PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - In his 44 years of association with the NBA, Celtics legend Dave Cowens has seen the league transform from being predominantly white to a makeup of more than 30 different nationalities with 75 percent of the rosters comprised of African-Americans. Clippers owner Donald Sterling infamously wasn't on par with the league's progressive nature of racial and social acceptance.
After Sterling's racist rant seized the national sports and news spotlight, he was subsequently fined $2.5 million and banned from the NBA for life with league commissioner Adam Silver stating he would begin the process of removing Sterling from of the league altogether by forcing a sale of the team.
While Cowens was shocked by Sterling's remarks and applauded Silver's actions, he still can't understand what would cause Sterling to feel that way.
"I'd like to know what was going on in his mind. That would be the learning point the teaching moment for everyone, but I think you know we all have some jealousies and envies and a little bit of arrogance inside. If we can like just look at ourselves and let's all of us do a better job. Then we can get to the point where don't have these kind of feelings," Cowens said.
It' was the second major shift he'd seen in competitive basketball. As a freshman at Florida State in 1966, there wasn't a single black athlete. As a senior, he was the only white starter.
"We were known affectionately as the busted flush. In four years everything changed. So, living through that I still can't understand what's the big deal." he said.
Cowens, who's lived on Sebago Lake for the past four years, won two NBA titles with Boston (1974, '78), the league's most valuable player award (1973), the rookie of the year award (1971), and was voted as one of the NBA's 50 greatest players