Some of the best radio in the Bay Area comes from stories about a team in Los Angeles. Tom Tolbert spent only one year with the Clippers, but the 1993-94 season has provided over a decade of material.
Most of the stories pertain to how cheap the organization was. For example, the team held practices at the YMCA, and Tolbert once had to run over to the restroom to get a handful of granulated, powdery hand soap to wash himself with because the team didn’t feel the need to supply the showers with soap of any kind (or towels). Since the Clippers finished 27-55 that year, Tolbert also has plenty of anecdotes about the team (which also included Mark Jackson, Ron Harper, Mark Aguirre, Danny Manning and Dominique Wilkins) collectively not giving a crap.
The recorded comments made by Donald Sterling and subsequently published by TMZ and Deadspin alerted a new generation of fans and players to something we all either knew or should’ve known all along — the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers is a racist scumbag. Tolbert is wondering what took everyone so long, and today KNBR’s afternoon drive time host mentioned a specific instance when Sterling made Tolbert uncomfortable for a variety of reasons.
Story transcribed by @LOLKNBR:
“People know how I feel about him who have listened to any portion of the radio show over the last 16 years. He’s a BOOB, is what he is. He’s a racist. He’s a bigot. I was just shocked that more people either didn’t know, or feigned that they didn’t know. I thought that was common knowledge.
“I always felt like he treated players as commodities. When he introduced me at a golf tournament — you know, sponsors are there and stuff — I had just signed that year and he brings me up there and he introduced me to the people and he starts grabbing my arm, like, ‘This is our new power forward, look at how big and strong he is.’
“And he was testing my biceps and shoulders and my back. And like he tells me how big and strong I am, and he said, ‘You’re big and strong. You’ll be able to compete with the blacks.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ I wasn’t even sure I had heard it right. Like, ‘What are you talking about?’
“I wanted zero, ZERO to do with him when I was there.”
As if there wasn’t already enough evidence that Sterling considered himself somewhat of a modern day slave master. Just thinking about Tolbert standing in front of a bunch of people, with the man who paid for his services poking and prodding him while referring to NBA players as if they were different breeds of livestock, is 100-octane cringe fuel.