(Photo: Reuters/Lucy Nicholson)
In the wake of Donald Sterling's accusations against Magic Johnson on Monday that he was a bad role model for Los Angeles youth, the former NBA star issued a response saying that he would pray for the Clippers' owner.
Johnson, who called Sterling's remarks during an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN "disturbing," defended his body of work, and brushed off his claims, adding "I'm not going to sit here and let Donald Sterling disrupt my day, my year, my month. I'm a guy that's very secure with myself."
The former NBA great and current owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Sparks told TMZ on Tuesday that he had "invested over a billion dollars in urban America."
Additionally, Johnson said he was responsible for putting 50,000 minorities to work, building 18 technology centers nationwide to give students without computers access and sending 10,000 minorities to college through his foundation.
"I'm proud of my work," he said. "I know the things I've done in urban America and for people."
On Monday's broadcast, Sterling, 80, told the host that "If I said anything wrong, I'm sorry."
He added, "[Johnson's] a good person. I mean, what am I going to say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don't think so. But I'll say it, he's great. But I don't think he's a good example for the children of Los Angeles."
Johnson, who is HIV-positive, was also accused by Sterling of having AIDS.
"What kind of guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then catches HIV?" Sterling told Anderson Cooper. "I think he should be ashamed of himself."
After Sterling's interview last night, Johnson tweeted, "After this week, no more Sterling talk. Just the NBA Playoffs, my @Dodgers and my @LA_Sparks!"
Johnson was also interviewed by CNN, in an episode screened Tuesday night. In clips released Tuesday afternoon, Johnson characterized Sterling as a man "who's upset and he's reaching."
"He's reaching. He's trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it's not going to happen. ... I'm a God-fearing man and I'm going to pray for him and hope things work out for him," he continued.
Johnson also told TMZ Tuesday morning that he had counseled Sterling after the fallout to apologize immediately and try to make the situation go away.
Sterling, a Jewish lawyer and real estate investor, was being banned for life from NBA proceedings by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver last month. After TMZ released audio of Sterling telling his alleged former mistress V. Stiviano not to associate with black people, the NBA fined him $2.5 million and said he was working to oust Sterling as owner of the Clippers, needing a 75 percent vote from other NBA team owners.