By Scott T. Sterling

Rob Halford has made a career out of defying expectations.

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After more than four decades of fronting the pioneering heavy metal band Judas Priest, Halford still has the power to surprise, as he did recently during an interview with when he declared a genuine passion for basketball, specifically the NBA.

“It’s the speed and it’s the skill. And if you’ve ever watched it live, these big giant guys, 7-foot, running up and down the court. I don’t know how they do it,” Halford marveled. “It’s just this remarkable feat. They’re so agile and athletic…it’s just a very exciting game. Of all the sports that I know of, I can’t get enough of basketball.”

Halford was far more conflicted at the mention of embattled former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was ousted from his position by the NBA after recordings of him making inflammatory and racist statements were leaked to the press.

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“You just don’t know,” he pondered. “Parts of me feels some sympathy for the guy, some parts of me feels that he was stupid, some parts of me feels she’s a gold digger,” he added in regards to V. Stiviano, the woman who leaked the recordings. “Some parts of me feels she’s really smart and she’ll soon have her own reality TV show. But the actual substance of [the recordings] was very, very hurtful. There’s no time for that in today’s world, and regardless of whether this guy’s from another generation, that’s not the point. You have to face the facts and deal with the issues and stamp it out the best you can.”

Watch Halford and Judas Priest guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner talk all things sports, including which song on the band’s upcoming new album Halford thinks would make for an ideal NBA theme (hint: it’s one of the bonus tracks).

Redeemer of Souls  is due out on July 8, and is available for iTunes pre-order here.


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