Sterling Testifies In Baylor Lawsuit
Clippers owner Donald Sterling testified on Tuesday in Elgin Baylor's wrongful termination lawsuit against the Clippers.
"You didn't know about his basketball career?" Baylor attorney Carl Douglas asked Sterling.
"His accomplishments? The Hall of Fame?"
"No," Sterling answered. "... I didn't know that. I hired him for $3,000 a month. I didn't really know what his role was.... He was working in a mail-order company back then."
Baylor was an 11-time All-Star in the NBA and the first overall pick in 1958.
When asked about a Baylor predecessor, Sterling said the name Carl Scheer "sounds familiar." He added, "I don't profess to know anything about basketball. I'm a professional lawyer."
As for what he recalls about Baylor taking over basketball matters, the owner said, "[Baylor] … ultimately made $500,000 a year. Somewhere in between, he assumed that role."
Sterling testified that he gave Baylor wide latitude for how to run the team.
"Elgin Baylor wouldn't tell me the players he was drafting. He was afraid I'd tell another owner," Sterling testified.
The NBA "is like musical chairs, they constantly remove and change owners, general managers, coaches and agents, but I had a man I protected for 22 years.… He kept telling me it would get better. I kept hoping it would get better. It didn't get better. It got worse."
Sterling admitted he agreed with the move to make Baylor a consultant.
"The record speaks for itself. Of course, I was disappointed. I'm spending one-third of a billion dollars to win, and who's in charge of winning? Elgin Baylor is a good person, but we lost seven out of 10 games with him. How can anyone feel good about that?"
Douglas asked Sterling if the team is now in better shape without Baylor.
"I think we're getting better," Sterling said. "Getting better all the time."