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Volume 26 No. 204
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Former Clippers Exec Looks Back At Release Of Donald Sterling Tapes

Sterling had to be talked out of attending the Clippers' first game after the tapes were released
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Sterling had to be talked out of attending the Clippers' first game after the tapes were released
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES
Sterling had to be talked out of attending the Clippers' first game after the tapes were released
Photo: NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

The Clippers are currently playing the Warriors in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, and Thursday will mark five years since the two teams faced off in a series that was "overshadowed by the infamous Donald Sterling tapes," according to Arash Markazi of the L.A. TIMES. Markazi recently spoke to LAFC Senior VP/Communications & Content Seth Burton, who then held a similar position with the Clippers, to take a look back at the fallout from TMZ releasing the "taped conversations of the Clippers owner making insensitive racial remarks." Burton said TMZ Founder Harvey Levin called him before releasing the tapes, and warned they were "really bad." Burton: "He said it was racial but he wouldn’t get into specifics." Burton "finally obtained a copy of the tape the morning before it was released and listened with Clippers coach Doc Rivers in the hallway of the Four Seasons Hotel" in S.F. Burton said Rivers was the "right person at the right time in history for that moment." Burton: "I don’t know if there’s another coach who could have handled it better than he did." Burton discovered that Sterling, who had attended Game 3 of the series, was also "planning to go to Game 4." Burton: "I run into the locker room and I hand Doc my phone and said, ‘Please, Doc, talk to these guys.’ It got heated. He was telling them he couldn’t come to the game" (L.A. TIMES, 4/23).

COMPLETE 180: THE ATHLETIC's Zach Harper wrote under the header, "Five Years After Donald Sterling’s Ban, The Clippers Have Become A Beacon Of Professional Light." The Clippers are now "being taken seriously around the league," as they have "gone from being one of the biggest punch lines in sports to looking like a model for professionalism and success." Team Owner Steve Ballmer and company "have the Clippers run as well as just about anybody" (THEATHLETIC.com, 4/22).