Look for Elgin Baylor's Vindication Tour to start today. It might be a short one.
Baylor, one of the greatest talents and worst self-promoters in NBA history, is also the biggest winner in the public undoing of L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Baylor spent 22 years as the Clippers' general manager, and in 2009 he tried letting the world know about his former boss's "pervasive and ongoing racist attitude" and "plantation" mentality in a lawsuit filed against Sterling. He was unable to convince a jury that the claims were valid.
If the court of public opinion could reverse that decision, it would this week, based on some new, rather damning evidence. Baylor was not ready for the media barrage that followed the release of the Sterling tape.
"He doesn't have a publicist yet," says Hugh Dodson, a Los Angeles talent manager and friend of Baylor's who was thrown into fielding press calls when the blitz came over the weekend. "We'll get one." Dodson said last night that Baylor has turned down all interview requests thus far (including mine), and that the plan was for Baylor to "sleep on it" and choose this morning which "national news program" will get his first sit-down on the Sterling matter.
Every major network has called. Baylor hasn't yet decided whether he'll keep talking after that.
"He's reticent to do any interviews," Dodson says, "but this is a high-value opportunity for him. This is truly vindication. I think he's up for it. Not in a high-energy aggressive way, but he realizes this is an opportunity to be the chairman emeritus, elder statesman of the NBA, and to comment on how long [Sterling's racist ways have] been going on and been a part of his life."
Photo via AP