LOS ANGELES (CN) – NBA Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor filed a race and age discrimination suit against the Los Angeles Clippers and the National Basketball Association. Baylor, a longtime general manager of the Clippers, claims owner Donald Sterling wanted his team to consist of “poor black boys from the South” and a white head coach. Baylor also says he was not allowed to negotiate with players during his 22 years in management because he “pursued fair compensation for African American players.”
In his Superior Court complaint, Baylor claims Sterling and Clippers Executive Vice-President Andy Roeser campaigned to get Baylor “to retire or quit, using ageist comments, including repeatedly asking plaintiff his age” and asking him when he planned to give up the job that Sterling had once said was Baylor’s as long has he wanted it.
Baylor was fired last August despite being named NBA Executive of the Year in 2006.
Baylor said his salary had “been frozen at a comparatively paltry $350,000 since 2003” while white general managers made millions.
After the Clippers made the playoffs in 2006, “the Caucasian head coach” was given a $22 million four-year contract but Baylor got no reward, he says.
Baylor also claims that before the team hired current coach Mike Dunleavy, Baylor recommended Paul Silas, a black coach. “However, in ambush fashion on the day before Mr. Silas was to arrive in Los Angeles for the interview, Sterling informed Mr. Baylor that he did not want Mr. Silas coaching his team and would not meet with him if he came to LA (reinforcing that the racial structure remained important to him),” the complaint states.
Baylor, who made the Hall of Fame for his 13 years as a forward with the Lakers, is represented by attorneys Alvin Pittman and Carl Douglas.