Dooling: NBA can 'grow' from Sterling comments

Dooling: NBA can 'grow' from Sterling comments
April 28, 2014, 6:00 pm
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BOSTON -- On Tuesday afternoon, NBA commissioner Adam Silver plans to reveal the league's plan for dealing with Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling following racist comments attributed to him over the weekend on an audio recording released by TMZ.

As deplorable as Sterling's comments regarding his then-girlfriend associating with African-Americans publicly may have been, it has created a firestorm of discussions about race relations - a good thing, says former Boston Celtic Keyon Dooling.

"Most of our guys have dealt with racism on one level or another, or several different ways, myself included," Dooling told in a phone interview on Monday. "So when there's an opportunity to pull back the shade a little bit and let everybody else see that kind of thinking, that these kind of things are in place, it makes more significant the need to have these talks so we can move forward from this in a positive manner."

In addition to playing for the Celtics, Dooling also spent his first four seasons (2000-2004) in the NBA with the Clippers.

While Dooling said he had not experienced any verbal forms of racism as a Clippers player, he did acknowledge that the locker room environment was at times uncomfortable because of Sterling.

"When we saw [Sterling], it was only in an entertainment capacity," Dooling said. "He would come into the locker room when we were half-dressed before the media [before games], with his friends, all these weird people dancing, partying in our locker room while we're half naked."

Since Sterling's alleged comments went public over the weekend, it has slowly created a wider discourse for discussing other race-related matters relative to the NBA and society as a whole. 

And regardless of how one feels about Sterling, Dooling sees this entire incident bringing about a greater good both for the league.

"It's a teaching point," Dooling said. "There are still some layers, some walls up that need to be broken down."

Dooling has talked with several players, current and former, since the news of Sterling's comments became public.

"Current players, former players, people in the barbershop, my Jewish friends . . . I've talked to a lot of people and nobody likes it," Dooling said. "Nobody thinks it's right. Nobody thinks it's acceptable.

Dooling added, "But all agree it's something that we can learn from and grow from. Hopefully that's what will happen when all is said and done."