Basketball great Michael Jordan has admitted he was a racist as a teenager and was against "all white people".
In an excerpt from his new book, Jordan says the strong presence of the Ku Klux Klan in his home state of North Carolina led him to develop an aversion to white people.
Jordan was a talented baseball player before he took up basketball and says he was made to feel inferior as one of only two black children on the team.
He says the television series Roots, which details the suffering of his African-American ancestors, enabled him to understand more about race relations.
The now 51-year-old says his anger spilled over in 1977 when a girl at school called him a n*****.
"So I threw a soda at her," he says in Michael Jordan: The Life, by Ronald Lazenby.
"I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people."
Jordan was suspended from school for the incident and says his mother convinced him to abandon his racial hatred.
The revelations come at a time when racism is a hot topic in American sport.
Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was last week banned for life for racist comments he made to his girlfriend.
Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Bobcats NBA team, was scathing in his criticism of Sterling.
"I look at this from two perspectives — as a current owner and a former player. As an owner, I'm obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views," Jordan said.
"As a former player, I'm completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA — or anywhere else — for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed.
"I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level," he said.