NBA Commissioner Adam Silver slammed banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling late Monday for remarks the 81-year-old made about basketball legend Magic Johnson.
In an interview with CNN, Sterling repeatedly disparaged Johnson's HIV-positive status, dismissed his charitable work and business success, and said he's not a proper role model for children.
"He acts so holy," Sterling said of Johnson. "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 I 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?"
Interviewer Anderson Cooper corrected Sterling, explaining that Johnson was HIV-positive but did not have "full-blown AIDS."
Sterling briefly adjusted his language but not his tone.
"What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect, and tell our kids about?" Sterling said. "I think he should be ashamed of himself."
"While Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologize to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack." Silver said in a statement. "The NBA Board of Governors is continuing with its process to remove Mr. Sterling as expeditiously as possible."
Sterling was banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million by Silver on April 29, days after recordings of him making racist remarks to a female associated were leaked to the website TMZ.
Johnson had Tweeted after the recording emerged that he would never attend another Clippers game while Sterling was owner. But he was in attendance at Sunday's playoff game against the Oklahoma City Thunder sitting next to Silver.
Johnson representatives said he would have no immediate comment, and Johnson did not address the interview on his frequently updated Twitter account. Anderson said Johnson would appear on his show on Tuesday.
Also in the interview that had its first full airing Monday after the release of excerpts Sunday, Sterling says he was "baited" into using racist language by V. Stiviano, the woman who made the recording.
"She would always use the word `black,' " Sterling said of Stiviano. "That's a black girl, that's a black guy, this is black, that's black. So when she said to me I'm going to bring `four gorgeous black guys to the game,' players she was referring to either football or basketball, I was a little jealous maybe."
"I used her words," Sterling said, later adding: "I don't know why the girl had me say those things."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.