Charles Smith played for the Los Angeles Clippers from 1988 to 1992.
He says the owner, Donald Sterling, was an interesting person to work for back then.
“He was a pretty interesting guy to deal with,” said Smith. “He would speak down to people in a demeaning tone.”
Smith, who also played for the New York Knicks and San Antonio Spurs, says he will never forget an awkward moment he had with Sterling during his second season.
“I tried to shake his hand after a tough loss and he turned his back to me and left my hand out there,” said Smith, “and I looked around the room and everyone was looking at me.”
Smith agrees with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s decision to fine Sterling $2.5 million and ban him for life. Smith says more work needs to be done, including other team owners voting Sterling out of the league for good.
Smith played with current Clippers coach Doc Rivers during the Los Angeles race riots. He says Rivers understands the situation and there is no coach in the league who is better equipped to handle this situation.