Tag: Elgin Baylor

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Elgin Baylor’s lawsuit against Donald Sterling shot down by jury


Clippers Donald Sterling is still a despicable human being. A man with a laundry list of offenses of offenses from the serious (racial housing discrimination) to just screwing up his NBA team. This has not changed.

But he has won key court battle.

A jury Wednesday rejected a $2 million lawsuit brought by former Clippers GM Elgin Baylor seeking damages for being fired due to age discrimination, the Los Angeles Times reports.

It’s hard to argue, with the Clippers record over the last couple decades, that Baylor was a good GM who could not have been dismissed for cause. You can see the defense attorney and jury’s point there, even though you can also question how much real power Baylor had during parts of his tenure.

What this lawsuit did was peel back the curtain a little more on Sterling and the Clippers, and everyone cringed in disgust. While Blake Griffin distracts us, the team is still run by the worst owner in professional sports. And despite how we want to see Griffin and the Clippers succeed, you fear all that Sterling is and does will somehow come back to haunt the team.

Because the one real constant in the decades of Clippers futility is Sterling. And that is not changing.

Donald Sterling sounds out of touch, disinterested at trial

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Clippers owner Donald Sterling did not sound like a cold hearted, penny pinching, racist on the witness stand of a trail Tuesday.

He sounded clueless and disinterested, however.

Elgin Baylor — Lakers legend and Clipper employee for more than two decades — is suing Sterling for age discrimination for Baylor’s firing as team general manager last year. Sterling was on the stand Tuesday and among the “highlights” courtesy the Los Angeles Times are:

• “I don’t profess to know anything about basketball. I’m a professional lawyer.”

• Sterling said he had no idea who Elgin Baylor was when he hired him, didn’t know he was a player included in the NBA’s 50 greatest of All-Time.

“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.”

• Sterling continually sounded like someone disassociated from what was going on within the Clipper organization.

As for what he recalls about Baylor taking over basketball matters, the owner said, “[Baylor] … ultimately made $500,000 a year. Somewhere in between, he assumed that role.”

• “Elgin Baylor wouldn’t tell me the players he was drafting. He was afraid I’d tell another owner,” Sterling testified.

New legal filings against Clippers should make Blake Griffin cry

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Any time you feel yourself start to nod in agreement when someone says, “You know, with Blake Griffin and Eric Gordon, the Clippers are a team on the rise,” come back and read this post.

ESPN got a hold of more legal filings in former Clipper GM Elgin Baylor’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the team and Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and published excerpts at TrueHoop. (Very possibly Baylor’s team of attorneys leaked the papers as they futilely try to embarrass the Clippers into settling the matter.)

Those documents paint the picture we all know exists — Sterling is an owner that cares about profit far more than winning.

(Former coach and GM Mike) Dunleavy said that Sterling “always told me to give him a great player and he’d pay for him, but there were several players I wanted to sign and we didn’t because Sterling refused to spend the money. The Clippers’ biggest concern was making a profit.”

All of Baylor’s comments came with a racial overtone because he has said that played a factor in his being let go.

“Because of the Clippers unwillingness to fairly compensate African-American players we lost a lot of good talent, including Danny Manning, Charles Smith, Michael Cage, Ron Harper, Dominique Wilkins, [Corey] Maggette and others,” Baylor said.

The latest documents include Dunleavy talking about how Baylor became marginalized within the organization while holding on to the title of GM and being a face of the franchise. Then there is the ugly, sensational part of what was leaked.

“While ignoring my suggestions and isolating me from decisions customarily reserved for general managers, the Clippers attempted to place the blame for the team’s failures on me,” Baylor said in the declaration. “During this same period, players Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to me that DONALD STERLING would bring women into the locker room after games, while the players were showering, and make comments such as, ‘Look at those beautiful black bodies.’ I brought this to Sterling’s attention, but he continued to bring women into the locker room.”

Combine that with Sterling heckling Baron Davis from courtside seats, and you get a picture of how this franchise is really run.

Right now there is a real national buzz about the Clippers, and it has been a long time since you could say that. People across the land are tuning in to see Griffin play basketball — he is an attraction, a storyline, a show unto himself.

This is not going to end well with Griffin. It’s just not. The history of Sterling and Clippers is littered with chances like this that all go by the wayside. This ultimately will be no different.