BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - Elgin Baylor is taking his game to a different court.
One day after filing a discrimination suit against the Los Angeles Clippers and the NBA, Baylor provided insight into his action against the team for whom he served as general manager for 22 years and the league in which he excelled as a player for 14 seasons.
''The way I was treated by the NBA and the Clippers was unfair and in many ways discriminatory, it was wrong,'' said Baylor, reading from a prepared statement at a news conference at the office of his lawyer, Carl Douglas. ''We are forced to take this action because our effort to resolve this dispute quietly were ignored.
''So I look forward to having my day in court.''
Flanked by a four-person legal team and his wife Elaine, the 74-year-old Baylor - a member of basketball's Hall of Fame - suggested he had endured a bizarre working arrangement with the Clippers and owner Donald Sterling that turned sour in recent years with the team trying to force him out.
''I worked with the Clipper organization on a contract for only my first six years, until 1993, after that it was if I had passed the smell test,'' said Baylor, the team's GM until October 2008. ''For the remainder of the time I was told I did not need a formal written agreement.
''Donald Sterling always informed me whenever I asked about my contract situation and my salary, that I was a 'lifer', that I would remain with the Clipper family until I decided to retire.''
Baylor claims that although coach Mike Dunleavy was rewarded with a lucrative contract following the Clippers' run to the playoffs in 2006, Sterling did not provide any economic reward to Baylor for his efforts as GM.
''The team I pushed Donald Sterling to assemble made it to the second round of the playoffs exceeding everyone's expectations,'' said Baylor. ''I was honoured by the Sporting News to be named the NBA executive of the year.
''The team's coach was acknowledged and rewarded with a long-term contract worth over US$20 million. When I asked (Sterling) if he was going to take care of me, he said nothing, he offered me nothing, he did nothing, no salary increase, no bonus nothing.''
Baylor further claims to have discovered in 2008 that Dunleavy had been secretly assigned many of his duties and the team was trying to force him to retire.
''This past August I was handed an agreement and told to 'take it or leave it.' Given that I had invested so much to the Clippers and the NBA I was traumatized by this situation and today I remain mentally and emotionally devastated,'' said Baylor. ''I did not retire, I have so much more to give.''
Baylor filed his 22-page complaint Wednesday in the Superior Court for the County of Los Angles. The action alleges race and age discrimination against the Clippers, Sterling, club president Andy Roeser and the NBA.