Originally posted at 3:45 p.m. May 8, 2014. Edited with new details.
A website made public today an audio recording it says is of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling denying he is racist and vowing not to buckle to demands to sell the team.
"You think I'm a racist?" an emotional Sterling asks in the audio obtained by the website Radar Online. "You think I have anything in the world but love for everybody?
"You don't think that," Sterling says. "You know I'm not a racist."
Radar Online officials said the recording was made by an unidentified Sterling friend who provided an affidavit confirming the voice on the recording was Sterling's.
The recording continued: "I mean, how could you think I'm a racist knowing me all these years? How can you be in this business and be a racist? Do you think I tell the coach to get white players, or to get the best player he can get?"
Sterling said growing up in Boyle Heights made him aware of the need for racial tolerance.
"I grew up in East L.A.," he said. "I was president of the high school there. I mean, I'm a Jew. And 50 percent of the people there were black and 40 percent were Hispanic. So, I mean, people must have a good feeling for me."
Sterling has been under fire since April 26, when the website TMZ released a recording in which he chastises associate V. Stiviano for an Instagram photo of her with Dodgers star Matt Kemp and Dodgers part-owner Earvin "Magic" Johnson. He told her not to bring black people to "my games."
"It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people," the 80-year-old billionaire told Stiviano.
National Basketball Association Commissioner Adam Silver responded on April 29 by banning Sterling from the NBA for life, barring him from having any association with the team and fining him an league-maximum $2.5 million.
Silver urged the NBA's Board of Governors to "exercise its authority to force a sale of the team and will do everything in my power to ensure that that happens." Silver said he was confident he would have sufficient support among the other league owners to force a sale.
Sterling insisted in the Radar Online audio that he will not give up the Clippers without an extended legal fight.
"You can't force someone to sell property in America," he says. "I'm a lawyer, that's my opinion."
Sterling bought the Clippers in 1981 for about $12 million and moved them to Los Angeles from San Diego. The franchise recently was valued at between $575 million and $700 million.
Sterling's estranged wife, Clippers co-owner Shelly Sterling, said she believes she legally is entitled to maintain ownership of the team and will attempt to do so even as the NBA pushes to remove her husband from the team.
Shelly Sterling described her long tenure as a "die-hard" fan of the Clippers and said she believes the sanctions against Donald Sterling do not apply to "me or my family," the Los Angeles Times reported.
Shelly Sterling's position presents a "wild card" for the NBA as it faces its biggest crisis in memory, a league official who declined to be identified said.
--City News Service