Magic Johnson has responded to Donald Sterling's repeated attacks, saying he's "going to pray" for the embattled Los Angeles Clippers owner.
In an interview with CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday, the NBA legend admitted he was "blown away" when he first heard Sterling's racist rant during a heated conversion with his female companion V. Stiviano.
"I was in disbelief that he would say these things. And then to throw me into the situation. I don't know the young lady, barely know Donald, so now I'm caught in the middle of this love affair, whatever they have," Johnson said.
The L.A. Lakers icon admitted he was even more surprised when Sterling slammed him again on CNN, during an interview on Monday night.
"When I saw the interview, it's sad, it really is. I'm going to pray for this young man. I hope Donald can see the mistake that he has made and also the people that he has hurt along the way," Johnson said.
"And then, what's really sad, you know, it's not about me. This is about the woman you love outing you and taping you and putting your conversation out here for everybody to know."
Nearly two weeks after the NBA fined Sterling and banned him for life for his racist remarks, Sterling's bizarre interview with Cooper may have done even more harm.
"I'm not a racist," Sterling said, in what seemed to be a good start to the interview. "I made a terrible mistake. I'm here to apologize."
Referring to Johnson, Sterling said, "If I said anything wrong, I'm sorry," adding, "He's a good person. I mean, what am I going to say?"
But things quickly went south. He questioned the NBA Hall-of-Famer's character, asking Cooper, "Well, 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?"
"I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything."
Sterling continued to call out wealthy African-Americans, including Johnson, for not doing enough to help their community.
"That's one problem I have. Jews when they get successful they will help their people and some of the African-Americans—maybe I'll get in trouble again—they don't want to help anybody," he said.
But Johnson told CNN, the 80 year old needs to get his facts straight.
"My whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know I just wish he knew the facts when he's talking," Johnson said. "But he's a man who's upset and he's reaching. He's reaching. He's trying to find something that he can grab on to help him save his team. And it's not going to happen. ... I'm a God-fearing man and I'm going to pray for him and hope things work out for him."
As CNN noted, Johnson has raised more than $20 million for charity and given out almost $4 million in scholarships to minorities.
He is also chairman of the Magic Johnson Foundation, which works to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS through awareness and education.