Shaun Livingston began his career with the Los Angeles Clippers and was paid by owner Donald Sterling for three seasons, so he was not surprised by a 10-minute rant against African-Americans allegedly by Sterling that was released by TMZ on Saturday.
Livingston was on the Clippers when the U.S. Department of Justice sued Sterling for housing discrimination in filling apartment buildings. He also was there when teammates Sam Cassell, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette complained to former general manager Elgin Baylor about Sterling bringing women into the locker room after games while players were showering.
“That was crazy,” Livingston said at practice Saturday. “It was probably disappointing to a lot of people. But you look at what’s kind of gone on in the past, it’s very unfortunate, but I think it kind of tells the same story as what’s been told if you pull up the record.”
The NBA said they will investigate and new commissioner Adam Silver said at a press conference in Memphis, Tennessee he will swiftly come to a conclusion.
“I’ll definitely … pay attention to what happens,” Livingston said. “Because it’s going to put Adam Silver in kind of a tough spot.”
Livingston is among many who have offered opinions. Magic Johnson said on his Twitter account that he will not attend a Clippers game while the team is owned by Sterling. On TNT’s “Inside the NBA”, Charles Barkley said Sterling should be suspended immediately, a sentiment host Ernie Johnson agreed with.
“This is the first test of Adam Silver,” Barkley said. “He’s got to suspend him right now. You can’t have this guy making statements like that. [Silver] has to suspend him and fine him immediately. He has to be suspended. … When you’re in a position of power, and you can take jobs and economic opportunities from people, that’s what crosses the line. We cannot have an NBA owner discriminating against a league. … We’re a black league.”
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he was trying to place the focus on basketball, which is a sentiment Jason Kidd echoed before Game Four.
“I thought Doc said it best, his world was more or less cluttered trying to keep it away from the team this time of year,” Kidd said. ”I feel bad that they have go through that but basketball has to be played and Adam Silver our commissioner will take care of what needs to be done.”
LeBron James also said that there was no place for Sterling and Paul Pierce agreed at the morning shootaround. For Pierce, it had to be even more stinging since Doc Rivers is coaching there, he is from Los Angeles and there were rumors of him and Kevin Garnett going to the Clippers before coming to Brooklyn.
“Man, I was real shocked just to hear, you know, I had a chance to listen to all the comments he had and I was very shocked to hear that come from an owner,” Pierce said. “Especially an owner who has hired a black coach, gave him a lot of power to what’s going on in the organization, just to kind of hear how he really feels.”
Casey offers strong praise for Pierce
Paul Pierce will likely get inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame once his career ends, so it should not be a surprise an opposing coach would praise him.
Perhaps the bigger question is what has allowed Pierce to play at a high level since entering the league in 1998. For Toronto head coach Dwane Casey, it’s the same thing that has enabled Jason Kidd and Tim Duncan to play well over 15 years.
“He plays a lot of the game on the floor,” Casey said. “When he does explode, he explodes, but most of his game is on the floor a lot like Tim Duncan. Jason Kidd was the same way when he played — a floor player — and those guys tend to last a long time and that’s just using your brain.”
Perhaps a key indication of Pierce doing that in this series was his fourth quarter in Game 1 when he scored nine straight points and in Game 3 when he had an above the rim play by head-faking Tyler Hansbrough a few times, executing a crossover and dunking.
Casey picked up on is how Pierce is like the director on the court, getting others to good spots to make plays.
“He’s just such a smart player knowing the floor positions, swinging over to the three, run[ning] pick-and-rolls,” Casey said. “He’s out there directing the defense so he is utilizing his experience to the Nth degree out there on the floor, so he’s a big plus for what they do and the reason why someday he’s going to be in the Hall of Fame.”
Follow Nets beat writer Larry Fleisher on Twitter @LarryFleisher.