This is a cross-town rivalry taken to new heights.
Los Angeles Lakers legend Earvin "Magic" Johnson on Tuesday responded to the offensive comments Donald Sterling made a day before, saying that he would pray for the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner.
"I'm a God-fearing man, and I'm going to pray for him and hope things work out for him," Johnson told CNN's Anderson Cooper in a excerpt of an interview that will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
On Monday, Sterling spoke to Cooper and bristled at Johnson's involvement in the controversy over racist comments the Clippers owner made.
"He acts so holy," Sterling told Cooper. "He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had AIDS. And when he had those AIDS I went to my synagogue and prayed for him. I hope he could live and be well. I didn’t criticize him. I could have. Is he an example for children? Because he has money he is able to treat himself ... He is irrelevant in this thing."
Johnson does not have full-blown AIDS, but has the HIV virus — which can lead to AIDS.
Sterling added, "I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything."
Responding specifically to that remark, Johnson on Tuesday said, "My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he's talking.
"But he's a man who's upset and he's reaching," Johnson added." "He's reaching. He's trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it's not going to happen."
He added, "22 years ago I announced that I have HIV, I came out like a man. I didn't blame anybody else, I understood what I did was wrong. And I announced that to the world. And I hope that I was able to help people."
Johnson also said Sterling had called last week and asked him to appear together in an interview with Barbara Walters.
"I told him I wouldn't do it," said Johnson. "I said the number one thing you need to do is apologize to everyone, apologize to me."
At the end of the interview, Johnson said he wanted to clear up something regarding Sterling's question, "What does he do, he works for the Lakers?"
Johnson quipped, "Let me correct Donald. ‘What does he do?’ He owns the Dodgers, he doesn't work for the Dodgers. He owns the Dodgers."
Earlier on Tuesday, Johnson tweeted that "after this week" he wouldn't be talking about Donald Sterling anymore.
First published May 13 2014, 2:00 PM