Magic Johnson has finally responded to Donald Sterling's vicious attack -- telling us the disgraced Clippers owner is deeply troubled ... and is in desperate need of help.
Johnson just called in to "TMZ Live" ... and fired back at Sterling's allegations that he ignores the black community ... telling us he's dedicated his life -- and billions of dollars -- to giving back.
"I'm a proud black man. I'm a leader in the black community and I take that role seriously," Johnson said.
Magic says ... instead of attacking Sterling, he thinks the guy needs help -- and says he is praying for him. Though he points out Sterling has NOT once truly apologized to him or the black community.
Johnson also says Sterling is pissed at the wrong person -- telling us, "He should point the anger at the young woman."
In the end, Magic says he's very secure with himself and won't let Sterling's comments bring him down -- saying, "It's sad. We just got to pray for him."