ESPN released their annual podcast series ’30 for 30′ this season featuring LA Clippers Donald Sterling Affairs scandal. This is a review of episode one.
ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne hosts an in-depth story coverage for 30 for 30 titled The Donald Sterling Affairs. Episode One, Holy Sh** That Tape, is mainly covering the leaked recordings from Sterling’s mistress, V. Stiviano. This sparked this entire fallout leading the Clippers to where they are today, arguably with their best chances at a run at a championship.
In these recordings, Sterling goes on a racist rant to Stiviano for posting a picture with Magic Johnson. The recordings changed the NBA forever and it includes racism, sexism, and pure hate.
The fact of this matter is that Donald Sterling was one of the worst owners in sports. He never led the Clippers to their true potential in his 33-year tenure as their owner. Morally and ethically he was horrible and his ego showed it.
Finally, the drama between Donald Sterling and his infidelity to his wife caught up with him; forcing Sterling to ultimately sell the team and receive a lifetime NBA ban.
For the Clippers, this could not happen at a worse time: the 2014 playoffs game five versus Golden State. They ended up barely winning that series in seven games. At this time, the Clippers had been the laughing-stock of the NBA and it was finally changing. The team was making consistent playoff runs year after year, there were hope and stability and balance.
The Clippers had so much potential to contend for a championship until this fallout became public. Then the NBA got involved and investigated with Adam Silver only barely 3 months in as the new NBA commissioner. It was his first real big move that would change the NBA forever.
Ramona Shelburne explains in the podcast:
"There is an unwritten contract between young women and their very-rich but much older sugar-daddies that helps each side pretend it’s about love and not sex for money. Never talk about age. Pretend looks don’t matter. Money and Hermes bags are gifts and never humiliate the wife… that’s exactly what she did."
This very public affair was getting way too far. V. Stiviano felt so comfortable to even stroll around telling people in the office vulgar remarks, such as, “I’m going to own the office one day. This is going to be my team one day. I’m the next Mrs. Sterling.”
Clippers employees were also getting involved in this affair. Shelly would call team president Andy Roeser demanding that V. Not be allowed in the building. Donald did not cooperate with that by any means, helping this become way out of hand.
Finally, everything caught fire. Shelly was starting to learn about the gifts. V posted pictures on Instagram of several cars including a $240,000 red Ferrari that Donald had bought her. Shelly also found out Donald had bought V. a $1.8 million duplex. That is when Shelly decided enough is enough and that she was going to sue her, allegedly claiming her money had paid for the gifts.
On March 7, 2014, Shelly Sterling filed a lawsuit in California Superior Court against V. Stiviano seeking the return of all those gifts from Donald. When the two threatened each other back and forth, V. pulled out another trick out her sleeve: the voice recordings throughout the last two years of conversations between her and Donald Sterling. The end goal was to blackmail the Sterling family to keep what she wanted.
The most tape that shook up the NBA world said the following:
"Why are you taking pictures with minorities, why?V. STIVIANO: What’s wrong with minorities? What’s wrong with black people?DONALD STERLING: Nothing. How about your whole life, every day, you could do whatever you want? You could sleep with them, you could bring them in, you could do whatever you want! The little I ask you is not to promote it on, and not to bring them to my games.V. STIVIANO: Does it matter if they’re white or blue or yellow?DONALD STERLING: I guess that you don’t know that. Maybe you’re stupid."
Now, with this scandal leaking out to the press, many public figures began to weigh in on the situation.
These included Barack Obama, Jimmy Kimmel, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, Clippers and Warriors Players preparing to boycott, and many more. The pressure was on for Adam Silver to punish Sterling in the most severe way he could.
Silver ultimately showed his power, saving the NBA by granting what everyone mutually felt was satisfying punishment for Sterling: A lifetime ban from the NBA, leading the Los Angeles Clippers to be purchased by arguably one of the best owner in all sports, Steve Ballmer.
V. Stiviano started this whole movement that forced Donald Sterling to sell the team. What a turn around for a franchise that has gone through so much. In an odd way, we as Clipper fans all have V. Stiviano and Donald Sterling to thank for that, without their scandal there would be no Clipper turnaround. Be sure to check out the remaining four episodes of the 30 for 30 series.