or-so-long sample is not necessarily representative.

And Shelly’s answer at least explains how she can both condemn her husband’s statements on the recording and scream he’s not racist.

My question for Shelly, though: When did she first believe Donald had dementia?

Was it before or after he was sued in 2003 for allegedly saying “That’s because of all the blacks in this building, they smell, they’re not clean. And it’s because of all of the Mexicans that just sit around and smoke and drink all day”?

Was it before or after he was sued in 1996 for allegedly ordering one of his employees to find him “someone who will, you know, let me put it in or who [will] suck on it”?

Was it before or after he allegedly said, “I wanna know why you think you can coach these niggers” to Rollie Massimino in 1983?

Sterling believes the NBA’s attempts to push her out amount to sexism.

“I really think so,” she said. “Would an owner’s wife say the same thing, and would the owner be asked to leave the NBA? Or would they just say, ‘Well, she’s only the wife.”’

If an owner’s wife said the same things, of course an owner would not be asked to leave the NBA. But if a woman had controlling interest in a team and her husband said the same things, she would not be asked to leave the NBA.

Is there some institutional sexism occurring because a disproportionate number of NBA owners are men? Perhaps, and that’s worth exploring.

This case gets clouded, though, due the perception Shelly and Donald are working together.

Still, Sterling agrees with the NBA’s decision to force her husband to sell the team.

“I think I agree with what…their decision is,” she said. “I don’t agree what their decision is for me. I wholly feel that I’ve done nothing wrong.”

Well, there are the times you allegedly posed as a health inspector to investigate the race of your husband’s tenants. There is also the time you allegedly called a tenant a “black m—f.”  And the time you allegedly called Latinos “filthy.”

Even the fans and team members, she said, have her back.

“Well, I went to the game about two days ago,” she said. “I was sitting up in the box. All the fans right below me were high-fiving me, saying, ‘Go girl. Don’t give up.’ I talked to some of the players. They hugged me.”

Shelly’s supporters included Doc Rivers, and then he learned more about her. If these high-fiving fans and hugging players – should they actually exist – learn more, they might change their tune, too.

Nike, Adidas, Under Armour pass on potential No. 1 pick Lonzo Ball

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
2 Comments

NBA teams reportedly aren’t dinging potential No. 1 pick Lonzo Ball over all the wild stuff his dad says and does.

Shoe companies are apparently taking a different approach.

Darren Rovell of ESPN:

An endorsement deal with Nike, Under Armour or Adidas is not in the cards for Lonzo Ball.

Ball’s father LaVar confirmed that the three shoe and apparel companies informed him that they were not interested in doing a deal with his son. Sources with the three companies told ESPN.com that they indeed were moving on.

In his meetings with the three, LaVar insisted that the company license his upstart Big Baller Brand from him. He also showed the companies a shoe prototype that he hoped would be Lonzo’s first shoe.

“We’ve said from the beginning, we aren’t looking for an endorsement deal,” LaVar told ESPN. “We’re looking for co-branding, a true partner. But they’re not ready for that because they’re not used to that model. But hey, the taxi industry wasn’t ready for Uber, either.”

“Just imagine how rich Tiger (Woods), Kobe (Bryant), Serena (Williams), (Michael) Jordan and LeBron (James) would have been if they dared to do their own thing,” LaVar said. “No one owned their own brand before they turned pro. We do and I have three sons so it’s that much more valuable.”

Is there more upside in this approach? Yeah, I guess.

But the traditional shoe companies bring valuable infrastructure and experience. There’s value in forfeiting upside for those resources. Lonzo Ball, who has yet to play in the NBA, is also missing out on guaranteed life-changing money.

On the risk-reward curve, this seems like a mistake.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers leaves door open for starting Paul Pierce in Game 6 against Jazz

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
Leave a comment

The Clippers have four sure-fire starters: Chris Paul, J.J. Redick, Luc Mbah a Moute and DeAndre Jordan.

The fifth spot is up for grabs with Blake Griffin‘s season-ending injury.

Marreese Speights started Games 4 and 5 against the Jazz. Paul Pierce started the second half of Game 5.

Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times:

When asked if Marreese Speights or Paul Pierce would start against the Jazz in the best-of-seven Western Conference first-round series in which the Clippers trail 3-2, Rivers said, “Yeah, one of them.”

“Paul was good,” Rivers said. “He’s been good throughout the series overall, I will say that. But he’s got to play better too, especially with his second effort, getting out to the shooters and stuff like that.”

There are no good options here.

Pierce, 39, has looked washed up most of his time in L.A. That the Clippers have outscored Utah by nine points in his 58 minutes seems like a product of small sample size.

Speights starting leaves the Clippers vulnerable at center when Jordan sits, and rather than staggering, maybe they ought to just start differently.

Rivers wants to ease the ball-handling burden on Paul, but one choice to do that – Raymond Felton – would be a defensive liability. Another possibility – Jamal Crawford – would present the same defensive issues and sabotage second-unit scoring.

Austin Rivers could bridge the gap, but he’s just returning from his own injury.

Doc Rivers clearly doesn’t trust Wesley Johnson, and the forward’s Game 5 gaffes won’t change that.

The Clippers’ central problem: They have only one player – Luc Mbah a Moute – who can guard Gordon Hayward and Joe Johnson. When those Jazz forwards share the court, especially in crunch time, the Clippers face one massive mismatch.

Is relying on Pierce a good option? No way. But it also might be the Clippers’ best option.

Did you know Myles Garrett, No. 1 pick in NFL draft, has brother who played in NBA?

Brandon Wade/AP Images for NFLPA
Leave a comment

The Cleveland Browns are trying something new: Making smart decisions. That included drafting Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett with the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft.

Garrett has NBA ties. His half brother, Sean Williams, was the No. 17 pick by the New Jersey Nets in 2007. Williams played just four years in the NBA, also spending time with the Mavericks and Celtics. He serves as a cautionary tale for Garrett.

Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated in a 2015 profile of Garrett:

Then there’s Sean Williams, Myles’s older brother by almost 10 years, a pro athlete who accompanied him on an official visit to College Station and served as a role model and mentor. More important, he offered a cautionary tale. “Myles looks up to Sean and loves Sean but knows the things Sean went through and how my mom hated watching her son self-destruct,” says Brea. “Myles never wanted to let my mom down. Honestly, the best thing Sean could have done for Myles was to f— up.”

Myles remembers approaching a Chevrolet Avalanche with smoke pluming from its windows. He was around 12, and as he pleaded with the man inside to stop smoking weed, tears streaked his face. Sean, then a 6’10”, 235-pound shot-blocking power forward for the Nets, had heard his little brother make this request many times before but never heeded him. “Definitely not,” Williams, 28, says when asked if he maximized his potential. “I let bad decisions get in the way, [let] smoking so much get in the way.”

As he got older, Myles played a lot of basketball with Sean, and despite the gaps in age and size, they went at it hard. Along with the stellar genes, Audrey gave her children an edge: “There was no allowing the kids to win in our house, be it Uno or tic-tac-toe. They could have been bums, but they would have been competitive bums.”

Myles idolized Sean. After the Nets picked Sean, Myles spent vacations in New Jersey with him, celebrating when he finally won in video games and when he first dunked on his big brother by grabbing onto him with one arm and tomahawking the ball with the other. In 2011-12, when Sean was playing for the Mavericks, the brothers often squared off at the team facility. One day Sean’s agent, Bernie Lee, got a call from Dallas GM Donnie Nelson. “You have to tell Sean to stop bringing his friend in to play one-on-one,” Nelson told Lee. “We’re scared they are going to hurt each other.” Nelson didn’t know who the friend was but guessed he was Sean’s bodyguard. Myles had just turned 16.

Check out the rest of Thamel’s story for a fuller basketball-colored introduction to Garrett.

Report: Isaiah Thomas scheduled to fly from Chicago to Washington after Celtics-Bulls Game 6

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Leave a comment

Isaiah Thomas has played – and played well – in all five games of the Celtics’ first-round series against the Bulls, which Boston leads 3-2.

But he has done so while travelling more than his teammates, flying home to Washington to be with his family after Game 2, following his sister’s death in a car crash. He’ll again make the extra trip after Game 6 tonight.

Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe:

After the Celtics and Bulls play Game 6 at the United Center on Friday night, Thomas is scheduled to fly to Tacoma to attend his sister’s funeral at noon on Saturday. If the Celtics win Game 6, this series will be over. But if Chicago wins, Game 7 will be played in Boston at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Teams up 3-2 with a road Game 6 in a 2-2-1-1-1 have won Game 6 just over half the time. The Celtics have been inspired to play for Thomas, who is admittedly emotionally exhausted, and I suspect this will only intensify his teammates’ desire to win for him.

I can’t imagine how Thomas has handled such a heavy burden, but it’d be nice if he had a little relief rather than the pressure to return to Boston by early Sunday afternoon.