Donald Sterling attorney blasts NBA after Hawks owner’s email surfaces

Bobby Samini leaves the Los Angeles County Courthouse on July 28.
(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

One of Donald Sterling’s attorneys blasted the NBA following the announcement that Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson would sell his stake in the franchise after a racially charged email he wrote emerged.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise,” Bobby Samini said Sunday after the announcement. “Anybody who believes the story that it was self-reported by Levenson is completely naive. I have absolutely no confidence it was self-reported. This is clearly the standard which has now been set by the commissioner of the NBA.”

Samini, who claimed Levenson’s email was brought to the NBA’s attention by a third party, said he believes that further incriminating communications involving team owners will surface in the aftermath of Sterling’s recorded comments about blacks that led to the sale of the Clippers.


“I know there are more coming,” Samini said. “From our perspective, we don’t really care about the other owners. There’s not a single owner in the NBA who is going to be able to withstand the scrutiny that’s been established. This will end up at the doorstep of [Commissioner] Adam Silver sooner or later. I’m sure he’s got some emails he’s written.”

Samini said he and Sterling have discussed the Levenson situation, but the attorney declined to detail the conversations.

After the recording of Sterling’s comments became public in April, Levenson was one of the first NBA owners to publicly support his removal from the league. Sterling drew a lifetime ban and $2.5-million fine; Levenson wasn’t suspended or fined.

“It simply goes back to demonstrate that Donald was not treated in the same manner and afforded the same opportunities that other owners would have been given,” Samini said. “At some point, the real story regarding Levenson’s deal will come out.”

Sterling, who owned the Clippers for 33 years, is suing the NBA and Silver in federal court for antitrust violations. The NBA countersued last month. Sterling’s response is due Sept. 17.

Sterling also sued the NBA, Silver and his wife, Shelly, for fraud in Los Angeles Superior Court in July. No decision has been made on whether to proceed with that lawsuit, Samini said.

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