Who Is Donald Sterling and How Did He Become Synonymous With Bigotry?

Jewish Hoops Owner Changed Name — Courts Controversy

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By Danny Miller

Published April 29, 2014, issue of May 09, 2014.
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Recalling “the silence of too many” in the face of the Nazis’ early acts of anti-Semitism and later genocide, the two communal officials said, “We join those who condemn Mr. Sterling’s racist comments, and all such bigotry.”

In the taped conversation, the man identified as Sterling repeatedly chastises his mistress, V. Stiviano, for bringing black people to Clippers games, for being photographed with black men and for posting such photographs on her Instagram account for all to see. She protests that she herself is both Mexican and black.

“We don’t evaluate what’s right and wrong,” he admonishes Stiviano when she says she doesn’t discriminate against people on the basis of race. “We live in a society. We live in a culture. We have to live within that culture.”

As a young man, Sterling made a name for himself as a divorce and personal injury attorney. He then moved into real estate and became one of the largest property owners in southern California. Moving into the sports world, he purchased the Clippers in 1981 for $12 million, which seems a steal today. Bloomberg Businessweek estimated its worth on the market this week at “$750 million or more…even in a fire sale.”

Today, Forbes lists Sterling’s own net worth at $1.9 billion and ranks him as No. 974 among the world’s richest people.

Sterling’s involvement in Jewish charities and organizations is spotty. In 1974, he opened up his Beverly Hills home for a fundraiser for the Sephardic Women’s Division of the United Jewish Welfare Fund, the predecessor of the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.

Ironically, the guest of honor at this function was Gerda Weissmann Klein, the Holocaust survivor who would go on to win an Academy Award in 1995 for One Survivor Remembers, a short film based on her inspiring life. At the age of 89, Klein continues to work tirelessly as a human rights activist, spreading a message of tolerance and speaking out against bigotry.


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