Basketball fans protest against racist comments made by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling in Los Angeles. Photo: Lionel Hahn

Basketball fans protest against racist comments made by LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling in Los Angeles. Photo: Lionel Hahn

Disgraced basketball team owner Donald Sterling has said he’ll “never do it again” in his first interview since being covertly recorded telling his mixed-race girlfriend not to associate with black people or invite them to games.

The owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, who was subsequently shunned by his own team, banned for life by the sport’s governing body and fined for making racist comments, used the interview with CNN to publicly apologise.

When asked why it had taken him a month to say sorry for the rant, during which he compared the treatment of black people in Israel to the treatment of dogs, the tycoon replied that it was because he had been “emotionally distraught”.

He added: “I made a mistake and I am apologising and asking for forgiveness. I love my league, I love my partners. Am I entitled to one mistake? It’s a terrible mistake, and I’ll never do it again.”