CNN fired over the Rewind for Anderson Cooper 360°, former Clippers G.M. Elgin Baylor and his wife Elaine spoke exclusively to Anderson Cooper for the first time since news of the Sterling tape broke.
Baylor is an 11-time NBA All Star and a Basketball Hall of Famer. For more than two decades, he was the General Manager of the L.A. Clippers. He says he was fired unfairly and filed a wrongful-termination suit against the team, naming Donald Sterling directly in his complaint.
He talk to Cooper about his experience working for Sterling and how Sterling would bring women into the locker room and point out the black players saying “Look at those beautiful black bodies.”
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: I spoke with Elgin Baylor and his wife Elaine in their first interview since the Sterling story broke.
Elgin, you worked with Donald Sterling for 22 years. What was your reaction when you first heard that tape?
ELGIN BAYLOR, 11-TIME NBA ALL-STAR: When I first heard it, it just brought back memories of some of the things that were said, you know, by Donald.
COOPER: It didn’t surprise you?
BAYLOR: No, it didn’t surprise me — at all. No.
COOPER: That was the — that’s the Donald Sterling you know.
BAYLOR: That’s the Donald Sterling I know. He says a lot of things, different things. He had different mood swings, so you never know what he’s going to say or do.
COOPER: Do you think he even realizes what he’s saying?
BAYLOR: He’s an intelligent man. Great businessman. So I’m sure he’s aware of what he’s doing, what he’s saying because there are times when I would say things to him and say hey, you know, that’s — you know, you shouldn’t say things, certain things that he would say and do. You know, I would express my opinion.
COOPER: Do you think he’s a racist?
BAYLOR: Of course he is. There’s no doubt in my mind now. At the time, I thought then and no doubt now that he is. I think he is.
COOPER: When you heard the recording that came out, what did you think?
ELAINE BAYLOR, WIFE OF ELGIN BAYLOR: Vindication. I’m glad he said it. He’s hung by his tongue. There’s no way in the world it would be proven otherwise.
COOPER: That’s the — that’s the Donald Sterling you know?
E. BAYLOR: Yes, I mean, you know, he’s not running around with a white robe on. You know, he’s not that blatant. He’s a very smart man but he communicates how he feels and what he wants, especially to people who work for him. So you know where he is and you know what he wants. And if you’re going to work for him, somehow or another you’re going to meet those requirements.
COOPER: This woman, V. Stiviano, when she was asked about that, she said, well, I think he’s just from a previous generation. Is that an excuse?
E. BAYLOR: I can’t even relate to what she says.
I mean, I don’t know where she’s from. I mean —
COOPER: She makes no sense to you?
E. BAYLOR: None.
I can’t — I can’t — I can’t even make sense out of it.
COOPER: I understand that I believe in your lawsuit, as well, you said at some point, Donald Sterling would bring women into the locker room and point out the black players.
BAYLOR: Oh, he did it on many occasions.
COOPER: What would he say?
BAYLOR: Look at those beautiful black bodies. That’s what he used to say.
COOPER: So while the guys are naked or half naked?
BAYLOR: And while the — and while the guys in the shower and everything else. On several occasions I told them not to. You know, players were — you know, they were mad. They were upset about it because I told him on several occasions and he kept doing it. Eventually it stopped.
COOPER: Why do you think he’s this way? I mean —
BAYLOR: Why? Why is he that way? I don’t know. One thing to probably get attention. I know that. He likes that attention.
COOPER: He likes the attention?
BAYLOR: He loves attention.
COOPER: Do you agree with what the NBA commissioner has now done, banning Donald Sterling for life?
E. BAYLOR: Absolutely.
BAYLOR: He’s had problems with the NBA and I was there is with Dave Stern. I mean, he was after Donald but not signing players. He wanted to low ballplayers. And the way he was just running his organization.
COOPER: Do you think Donald Sterling is going to fight this?
BAYLOR: Probably. Donald likes the limelight whether it’s good or bad. That’s the type of guy he is. So probably, maybe, I don’t know.
COOPER: You were asked I think during a deposition about whether he had ever made racist remarks to you. And you said that he hadn’t directly said anything to you. Is that — is that true?
BAYLOR: Not to me personally. Not to me personally, no. I would have knocked him out. No, he didn’t say anything to me personally.
E. BAYLOR: He’s smart enough not to do it directly. But you know —
BAYLOR: No. And I would get in arguments with him all the time about it.
BAYLOR: And he would say, well, that’s the way I feel.
COOPER: So the issue of race would come up. A lot.
BAYLOR: Not a lot. You know, occasionally it might come up by players.
E. BAYLOR: Donald thinks if it weren’t for him, all of those guys would be playing basketball in the ghetto somewhere. Actually, when Elgin first started, he told Elgin to go out in the inner city and see if he could find some players on the basketball courts.
COOPER: He said just go out to —
E. BAYLOR: Yes.
BAYLOR: As — yes. You got to find those — you know, some great black players out there, you know.
E. BAYLOR: Yes. You know.
BAYLOR: Why don’t you go to playgrounds to scout and look at players.
E. BAYLOR: But it was like crazy. I mean, really crazy.
COOPER: Do you feel like this is vindication, as well?
BAYLOR: Well, you know —
E. BAYLOR: It’s all right to feel good about it, Elgin.
BAYLOR: When I say — well, justice has been served. You know I look at it that way. Justice has been served. Now they know what Donald was like and, you know, things I said before about Donald is absolutely true.
COOPER: When he was on the witness stand, he claimed that he didn’t even know your history with the NBA.
COOPER: I’m not a sports guy. I know your history with the NBA.
BAYLOR: But that’s — that’s Donald. That’s Donald. You know. That’s Donald.
COOPER: You have no doubt he knew?
BAYLOR: There’s nothing new.
COOPER: It’s got to be so difficult to — you know, to come forward with allegations to launch this lawsuit against somebody very powerful, very wealthy. Spends a lot of time in court.
E. BAYLOR: Yes.
COOPER: And then to not really be able to have it play out. I mean to not feel like justice has been served.
BAYLOR: Well, it has been.
E. BAYLOR: Yes.
BAYLOR: In one case.
E. BAYLOR: Now.
BAYLOR: Donald has been exposed.