10 Things You Didn’t Know About Donald Sterling


You may not have known his name just days ago, but now it seems like the whole world is talking about Donald Sterling.  Before the racist rant he’s better known for these days, the Los Angeles Clippers owner was best known for owning the basketball team since 1981 – and surprise, this isn’t the first time he has been accused of racism. Most recently, Sterling was caught on record saying some highly unsavory comments in an apparent argument with a woman. The recording, which was released by TMZ on Friday, features a man believed to be Sterling who asks a woman identified as his girlfriend, V. Stiviano (who is half African American and half Mexican), not to publicly associate with African Americans.

Here are 10 things you didn’t know about the Donald Sterling:

1. He was born Donald Tokowitz in 1933 to immigrant parents and grew up in the low-income neighborhood of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles.

2. He ended up attending Southwestern Law School, which he paid for by working as a salesman at a furniture shop. There he met and eventually married the owner’s daughter, Rochelle. The pair have been married for over 50 years and have three children together.  It should also be noted that they are separated and his wife has filed a lawsuit against his girlfriend Victoria Stiviano.

3. When he was in his 20s, he changed his last name to Sterling; a name he believed people would have “confidence” in, a former coworker told Los Angeles magazine.

4. Sterling began his career as a personal injury and divorce lawyer in 1961, and gradually moved into real estate where he amassed his fortune, which Forbes estimates to be $1.9 billion.

5. He acquired the San Diego Clippers in 1981, paying $12.7 million for the entire team.

6. During his time as the owner of the franchise, he’s encountered numerous lawsuits, most of which were settled privately, including a harassment case like the one in 1996 by a former employee named Christine Jaksy.

7.  The NAACP, which Sterling donates to, handed Sterling his first award in 2009.

8. Earlier in 2003, he was involved in a federal suit in which he was accused of unfairly evicting minorities from his properties.

9. Former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor filed a discrimination suit, which claimed, among other things, that Sterling repeatedly told him his team was fielding “poor African American boys from the South … playing for a white coach.” The case was later thrown out by a jury in 2011.

10. A sworn testimony by his property supervisor alleged Sterling made racially charged comments against African Americans and Mexicans.  The case was resolved in a private settlement in 2005, according to ESPN.

Photo by Robert Mora/Getty Images

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