Atlanta Hawks exec Dominique Wilkins -- former NBA great -- tells TMZ Sports ... he's not surprised by Donald Sterling's racist comments ... claiming racism is still a huge problem in the United States.
"As a VP for the Hawks it is appalling to wake up to this story," Wilkins says ... "It is in no way anything that I know MY NBA at ANY level to promote, condone or harbor behind closed doors or openly."
But Wilkins explains, "As a black man living in the South, this is not something that is a surprise. Racism is prevalent, still a problem and something that can NOT be taken lightly in ANY context!”
He continues, "As a former Clipper, I feel for the community of LA. It is a melting pot of culture and ALL races. For Clipper fans, staff and players, I do hope this is dealt with swiftly and justly. It is just totally disappointing."