Widgets Magazine


In defense of Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling, you brilliant, brilliant man. For a second there, I thought you were about to do something so egregious, so utterly insane in this day and age, so against your core values that your entire empire would crumble: field a winning basketball team.

For years, you have been a true visionary in the NBA — assembling aggressively incompetent squads on cheap contracts year after year, allowing you to turn one of the highest profit margins in the league. I mean, what’s the point of owning a professional sports franchise if you can’t make the most bang for your buck? That would be as crazy as saying you plan to build a medical complex to help the homeless and then actually going through with it. Who does that?

Which brings me back to my main point: your brilliance. Clearly, you noticed that your Clippers were simply better than the Golden State Warriors and sought to fix that issue. Your poetic, insightful commentary on the dangers of associating with black people set your team — composed predominately of African Americans — into a state of confusion over whether to boycott the next game or continue to play in your name. While your plan didn’t completely work as the Clips suited up for Game 4, the dynamic of the team had completely changed and the Golden State Warriors breathed new life en route to a lopsided victory.

You have played your part beautifully. The Clippers looked distracted and out of rhythm on Sunday. I was wondering how you were going to remedy this curse of good basketball after that filthy Communist David Stern ripped Chris Paul from the clutches of the Los Angeles Lakers and gave him to you instead. Furthermore, you somehow ended up with an excellent coach in Doc Rivers manning your bench. After recycling coaches throughout your entire squad at a rate that probably earned you membership into the Sierra Club, you somehow ended up with an unprecedented degree of stability and — dare I say it — a championship-caliber team.

But all that changed with one, strategically-timed, “secretly recorded” phone conversation with your girlfriend. You have done all basketball fans a considerable favor because, at the end of the day, the NBA is just so much better when the Clippers flat-out suck. So many basketball fans, like myself, yearn for the good ol’ days when we had somewhere to avert our eyes from the sickening degree of world-class basketball around us (though, to be fair, watching DeAndre Jordan shoot free throws comes pretty close).

I’m glad you value the glories of the past, Mr. Sterling. From making sure the Clippers return to their rightful place at the bottom of the league to reportedly ordering your old General Manager to assemble a plantation-style team with all black players and a white head coach, your clearly get it. Tradition is important and I applaud you for stepping up to preserve the Clippers’ greatest tradition: to try to make sure one of the best rosters in the NBA never comes close to a championship.

And that’s why I was so disappointed when new NBA commissioner Adam Silver — the Stalin to Stern’s Lenin — announced that you have been banned for life and will be urged to sell your team. What is he thinking? The NBA needs the Clippers to continue being the Clippers. Who else is going to play their hearts out and lose, taking away high draft picks from teams trying to tank? I, for one, am sad to see you go based on highly circumstantial evidence that just happens to fit a well-established pattern of behavior. The nerve of some people.

I wish you all the best, Mr. Sterling, in your future endeavors and hope that others come to respect you for the courageous move you made. I also wish, on your behalf, the Clippers bad luck as they find themselves tied with the Golden State Warriors at two games apiece in a series they could very well win. Here’s hoping that your comments are still a locker room distraction and throw Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and company off rhythm. Your comments are a reminder to all of us that racism still rears its head in America, but I hope people see that your bigotry is on another level — fueling your ultimate goal of terrible basketball. I applaud you, Donald Sterling, for taking a stand that no one else was willing to take. You set a very powerful example for us all.


Vihan Lakshman’s beloved Atlanta Hawks can only dream of the failure that the Los Angeles Clippers are capable of. Share your best Clips stories with him at vihan “at” stanford.edu.

About Vihan Lakshman

Vihan Lakshman's journey at The Stanford Daily came full-circle as he began his career as a football beat writer and now closes his time on The Farm in the same role. In between, he has served as an Opinions columnist and desk editor, a beat writer for Stanford baseball, and as a member of The Daily's Editorial Board. Vihan completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematical and Computational Science in 2016, and is currently pursuing a master's in Computational Mathematics. He also worked as a color commentator on KZSU football broadcasts during the 2015 season. To contact him, please send an email to vihan 'at' stanford.edu
  • Nicholas Radoff

    Love it, funny and poignant.
    One criticism: How has nobody made a Vinnie Del Negro joke?

  • Jack Rogers

    I have a modest proposal. Perhaps all the people that benefit monetarily from the NBA should be subject to surveillance, in their offices, locker rooms, training rooms, and on the court. Whenever it is discovered that anyone utters a vulgar racially inflammatory remark the commissioner should hold a press conference to mete out the maximum fine and ban that person from all league activities for life. Now that a precedent is set this seems only fair. And while they are at it perhaps they should enforce the same kind of penalties on their people and players who break the law. After a while there will be no one left in the league and fans can watch athletes play basketball for free on the playgrounds and in the gyms of America.

  • Lyp

    Or perhaps you could try the proposal where this person may not have just been submitted to involuntary surveillance but has an extensive on-track record of absolutely egregious racist behavior EVEN AS A LANDLORD which is what the NBA took into account when meting said fine and enforcing said ban. Because DS was a racist prick whose statements indicated the level of regard he had for his colleagues, his professional organization of which he is both a member and a representative of, and the players of the team he owned (not “his” players, because they do not belong to him and should not be considered “his” because of a professional contractual agreement they all chose to sign). Also, your extreme use of hyperbole also makes me wonder if your entire statement was written satirically, or at least, it should’ve been. http://www.stanforddaily.com/2014/04/27/mr-silver-tear-down-donald-sterling/
    You should read more.

  • Jack Rogers

    Did any of you ever play devil’s advocate, engage in inane arguments, or say stupid provocative things to defend a ridiculous point of view? People shouldn’t be punished because of the idiotic thoughts or things they might say in private. I don’t think DS is as much of a racist as he is envious of virile young athletic black men stealing his woman. After all he is an old geezer trying to desperately maintain and control his black girlfriend. He is probably more of a misogynist than a racist and is used to buying whatever he wants. Not much different from many of the other owners of sports franchises.