What Was Donald Sterling Like As a Boss? Ask the South Dakota Native Who Played For Him
A few years before Mike Miller came along, South Dakota’s biggest connection to the NBA was former Rapid City Stevens standout Eric Piatkowski, who went from the Black Hills to the University of Nebraska to a 14-year career in the pros – nine of which with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Piatkowski didn’t just play for Donald Sterling’s team, he played more games in a Clippers uniform than any one else in the history of the franchise – 616 games in all.
That sounded like him. He’s an older guy, and he always looked down on people around him. We (players) were pawns for him. Another investment.
Piatkowski, who lives in Omaha these days, was drafted by Indiana in 1994 and then traded that day to the Clippers, played for the soon-to-be ex-owner of the team until 2003, when he was traded to the Golden State Warriors.
He says he never personally heard Sterling say anything racist, but did quickly find out frugal his new employer was:
One day after I first got there, our trainer pulled me aside and said, ‘You want to know how cheap this guy is?’ The trainer said (Sterling) pulled him aside in the training room last year and wanted to know what the biggest expense was for.
The trainer told him it was tape and pre-wrap.
He said, ‘Do you really need that much tape?’ ”
The trainer said, ‘Well, there are 82 games.’
And Sterling said, ‘Is there any way you could reuse it?’ The trainer just said, ‘I’ll let you know.’
That’s Donald Sterling.
The guy has a billion dollars and he wants to reuse tape.
As for Sterling being forced by the NBA to give up the Clippers, Piatkowski said he would be surprised if his former boss doesn’t use all of that money he saved on tape to fight the league in court.
Piatkowski led Stevens to the 1989 ‘AA’ Championship and still ranks in the Top Five in ‘AA’ scoring in South Dakota history.