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Baron Davis opens up about racism under Donald Sterling

Since leaving the NBA in 2012, Baron Davis has turned his attention to increasing the positive representation of peop...

Posted: Apr 12, 2018 5:41 PM
Updated: Apr 12, 2018 5:41 PM

Since leaving the NBA in 2012, Baron Davis has turned his attention to increasing the positive representation of people of color and women in media.

It's a poetic turn for Davis, who spent three years playing on Donald Sterling's Los Angeles Clippers.

Sterling has been widely accused of racism. A team executive said Sterling ran the team with a "plantation" mentality. He's been prosecuted in federal court for allegedly refusing to rent apartments to African Americans and tenants accused him of discriminatory statements and practices. Both cases were settled, but Sterling denied wrongdoing.

In 2014, the NBA issued a lifetime ban against Sterling after he was caught on tape making racist comments. After owning the team for more than three decades, Sterling was forced to sell the franchise. He secured a deal with former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion.

Davis talked to CNNMoney about what it was like to play for someone he believed hated him for his skin color.

"Playing on the Clippers, that was the first time I really felt like I was like on an island by myself," Davis said. "I was the only one saying that 'Yo, this is going on. Like nobody's paying attention? This is going on. This man is racist. Clearly.'"

Davis said Sterling never took a meeting with him and rarely spoke to him. He said Sterling would just look at him, shake his head and call him a disappointment.

Davis said other members of the Clippers organization confided in him that they were also being mistreated. Davis struggled with speaking out because he feared he'd be traded to another team.

"It was tough because every day I wrestled with myself. Am I selling out?" Davis said. "How am I going to resist and still be able to do what I need to do. But like how do you find joy in that when you're working for somebody who hates you?"

Davis said he was the highest paid employee in the Clippers organization, and that made him a target for Sterling.

"It was the hardest thing because it's like if we win, he wins. But we can't lose because I'm supposed to be good, real good," Davis said.

He added that Sterling's ability to sell the team and make a profit was unfair.

"Where is Donald Sterling right now? Somewhere enjoying his $2 billion and still being racist and still hating people and still disrespecting people," Davis said. "He doesn't learn a lesson."

When reached for comment by CNNMoney, Shelly Sterling, Donald's wife, denied her husband was racist or had mistreated Davis based on his skin color.

"We're not racists. He's never been a racist. We donate to African American charities," she said. Sterling said Davis was "disgruntled because we traded him."

CNNMoney attempted to get comment from Donald Sterling directly but was told he was unavailable.

Related: Former NBA star Baron Davis produces stories with social justice in mind

Davis' current mission is to create original content that will increase diversity and show minorities in a positive light. But he also realizes the unique platform he has as a former professional athlete.

"[Athletes] affect more people than anybody in the world. Athletes we have a voice," he said. "I think sports is the healing mechanism around the world."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 294994

Reported Deaths: 6681
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19672230
Hinds18799386
Harrison16710278
Rankin12685264
Jackson12592226
Lee9687160
Madison9457199
Jones7962146
Forrest7208136
Lauderdale6833226
Lowndes6022137
Lamar588080
Lafayette5733113
Washington5218130
Bolivar4609123
Oktibbeha441393
Panola430394
Pearl River4167130
Warren4129114
Pontotoc408869
Marshall403192
Monroe3989126
Union395374
Neshoba3807168
Lincoln3541102
Hancock347374
Leflore3375118
Sunflower318386
Tate302474
Pike300195
Scott293870
Alcorn291861
Itawamba289975
Yazoo289262
Tippah278765
Copiah277857
Coahoma277568
Simpson274878
Prentiss269758
Wayne253841
Marion252678
Leake252471
Covington248879
Grenada247377
Adams234377
George231745
Newton229652
Winston221675
Jasper213445
Tishomingo212365
Attala206569
Chickasaw201151
Holmes182270
Clay179150
Stone172429
Tallahatchie170539
Clarke169371
Calhoun157828
Smith152731
Yalobusha144836
Greene127633
Walthall124140
Noxubee122829
Montgomery122438
Perry121634
Lawrence120321
Carroll118225
Amite111533
Webster110630
Jefferson Davis101731
Tunica99023
Claiborne98429
Benton93324
Humphreys92827
Kemper90223
Quitman77114
Franklin76119
Choctaw69516
Jefferson62527
Wilkinson62426
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 493769

Reported Deaths: 9931
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson710731374
Mobile36139727
Madison32425455
Tuscaloosa24184410
Montgomery22586500
Shelby21968215
Baldwin19758283
Lee14967153
Morgan13667251
Calhoun13300286
Etowah13184319
Marshall11262209
Houston10104261
Elmore9385185
Limestone9363134
Cullman8897181
St. Clair8827223
Lauderdale8607211
DeKalb8459175
Talladega7523163
Walker6524255
Jackson6495102
Autauga627091
Blount6102127
Colbert6004118
Coffee5249102
Dale4642107
Russell404930
Franklin399177
Covington3960106
Chilton3876100
Escambia377672
Tallapoosa3588142
Clarke343650
Chambers3413110
Dallas3403141
Pike293472
Lawrence283484
Marion281995
Winston246867
Bibb245060
Geneva239970
Marengo236455
Pickens224654
Barbour211651
Hale210568
Fayette200756
Butler196866
Henry182441
Cherokee177038
Monroe166139
Randolph163740
Washington156535
Crenshaw144854
Clay144454
Macon142043
Cleburne137839
Lamar132833
Lowndes131151
Wilcox121825
Bullock116936
Conecuh106724
Perry105627
Sumter98531
Coosa88923
Greene88232
Choctaw55123
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