There was something about Donald Sterling’s racially charged comments that resonated with J.J. Redick.
Redick, who is white, said it was not that “difficult to hate that sort of ignorance.”
Sterling’s derogatory comments about blacks had enveloped the Clippers even after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling for life and instructed the other NBA franchise owners to force him to sell the team.
After scoring 20 points on seven-for-13 shooting and helping the Clippers defeat the Golden State Warriors, 126-121, in Game 7 of the Western Conference first-round playoff series, Redick talked about how Sterling’s comments affected him.
“In the days after, it was the first time in my life where I was conscious of the fact that the people I was talking to were black or Asian or Mexican,” Redick said. “I don’t look at people like that. So to hear those sort of things come out of someone’s mouth, it [upsets] you.”
Redick had been subjected to all sorts of name calling when he played at Duke.
But Redick said that was different compared to what his teammates heard from Sterling in an audio recording released last week.
“It hits you when you see your teammates being emotional, crying,” Redick said. “They’re thinking about their parents. Or they’re thinking about their brother or their sister or their kids. That’s when it really hits home.”
Even more twisted, Redick recalled the story that Sterling didn’t want to sign him last summer.
“I’ve been told both ways,” Redick said. “One, that he didn’t want to spend because I was white and the other he did want to pay me because he thought I was a bench player. I was told both things.”
After much discussion between Rivers and Sterling last July, Redick signed a four-year, $27-million contract with the Clippers in a sign-and-trade deal with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I came here for Doc,” Redick said. “And I came here for Chris [Paul], Blake [Griffin]. I looked at this as an incredible opportunity for me on the basketball court.”