Donald Sterling's racist comments and subsequent ban from the NBA have become national headlines, talk show fodder, newspaper column material and late-night punchlines. They have also served as painful personal reminders.
Alaa Abdelnaby is an Egyptian-born American who played in the NCAA Final Four at Duke and in the NBA Finals as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. This week on The David Glenn Show he offered a glimpse at what some of the Clippers players might have felt in recent days.
"It reminded me of something sad and unfortunate," said Abdelnaby, now a basketball analyst and broadcaster for CBS Sports. Abdelnaby described a dinner at one of his team owners' homes. Abdelnaby played for five different NBA teams, and he did not name the owner nor the team. At the dinner, he said, the host pointed out some foreign writing on a rug he owned and, believing it was Arabic, assumed Abdelnaby might be able to translate. Alaa informed him that it was Persian writing.
The owner's reply: "Nonetheless, it probably says kill all the Arabs."
"I remember him laughing, and the rest of the room, because it was mostly front-office people, they were laughing as well," said Abdelnaby. "I couldn't eat. I didn't have any dessert. I was the first one to leave. I remember driving home for an hour and a half afterwards completely numb."
As for whether or not Sterling's comments affected the Clippers' play (they lost 118-97 to the Clippers in the game immediately following the first news), Abdelnaby said there's no way he could not have been affected by what he heard.
"When it comes from someone like that, in that position, where his name is on your checks - literally - it's disturbing. It's sad. It disillusions you," said Abdlenaby. "There's a part of me that plays for you, and that part of me is dying away quickly."
Click below to hear the audio.