“The world is filled with pimps and hoes, we’ll just talk about those I know”
-The Notorious B.I.G, Puffy, Too Short
Let me begin by saying Bomani Jones’s interview on the Dan Le Batard Show (below) is the ONLY commentary about Donald Sterling that matters. Everything else you read (including this) is just fodder for thought.
It just so happens, both the NBA Finals and HBO’s Game of Thrones ended their season on the same day. Now problems for the whole league are just beginning as Donald Sterling besets his vendetta while parading a new black girlfriend on his arm (who he may have met at this church). Many have been laughing at this debacle since day one. It’s now month three and the joke is seriously funnier as Sterling prepares to hold the league hostage using a grenade pin as a toothpick. Let me tell you who’s not laughing: NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league owners. If the players are laughing, I hope it’s because they’re plotting to take advantage of the rarified chance to change the game.
Though I share the logic of Homeboy Sandman’s “Black People Are Cowards,” I do recognize that in the moment, it was a very tough call. What concerns me more was public response to the article because it reveals an interesting polar system amongst contemporary black thought. That’s something I’ll write about separately but trust me when I say the players missed an opportunity for a powerful “illegal” protest where repercussions would have been waived to prevent bad publicity. Now I don’t expect these college educated NBA players to be well versed with Howard Zinn, Franz Fanon or my uncle, nor do I expect them to rejoice in victory when the commissioner gives a lifetime ban to an 80-year-old man. Proceeds of the maximum $2.5 million fine going to organizations dedicated to “anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts” sounds like a potential consulting check for me, however, forcing a sale to give Sterling a ton of liquid that will finance his bucket list of women, hate and revenge — wow!
I wouldn’t be surprised if Sterling got a text from Charlie Sheen that read, “Dude, I’m coming over now #winnning.” While there’s been no official reports that Sheen has signed on to be Sterling’s life coach, if Sterling ever says “Don’t hate me, hate the game,” you’ll know my speculation isn’t farfetched.
Honestly, being forced to sell your team over comments you made in private that was illegally recorded is a “slippery slope” of bullsh*t. Deciding to self-lubricate, Sterling recently hired FOUR private investigation firms to dig up dirt on other owners. To further the funny, he became a game master supposedly giving each PI six-figures and 30 days. When the buzzer goes off, whoever delivers the best soiled bag of laundry wins the ultimate contract to stay on K-9 retainer for the duration of his legal war on the NBA and his estranged wife Shelly. He just put a bounty on every owner (and the two heads they think with) that is neither private nor honorable to a boy’s club omertá. This usually leads to a cascading clusterf**k that does nothing but destroy lives (think about the kids) and empower scorned women to create shows like Basketball Wives (remember when Kobe got caught cheating and told on Shaq’s affairs?). Poor Donald Sterling was basically set up in a broad day brothel raid where he was the only John caught with his pants down. Now he’s going commando!
Hide your illegitimate kids, Sterling has single-handedly put all mistress activity in the NBA on freeze. Meanwhile the phones of Mona Scott-Young and Shaunie O’Neal are probably ringing off the hook. I don’t know what this V. Stiviano character does for a living but I do know how she gets money (notice how I didn’t say how she makes money). Stiviano has chosen a professional path that is quite commonplace in LA — being a “confidant” where a personal sponsor pays for body augmentation and a privileged lifestyle where daily activities revolve around flaunting your sugar daddy endorsement. If you’re lucky, the sponsor is in his twilight years. This allows you to work on getting money from the geezer while making yourself a prime candidate for a younger wealthy suitor. Stiviano has already been linked to Lakers owner Jerry Buss. I assume she just stayed in the building whenever they changed the hardwood (pun intended — and on that note).
“I paid for those titties, get your own!”
-Big Pun “It’s So Hard”
In my codification of women (feminists, relax), I refer to faux-phisticated ladies like Stiviano as “Will Call Girls,” and she is obviously in the upper echelon of her category. Here you have Sterling attending games in the company of his co-owner wife and his minority-stake mistress probably thinking he’s the best player on the court. Apparently, now he traded he’s dating Stiviano’s former best friend. Advice for players, Sterling and other owners: do NOT give these “Will Call Girls” floor seats so they can side-eye your wife while they flaunt the shoes, purse, keys and silicon you bought. Please don’t listen to rappers who say “it ain’t trickin’ if you got it.” That only applies to low hanging fruit, not girls hanging out with Karrine Steffans, the artist formerly known as “Super—-.”
Right now pimps everywhere are shaking their heads, itching to restore order. Show of hands, when you just read the word “pimps,” how many of you thought of Heidi Fleiss? I didn’t think so. What about Wayne Brady’s cameo on Chappelle’s Show? Classic. Well, allow me to inject a quote from BAFTA Best Actor, OBE recipient and Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor in his role as Victor Sweets in the film Four Brothers:
“You don’t pay a hoe to f*ck you. You pay her to leave.”
Nowadays these pros just stay – on Instagram, gossip sites, radio and TV. The NBA is being forced to play a game in a Hunts Point playground. That territory comes with a different set of rules and no referees. It’s already broadcasting live; this is just a game analysis that most aren’t used to hearing. Let’s use Karrine Steffans as a quick case study. She was well “known” amongst most circles of music and sports, so when Oprah Winfrey had her on her show (during a time when Oprah had made comments to snub hip hop), many rolled their eyes. I believe in new beginnings for anybody, but Karrine reverted to doing what she does best. It wasn’t long before names like Bill Maher, Eddie Winslow, Lil’ Wayne and Bobby Brown started coming out her mouth. I’m not proud to be writing about men and women in this manner, but now fans who just want to watch a game with their kids are finding themselves awkwardly explaining a NBA infographic of infidelity, concubine and chattel.
Some of you may take umbrage to my pimp prose, but capitalism is just pimping with a polished justification of exploitation combined with a more calculated oppressive agenda. Here’s a simple hypothetical, let’s say a book publisher only had the budget for one more deal in their fiscal year. If Bomani Jones was slated to do a book based on his extensive journalism regarding Donald Sterling’s history of bigoted business practices — and let’s just say V. Stiviano happened to call the publisher looking to do a tell-all on Sterling — that pimp, I mean publisher, would probably choose the best money maker and not the best writer.
Dan Le Batard: Bomani, did any of this make you angry?
Bomani Jones: (pause) No.
Me: Hmmm… who chose this pic for the still? #thatsracist
Children, here comes the wade in the water. The dirt Sterling is really trying to expose isn’t about adultery, it’s about a standard racist culture. He recently stated:
“The reason Adam Silver is focused on the sale, instead the larger social issue, is because doing so would require him to examine the NBA’s own discriminatory practices, including those that occurred under his many years in leadership.”
WARNING: Put on earmuffs if you can’t handle the metaphor of the American plantation.
A common comment among those with a slave owner mentality is “I’ve been good to you.” People like Sterling and Dan Gilbert have made similar statements regarding how they treat their contracted players. Here’s the thing, if my “talents” are making you a lot of money then your kindness isn’t exactly altruism. Many owners feel betrayed by free agency because they think of black people in particular as property that wouldn’t have amounted to anything if it wasn’t for their generosity. They never care how rooted a player is in the community when they trade them. They are sold up the river and their belongings come by mail.
The NBA Draft is behind us. After a long unpaid performance in college, players approach this day like salvation and owners approach it like an auction block. This is big business that the plantation depends on for years. What happens when the players start to learn all the various ways owners make money off their talent? It’s just not fair that some teams have dynasty revenues while others are forced to suck for so long. That’s what makes Sterling mad. That’s what makes Gilbert mad. Sterling couldn’t give Clippers tickets away for over 25 years. Now that they’re a championship contender, he’s got to sell because some pro who he sponsored taped a private conversation — no the NBA needs to pay way over team value. Cleveland finally has the world’s best player who takes them to the Finals, now he decides to leave just because he can — no the league should supplement that loss because it’s just not fair. Based on the number of times Cleveland has won the lottery since LeBron’s departure, I look at the results of the “blind” bidding for the Clippers with raised eyebrows.
“Donald and their longtime personal attorney, Douglas Walton, decided they would sell the Clippers if they could get $2 billion for the team. Walton sent a letter to the NBA informing it of the arrangement between the Sterlings.” -Ramona Shelbourne, ESPN.com
That’s something the Player’s Association should be more involved in. Instead, during the lockout, you have a president who might have been locking in a coaching job for post-retirement (play on playa, I ain’t mad at cha). Personally, I think in bizarre situations like this, players should be allowed to vote for their owners. Make them interview for the position so they know that the person is passionate about the game and not just their money. The average workplace has become so disproportionately unfair with less merit-based upward mobility, so fans live vicariously through sports because it’s one of the final frontiers of talent-based compensation. Not too long ago there were few to no people of color in the front offices of these organizations. Most of the ones there today are ex-players. Yes it does get racial when talent and management looks like segregation. So make owners earn it because you see how hard it is to remove them. White coaches earn their love and respect from black players and yes that matters because the sport is predominantly black. This black dominance in basketball isn’t about white subjugation, it just is what it is like diversity in Silicon Valley (sidebar: the real reason today’s athlete doesn’t like rank comparisons to athletes in the antenna era is because they feel they’re competing against a more evolved electrolyte athlete — and more blacks). I’m not saying white men can’t jump, I’m just saying no white man has ever won the slam dunk contest. Beyond that, as Americans, how can we really believe in the Dream Team when Congress doesn’t believe in the Dream Act? No wonder a recent study found that approximately 2.5 million Hispanics changed their ethnicity in the U.S. census to “white” or “some other race.” I guess that’s an easier way to mejorar la raza instead of going the Sammy Sosa bleaching route. President Obama is only the fourth sitting president to visit an Indian reservation. Meanwhile, the Washington Redskins are fighting to keep “their” name. So I ask, does the NBA really want to be at the epicenter of a dialogue about race right now?
The dirt Sterling is pursuing is less salacious and more shameful than what the public can bear. It examines the DNA of Strom Thurmond and exhibits others like KKK leader Frazier Glenn Miller (caught with a black male prostitute) who invert their desires and envy with their hate and insecurities. Sterling said he’d rather Stiviano just sleep with Magic Johnson than post pictures with him. Plantation translation, “You’re my ‘kept’ slave with special living arrangements. I can’t have you frolicking in the field with prize bucks when I’m hosting guests.”
Yes, this sounds like the making of spoof porn starring “Swerving Majack Johnson” but underneath the freak show surface is some deep-rooted sh-t. Among the worms you’ll find evidence of things unseen. This dirt validates the kinky testimonies of pimps and prostitutes who know the after hour habits of those sitting on thrones. What’s the difference between a white man using racial slurs while acting out perverted fantasies of an Antebellum South and the white man who just punched V. Stiviano in the face while allegedly calling her a “n*gger bitch?” Does the NBA really want to be part of that conversation?
“Maybe the difference between us is that I never raped your mother, or your sister, or if and when I did… it was not my way of life.” -Uncle Jimmy
I salute LeBron James as a man and a player for being outspoken. I applaud Mark Cuban as a man and an owner for being outspoken. If we’re trying to evolve society, then all is fair when displaying the courage to have honest dialogue. It’s easier to call somebody out on their racist remarks than it is to lower our own hypocrisy quotient when dividing skeletons. I believe love trumps all but I don’t know if Sarah Palin was in love with Glen Rice. We can romanticize the principles of our Founding Fathers and experience a colonial connection while visiting Monticello but through our select re-enactments NO ONE can prove that Sally Hemings loved Thomas Jefferson. See you may be able to handle a talk about race or about sex, but you rarely want to talk about race and sex; especially when a married white bigot is allegedly having an affair with a girl who is half-black and half-Mexican with an identity complex, who doesn’t realize it’s her ethnic look that attracts the men she gets, yet makes disparagingly separatist remarks about her own minority group then gets punched in the face for being one. Self-hate always starts with a nose job, be careful not to spite your face.
Throughout history, many women have been the cause of empires crumbling and Mrs. Sterling may be the most cunning of the cast (let’s pray she’s not sleeping with one of the Koch brothers). Knowing that your enemy’s enemy is your ally, this might be the rarest of rare opportunities for the players to make deals with all parties involved. No one wants to wage war with the players in fear of being labeled racist. Dare I dream of the Clippers being the first player-owned team (49 percent works)? Dick Parson already slid in like the token titan of all industries that he is and now Doc Rivers got a promotion (for preventing a slave revolt) to serve as both president and coach. Let them talk to Steve Ballmer, then to close the deal have every All-Star come in the conference room making the heart symbol with both hands. After you walk in to meet with the commissioner, you should be walking out with a special NBA Cares grant called the “Sterling Silver Loan.” This is by no means a case for reparations but it can be used in States that follow Michigan in banning affirmative action. If you see what I see, a domestic civil war over a capitalist destiny might emancipate… damn, somebody woke me out of my dream.
Come what may, this is going to be a mud wrestling match where everyone is in black face. Regardless of the outcome, I’ll probably be watching the next Clippers game at a bar near you hiding my disappointment and jealousy in jokes while Donald Tokowitz and Rochelle Stein laugh all the way the bank. In the meantime, somebody should find out who owns the oxygen rights over the Staples Center —that ain’t rain. #SterlingsGOT
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T. Better Baldwin is an ethical lobbyist and creative mercenary who was born, raised and resides in New York City. He also lives here.