An interview that was supposed to be an attempt at rehabilitation instead had Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling facing fresh rebukes as he went from apologising for recent racist remarks to slamming Magic Johnson, repeatedly bringing up the ex-NBA star's HIV status and calling him an unfit role model for children.
"He's got Aids!" Sterling said loudly at one point in the interview, cutting off CNN's Anderson Cooper as the interviewer tried to cite Johnson's accomplishments after Sterling asked: "What has he done, big Magic Johnson, what has he done?"
The comments earned Sterling quick condemnation from the league, which was already trying to rid itself of the owner.
Commissioner Adam Silver, who gave Sterling a lifetime ban and a US$2.5 million fine, said: "While Magic Johnson doesn't need me to, I feel compelled on behalf of the NBA family to apologise to him that he continues to be dragged into this situation and be degraded by such a malicious and personal attack."
Johnson, who is scheduled to appear on Cooper's show to reply, wrote on his Twitter account that: "I'd rather be talking about these great NBA play-offs than Donald Sterling's interview."
At one stage, Sterling changed course during the interview to call Johnson "a good person", but soon resumed his criticism. "He acts so holy," he said. "He made love to every girl in every city in America, and he had Aids, and when he had those Aids, I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hope he could live and be well. I didn't criticise him … Is he an example for children?
Cooper corrected Sterling, explaining that Johnson was HIV-positive but did not have "full-blown Aids".
"What kind of a guy goes to every city, has sex with every girl, then he catches HIV? Is that someone we want to respect, and tell our kids about?" Sterling said. "He should be ashamed of himself."