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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Special Report: Interview with Donald Sterling; Interview with Magic Johnson
Aired May 16, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 SPECIAL HOST: Hey, good evening. Welcome to this AC360 Special Report. We just got word that Donald Sterling has sent a letter to the NBA saying he will not pay the $2.5 million fine and he's rejecting his lifetime ban. So, it looks like there's gonna be a legal fight. At least the beginning of one. Tonight, my exclusive interview with Donald Sterling and you're also hear from Magic Johnson who got brought into this by Donald Sterling. We heard from Sterling for the first time this week since he was banned from the NBA from making those racist comments. I sat down with LA Clippers owner in his Beverly Hills home.
There were no ground rules nothing was off limits, and there was no PR entourage telling him what to say or when to stop. There was no lawyer of his presence. He was apologetic denied that he's a racist, and said he was baited to say things he never otherwise would have. But he also said a lot of shocking things. His comments about Magic Johnson in particular, I'm sure, will be deeply offensive to a lot of people. And as I said later this hour, you'll also hear from Magic Johnson who sat down with me to respond to what Sterling said. But first, I wanna quickly set the stage about how we got here. It started, of course with those audio recordings released on line to TMZ Sports of Sterling talking to a woman named V. Stiviano. To the following clip, he's talking about a picture she posted on Instagram of her with Magic Johnson.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
V. STIVIANO: He happens to be black, and I'm sorry.
DONALD STERLING: I think it's nice that you admire him, I known him well and he should be admired. And I'm just saying that it's too bad that you can't admire him privately. Enduring your entire (bleep) life, you're whole life admiring him, bring him here, feed him. (bleep) I don't care. You can do anything But don't put him on an Instagram for the world to have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him into my games.
STIVIANO: People call you and tell you that I have black people on my Instagram and it bothers you.
STERLING: Yeah, it bothers me a lot. If you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people. Do you have to?
STIVIANO: You associate with black people. STERLING: I'm not you, and you're not me. You're supposed to be a delicate wife or a delicate Latina girl. If you don't feel it, don't come to my games, don't bring black people and don't come.
STIVIANO: Do you know that you have a whole team that's black that plays for you?
STERLING: You just -- do I know? I support them and give them food, and clothes, and cars, and houses, who gives it to them? Does someone else give it to them? Do I know that I have? Who makes the game? Do I make the game or do they make the game? Is there 30 owners that create the league?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, for the first hour of my interview with Donald Sterling which lasted about an hour and 20 minutes he repeatedly apologized for what he said on those recordings. Now you can judge for yourself tonight whether you think his apology is sincere. In this fist part of the interview he try to answer the question at the heart of it all. Is he a racist?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: I'm not a racist. I've made a terrible, terrible mistake. And I'm here with you today to apologize and to ask for forgiveness for all of the people that I've hurt. And I have hurt so many people. So, many innocent people. And I've hurt myself. You know. I spoke to a girl that I was found of, And I don't know why I could never -- when I listen to that tape, I don't even know how I could say words like that. I'm not a racist. I love people. I always have. But those words came out of my mouth, I guess. And I'm so sorry and I am so apologetic.
COOPER: What are you sorry about?
STERLING: Well, I'm so sorry that so many people are hurt. My little grandchild goes to a catholic nursery and they were passing around candy to everybody. When they got to her they said we don't give candy to racists. Seven and nine. So, it hurts me. I hurt my ex-wife. She is a beautiful person. She goes to the hospital and she is a volunteer at Cedars Sinai. When I went to law school she worked at the children's hospital. She's a giver. She works at this stage in her life she still works. She didn't need this. Her whole life blew up.
COOPER: Are you talking about Shelly?
STERLING: Shelly, yes. I never dreamed that this could happen. It is a terrible, terrible nightmare.
COOPER: Let me ask you -- let's start by talking about the tape. Did you know you were being recorded?
STERLING: No, of course not. Of course not. No. COOPER: Do you know when it was recorded? Were you together in a room with V. Stiviano?
STERLING: Yes, well, I remember some of the dialogue in the living room.
COOPER: So, it was just you and her in the room?
STERLING: And just the two of us, yes.
COOPER: So, you didn't know she was recording or there was a recording device?
STERLING: No, I didn't know she was recording. And she was talking so strange, all of a sudden about politics. But I wanna explain a couple of things that I said. One of the things that I said was, don't bring blacks to my game. Well, there's 25 percent of my whole game are black people. And I love them. She would always use the word black. That's a black girl, that's a black guy. This is black, that's black. So, when she said to me I'm gonna bring four gorgeous black guys to the game, players, she was referring to, either football or basketball I was a little jealous maybe...
COOPER: When did she say that?
STERLING: Just before. And I said to her, don't bring them to the game, because of my jealousy, I mean. In any event, she never brought anybody to the game. It was like she was baiting me to say things.
COOPER: You're saying she -- before the recording that we heard, she had said she was gonna bring four black players and she specifically said black players.
COOPER: And you're saying that's what this conversation spark from, stemmed from?
STERLING: Yes. And so, I used her words. I mean, I really have to apologize to all of the people that have been hurt. For them to hear that I am a possible racist. Is so painful to me because I'm not a racist. And I've never been a racist. It's not me.
COOPER: When you saw take of their -- wear their warm-up jerseys reversed that the name Clipper wasn't on it that first game, what did you think?
STERLING: I really didn't pay attention to.. They are Clippers and they're mine and I'm theirs. That's how I feel. I would do anything for them. I made a mistake, I hope it's in their heart to forgive me for that mistake. I didn't mean it. I said a few words. I don't know why the girl had me say those things?
COOPER: You're saying you were set up?
STERLING: Yes, I was baited. I mean, that is not the way I talk. I don't talk about people for one thing, ever, I talk about ideas and other things. But I don't talk about people.
COOPER: Do you know how the tape got released?
COOPER: Do you think she did it?
STERLING: It's -- I don't know. I mean, an 80-year-old man is kind of foolish and I'm kind of foolish. I thought she liked me and really cared for me. I guess being 50 years -- 51 years older than her I was deluding myself.
COOPER: Were you in a relationship with her, an intimate relationship?
STERLING: Well, I don't know what you mean by intimate.
COOPER: She said she were not. She told Barbara Walters that you were not. That she is your protector, she's your right hand.
STERLING: I don't think a gentleman should discuss his, you know, any of the personal items that go on with a woman. And I don't want to answer that particular question.
COOPER: Do you trust her now?
STERLING: No, I don't trust her. And I just wish I could ask her why? And if she was just setting me up, I think that people say she was taping me for two years. So, maybe I was just fooling myself thinking for two years that she cared for me. She certainly acted like it.
COOPER: Her lawyer had made a statement that she was your archivist.
STERLING: What does that mean? I mean, I'm too young for archives.
COOPER: You don't want to have your story written just yet?
COOPER: So, you didn't know the tape was being made. When you first heard that the tape was released did you automatically remember making those statements?
STERLING: No. No.
COOPER: A lawyer of hers claims that she gave some of the recordings to friends and that one of the friends sold it to TMZ. Do you believe that?
STERLING: I really don't know.
COOPER: Did you say to somebody that you should have paid V. Stiviano off?
COOPER: Did she ask you for money? Would you believe she was trying to extort money from you in any way?
STERLING: You know, forgive me for saying this but she -- she is a good person. She is a beautiful person. There's 15 of her, 15 children, 15 Hispanic kids, sisters and brothers. And she supports them all. Perhaps she has made some mistakes. I thought she cared for me. I was stupid. How could a girl care for a man 51 years older. She didn't or she wouldn't have released those tapes. But she is not a bad person. You know, she has to survive. She is a street person. But inside, she is a good person. Here is somebody comes along who is sweet, charming. Just everything you liked in a woman. Did you ever find a woman that had everything you liked?
COOPER: No. I didn't.
STERLING: Everything I liked she had.
STERLING: I hope you do.
COOPER: Well, I'm doing all right.
STERLING: I don't really want to talk about her, I want to talk about me and the mistakes that I made and I want to correct them.
COOPER: OK, let's talk about you then. Let's talk about the tape itself, let's talk about the actual statement.
STERLING: I'm responsible. I wanted to apologize also to my partners. I have 29 partners in the league. That's a wonderful league. I respect them and I love every owner. Every owner knows me. I love the commissioner. I'm sure that it's terribly difficult for him to impose severe punishment. Because he knows me so well. But here he is trying his best to be actually believes in doing everything in their power to eliminate it, you know, racism. And here he's sitting there behind his desk I guess and the explosion comes on his desk. And I feel bad that I caused it. The players...
COOPER: The players on your team though said they don't want to work for you.
STERLING: Let me just say that I apologize to the league. People want me to hire a wall of lawyers and them to hire a wall of lawyers and to go to war. I don't think that's the answer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Up next, more about Donald Sterling's claim that it was not about race. He says he was just jealous that this woman he was interested in was bringing other men to games. I pressed him on that. Also had the shocking things that Donald Sterling said about Magic Johnson and we'll have Magic Johnson's reaction.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: I just don't think he's a good example for the children of Los Angeles. That he would go and do what he did. And then get AIDS. I mean, come on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Welcome back to the AC360 special report. This is the first time that Donald Sterling has spoken publicly on the record since he was banned from the NBA for making racist comments. In Sterling's analysis he's not a racist. He was just jealous because the woman he was interested in was bringing other guys to the games. We also talked about his future with the Clippers and when we spoke Sterling seems to think that he can maintain ownership despite all that's happened. Is he delusional or some may suggested in denial? Well, you can judge for your self.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Here is what I don't understand. I get you were saying you were jealous, you didn't want her being seen with other guys. Photographed with other guys, you thought she was trying to throwing in your face. That seems to be what you're saying.
STERLING: Did you ever like a girl, or ever jealous a little bit if she was with other guys? Yes, I didn't want her to be photographed. I didn't want her - I didn't want her photographed
COOPER: You were jealous?
STERLING: I admit I was jealous. And it was stupid.
COOPER: The thing is though, what you were saying wasn't he -- I don't want you seen with other guys. You were saying, I don't want you being seen with black guys.
STERLING: Because she used the word black guys, I'm bringing some gorgeous black guys.
COOPER: But in the tape, you were the one who bring out -- you say that your friends of yours are calling you saying -- telling her she's bringing black guys to the game. You say - let me just re-do so you can respond.
STERLING: That is all confusing.
COOPER: She says -- you say why are you taking pictures of minorities, why? Later on you say it bothers me a lot, you wanna broadcasters associating with black people. Do you have to, and she says you associate with black people. You say I'm not you, you're not me. You're supposed to be a delicate Latina girl. The question then is, why does being seen with the black person make her a delicate white or delicate Latina girl?
STERLING: I can't explain some of the stupid foolish uneducated words that I uttered. I don't know, you know, you start, you get upset, you say things. COOPER: One other thing you said, you say, I'm just saying in your lousy expletive Instagram you don't have to have yourself walking with black people, you don't have to. If you want to, do it.
STERLING: It doesn't make sense, I don't care. I didn't care.
COOPER: Would it have been OK with you if she was bringing a white person to a game?
STERLING: She had four seats. She brought a lot of people. I don't understand why in the world I said any of those stupid uneducated remarks. Because I really don't care who she brought to the game. I was more interested in the game. I was a little jealous. I have to admit. But I don't know -- I don't know why I said stupid things.
COOPER: For a lot of people, though, these comments that were caught on tape do echo other charges that have been made in the past. As you know by Elgin Baylor and other lawsuits incidents in the past...
STERLING: No, no, no, you're trying to connect -- Elgin Baylor has nothing to do with the things I said and 20 years later? What did that have to do.
COOPER: Well, Elgin Baylor made a claim that you had a plantation mentality. And then now in this thing your saying you feed these guys...
STERLING: I think you have more of a plantation mentality than I do. You know what -- and I think you're more of a racist than I am. Because I'm not a racist and I've never been a racist, I'll never be a racist. I don't know what that means to have a mentality. You're asking me about questions, what do you mean a mentality?
COOPER: Well, to have a plantation mentality is to feel like you own these guys, they're working for you.
STERLING: Well, do I own them?
COOPER: I don't know.
STERLING: My players earn $100 million a year. How do I own them? Some of them earn $50 million a year...
COOPER: In this tape you're saying I support them, I give them food.
STERLING: Well, I think, well I think I create opportunities for them so they can make $100 million. I don't give them anything, believe me. And those players could get that same amount of money anywhere else.
COOPER: You acknowledge they earn that?
STERLING: Of course they earn it. And they work harder than any other sport.
COOPER: Well, the NBA says they want you out. Are you willing to give up ownership of the Clippers? STERLING: Well, I'm not sure that's what they want.
COOPER: No, that is what they want.
STERLING: Well, that's your opinion and that is what the media says. I'm a good owner, I have a good team. There are people on my team -- because the media says that the owners want me out doesn't mean they want me out.
COOPER: Have you talked to any of the other owners?
STERLING: I've talked to some of the owners.
COOPER: Have any of them supported you?
STERLING: Of course they support me. They can understand why I would say that. I can't understand why.
COOPER: You are saying there's some owners on other team(ph) who want you to remain the owner of the Clippers?
STERLING: I don't speak for the league or for the owners. They speak...
COOPER: But have any owners told you that?
STERLING: I didn't ask them. I -- I embarrassed the league, I - humiliated them. I don't know how -- why I did it. I mean, it is so terrible. And I...
COOPER: So, you don't believe, though, that the owners would vote to have you removed as owner?
STERLING: I don't think so, I don't think so.
COOPER: If they did would you fight that in court?
STERLING: We're not there yet so why should I, you know, address that issue. I don't want to fight with my partners. You know, we all do what we have to do in life. I love them and I respect them and whatever their decision is with regard to the disposition of my terrible words then I have to do it. I think. The players don't hate me. The sponsors don't hate me.
COOPER: You don't believe...
STERLING: The fans don't hate me. The media hates. The media, it is all the media pushing it.
COOPER: Honestly, you really believe that...
STERLING: I believe it 100 percent. I believe it 100 percent. People call me by the thousands and have give me support. They don't say I should have said that.
COOPER: You don't think the players don't like you. When the Clippers, when your team...
STERLING: Why wouldn't they like me when I'm respectful...
COOPER: When they reversed their jerseys and didn't wear...
STERLING: Well, when one does it the others have to do it.
COOPER: You think it was just pressure?
STERLING: Well, what do you think? Do you think they're all going do walk off the team? They're all gonna -- I mean, can any of us just stop working? We all have to work, we all have to earn a living. We all have bills. We may work for an employer we don't love. I contend that they love me.
COOPER: You think they still love you?
STERLING: I do.
COOPER: You believe the players of the Los Angeles Clippers...
STERLING: Absolutely. They know I'm not a racist. And I'm not a racist.
COOPER: Why haven't they come forward and said that?
STERLING: Well, you see people are intimidated by even the thought of racism. And around the world, and this -- they call me from Australia, from London, and they ask me different media, are you a racist? I'm not a racist.
COOPER: Up next what Donald Sterling said to me about Magic Johnson. Instead of trying to soften any of his previous comments about the L.A. Lakers legend, he amped up his attacks crossing a line that no doubt will spark new outrage. Also, had Magic Johnson response to comments like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STERLING: What kind of guy goes to every city and has sex with every girl then catches HIV? Is that someone we wanna respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? He doesn't do anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: One of the most disturbing parts of my interview with Donald Sterling was the things he had to say about Magic Johnson, just after the story broke last month, Magic Johnson tweeted that he and his wife took he would never go to a Clipper's game again as long as Donald Sterling was the owner. As you know, in the recording of Sterling's rant he berated V. Stiviano for being seen with the L.A. Lakers legend in an Instagram photo. Magic Johnson's response is coming up. But first, in our interview with Sterling passed Magic again. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Magic Johnson, you know, has made a public comment. Do you have something to say to him?
STERLING: What could I say to him? He -- it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. I'm hurt but it doesn't matter.
COOPER: You're hurt that he -- that he said that he spoke out publicly?
STERLING: I'm hurt that he called me up and he said don't do anything. Wait until you hear from me. Then somebody called me later and said he doesn't want to be involved. And then he released a tape that I said to him that I talked to him in confidence. I didn't give any interviews. You are my interview. I'm deciding if I like you. No, but I mean, here is a man who -- I don't know if I say this. He acts so holy. I mean, he made love to every girl in every city in America. And he had AIDS. And when he had those AIDS I went to my synagogue and I prayed for him. I hoped he could live and be well. I didn't criticize him. I could have, is he an example for children? You know, because he has money he is able to treat himself. But Magic Johnson is irrelevant in this thing. He didn't do anything harmful to anybody. And I respect him and I admire everything that he does. You know, I'd like to help even more if he would offer me an opportunity to help. I like to help minorities.
COOPER: Magic Johnson had said that you know he would never attend a game while you were owner. Apparently he showed up to a game today.
STERLING: He would never what?
COOPER: Attend a Clipper's game as long as you were owner. And he came today to see the game.
STERLING: He was there at the game?
STERLING: I don't think it's worthy of even discussing such a stupid remark. But he lulled me into waiting a week. Do you know what I mean? He said don't do anything.
COOPER: He told you, you're saying he told you not to say anything?
STERLING: Yeah, don't do anything, I know the girl. Don't do anything. I'll help you, I'm waiting and I'm waiting and I'm waiting.
COOPER: What you're saying is Magic Johnson called you up or you called him up?
STERLING: I don't know his phone number.
COOPER: He called you up when the tape...
STERLING: I don't call anybody. I'm loyal to you.
COOPER: He called you up when the tape came out and he told you not to say anything?
COOPER: Why did he say don't say anything?
STERLING: He just said wait, be patient, I'll help you, we'll work it out.
COOPER: Why do you think he said that?
STERLING: I think he wanted me to just do nothing so he could just buy the team. He thought maybe the whole thing would be resolved in two weeks. Well, what has he done? Can you tell me? Big Magic Johnson, what has he done?
COOPER: Well, he is a business person, he...
STERLING He's got AIDS, did he do any business? I'd like -- did he help anybody in South L.A.?
COOPER: Well, I think it's HIV. He doesn't actually have full blown AIDS.
STERLING: What kind of a guy goes to every city and has sex with every girl then he catches HIV. Is that someone we want to respect and tell our kids about? I think he should be ashamed of himself. I think he should go into the background. But what does he do for the black people? Doesn't do anything. You call up and say...
COOPER: He has opened a lot of businesses in inner city neighborhoods.
STERLING: The Jewish people have a company and it's for people who want to borrow money in and no interest. They want to give them a fishing pole. We wanna help people, if they don't have the money we'll loan it to you. If you don't have interest, one day you'll pay us back. I'm just telling you he does nothing. It's all talk.
COOPER: You have talked to him?
STERLING: Twice. And then...
COOPER: Did you apologize?
STERLING: He knew the girl, he said. He knew the girl well.
COOPER: Did you apologize to him?
STERLING: Well, if said anything wrong, I'm sorry. He is a good person. And he -- what am I gonna say? Has he done everything he can do to help minorities? I don't think so. But I'll say it. I'll say it, you know. He is great. But -- I just don't think he is a good example for the children of Los Angeles. That he would go and do what he did, and then get AIDS. I mean, come on. Maybe he doesn't think I could be a good owner. I remember when he came from Detroit. He came to my house. You know, he was a great player. Great player. But what I'd like to know exactly -- what does he do? He works with the Dodgers?
COOPER: Well, he has got a business, movie theaters.
STERLING: I spend millions on giving away and helping minorities. Does he do that? That's one problem I have. Jews, when they get successful they will help their people. And some of the African Americans, maybe I'll get in trouble again. They don't wanna help anybody. What has Magic Johnson really done for children's hospital? Which kids are lying in the hallways. They're sick. They need a bed. What has he done for any hospital? What has he done for any group? I don't know. Maybe he has done a lot. I know he is successful in business. But I -- I'm not interested in business anymore at all. I'm interested in helping people.
COOPER: But you are interested in business. You're interested in maintaining ownership with the Clippers. That is business. You could take hundreds of millions of dollars from the sale of the team and help whoever you want with that money.
STERLING: And maybe I'll do that.
COOPER: Up next, my interview with Magic Johnson. And he's response to outrageous statements from Donald Sterling.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAGIC JOHNSON, RETIRED AMERICAN PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: I was blown away. I couldn't believe that he has said those things, first of all. Made those statements, those racist statements and then, you know, threw me in.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Welcome back to this AC360 special report, before the break you heard Donald Sterling's outrageous claims about Magic Johnson. That he's not a good role model, That he hasn't done anything for the African-American community. Remember, Magic Johnson did not ask to be a part of this story. That all started when V. Stiviano posted a picture on her Instagram page showing her with Magic Johnson. It took a picture with someone, someone -- something he does for fans countless times everyday. Apparently this picture upset Donald Sterling and then this audio got released to TMZ.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
STIVIANO: I saw someone, I admire, I admire Magic Johnson
STERLING: OK. Good.
STIVIANO: I'm sorry. STERLING: OK.
STIVIANO: He has made a lot of changes for his community, for the world, for the people, for the minorities. He's helped a lot of people.
STERLING: Why are you forcing this down on my throat? I'm finished talking to you, I have nothing more to say.
STIVIANO: And I took a picture with someone I admire.
STIVIANO: And he happens to be black, and I'm sorry.
STERLING: I think it's nice that you admire him. I know him well and he should be admired. And I am just saying that it's too bad you can't admire him privately and during your entire (bleep) life, your whole life admire him, bring him here, feed him, (bleep) him, I don't care. You could do anything, but don't put him on Instagram for the world I have to see so they have to call me. And don't bring him into my games, OK?
(END AUDIO CLIP)
COOPER: Well, of course I began my conversation with Magic Johnson talking about that recording.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: When you first heard the audiotape that was released a couple of weeks ago, what did you think?
JOHNSON: Well, I was just, I was blown away. I couldn't believe that he had said those things. First of all. Made those statements, those racist statements and then, you know, threw me in, don't bring him to my games. And so, you personally attack me. And so, I had known Donald not very well, I knew him, I've met him three or four times, then into his office.
COOPER: So, were you guys friends? Were you acquaintances?
JOHNSON: I would say we were friends. My first trip, when I got here in L.A., over 35 -- about 35 years ago, the Doctor Bus (ph) took me to his beach house for his annual beach house party, you know, in the summertime. So, that was one of the first things that I did. So, to reflect back to that to the statements he made about myself and minorities it was just disappointing. And it was -- I was in disbelief that he would say these things. And then you know, to throw me into this situation, I don't know the young lady. Barely know Donald.
So, now I'm caught in the middle of this love affair, or whatever they have. And so, it was sort of disappointing. But I had to respond in terms of OK, you don't want me to come to your games. I wont come to your games, you don't have to worry about that. But also I was upset because he threw minorities in, African-Americans, Latinos into this situation. And so, I had to speak up. Look, I'm one of the leaders in the black community so I can't let anybody attack our people and not respond. And so, that's why I responded.
COOPER: When -- first of all you said you were photographed with V. Stiviano. You're probably photographed with...
JOHNSON: Millions of people.
COOPER: Millions of people. Do you know -- he claimed in this interview that I did with him the other day, he said you knew her and you knew her well.
JOHNSON: These are the facts, Anderson, I never met this young lady. I took a picture with her probably looked like at a Dodger game. That's it, that's all I know of her. You know, and then he says I'm trying to set him up. How am I trying to set you up?
COOPER: He said to me, that you called him up, he doesn't have your number, he didn't call you, you called him up after the tape was released and told him to kind of lay low don't say anything public.
JOHNSON: These are the facts, I was sitting in my office, I get a call from Donald Sterling.
COOPER: He called you?
JOHNSON: He called me. I took the call.
COOPER: Apparently he has your phone number.
JOHNSON: Yes, his assistant called my assistant. And she put him through. And this is what happened, he asked me to go on the Barbara Walters show with him.
COOPER: This was when? A week and a half ago? Cause he met with Barbara Walters on a Friday.
JOHNSON: Exactly, it was before that. I told him I wouldn't do it. I said the number one thing you need to do which you haven't done is apologize to everybody and myself. I'll get to that, I'll get to that.
COOPER: So, he wanted you to go on with Barbara Walters sitting next to him?
JOHNSON: Sitting next to him.
COOPER: To kind of give him cover?
JOHNSON: Exactly. So, I said no. Then I told him, I said, Donald, you should consult with your attorneys, I said this thing is a big thing and you should deal with your attorneys and let them advise you on what to do. But I said you need to go public and apologize to everybody.
COOPER: How did he respond? JOHNSON: Well, I'll apologize later but I want you to go on this show. He was adamant about me going on the show with him and I told him no, I wouldn't do it. And that's what happened.
COOPER: That's it?
JOHNSON: And then I called Adam Silver our great commissioner and told him what had happened.
COOPER: So, that was all with the Donald Sterling had called you?
JOHNSON: He just called. And so, I wanted him to know that it happened so he wouldn't be blindsided either. And so, and then (Inaudible) Donald Sterling had just called me.
COOPER: There is a report that an attorney for you or somebody called his attorney and said, look, don't keep calling Magic. Don't call Magic back.
JOHNSON: Yes, because he wanted to call me again, so -- my people, my attorneys and advisers said, look, you can't be talking to Donald. I said OK. So, that's what happened. So, we just called his attorney and said don't be personally calling me. Because I didn't want him to feel that he could just call me because he hadn't apologized to me. This is really weird, I'm really disturb by the fact that, you know, when he called me he should have said Magic, I'm sorry.
COOPER: Right, and I asked him specifically if he had apologized to you and he said no.
JOHNSON: No, no he didn't apologize...
COOPER: It seemed like a surprise to him that he would actually be expected to make an apology to you.
JOHNSON: Well, he is the one who said don't bring Magic to my games. So, you know, he's the one who made these comments. So, I was expecting at least an apology. And the American public wanted an apology. He finally did that. But this is -- it's sad. When I saw the interview, it was sad. It really is. I'm afraid for this young man. I hope Donald can see the mistake that he has made and also the people he have hurt along the way. And then what's really sad, you know, it's not about me. This is about the woman you love outing you and taping you and putting your -- putting your conversation out here for everybody to know. That wasn't me. I didn't do that. I don't know this young lady. This is between you two. But then he wants to include me. And I'm not included in this situation. And then he wants to, you know, ask me what I've done, you know, in the minority community. That's well documented what I've done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Magic Johnson has done so much for so many people for many, many years. We spoke at length about his work in the community and what he has done to help people with HIV/AIDS. More of my interview with Magic Johnson next.
COOPER: Welcome back to our special report, now for more of my interview with Magic Johnson. Donald Sterling claimed that he's not a good role model for kids and that he hasn't done anything to help African-Americans, something that is simply not true. Throughout my interview with Magic he was gracious and kind, while still setting the record straight about Sterling's claims. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: He is a man who we would think would be educated and a man who would is smart enough to build this type of wealth and own a team that have an incredible platform to change the world. But he's doing it in a negative way. You know, first of all 22 years ago I announced that I did have HIV. And I came out like a man. You know, I told the world.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: Because of HIV virus that I have attained, I will have to retire from the Lakers today.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNSON: I didn't blame nobody else. I understood what I did was wrong. Ok. So I announced that to the world. And I hope that I was able to help people in doing that. And I think I did.
COOPER: You helped countless number of people.
JOHNSON: Yes, yes. And I've been to hospice. I've been to hospitals, hugging people with HIV and AIDS, you know, before they were dying, or people who had -- didn't know if they could live a long time. I hugged them. I counseled them, I talked to them. I talked to them about taking their meds and that making sure that they stay on their regiment, which is the key. I talked to a lot of young people who just got HIV and was thinking about, you know, committing suicide. You see. And I tried to talk them out of that. And then we're giving away over $15 million, my foundation. I joined the president's HIV and AIDS council, you know. And so, I've done a lot of work in the HIV and AIDS community.
COOPER: The Magic Johnson Foundation has been around for 20 years. You've given away, I mean, millions and millions of dollars for HIV/AIDS education, you expanded out to other education for people in underserved communities, community outreach. The idea that you have not done the stuff, you don't put ads in the paper about what you do, which is what something Donald Sterling has done, but you do the work. And I was talking to people who knew the work you've done, they tell me, you know, young man came up to you at a speech you gave and was talking about the difficulties he's facing while going to college. And you were on the spot, were like, you know what? I'm gonna pay for -- I'm gonna pay to put you through -- to school. Giving millions to open up churches in urban communities and even, again, you don't trump this, even your business work, not your foundation work, even your business work is devoted to largely underserved communities, urban communities and bringing businesses in. You're instrumental in bringing Starbucks and all these businesses -- and movie theaters into underserved communities.
JOHNSON: Is it -- It was important that we have options that we can go and go have the best cup of coffee served by Starbucks. But also it brought jobs. It brings jobs. We've created thousands and thousands of jobs in urban America. Those people can now walk to their job. They can take care of their families because of Starbucks 24 hour fitness, on and on and on, the Magic Johnson Theaters. So, you know, I continue to do good work in urban America. And I will always do that. I'm devoted, my whole life is devoted to urban America. So, you know, I just wish he knew the facts when he's talking. But he's a man who's upset. And he's reaching. And he's reaching. He's trying to find something he can grab on to do help him save his team. And it's not gonna happen. It's not going to happen.
COOPER: He claims the Clippers still love him. He claims that the players, he says he believes the players genuinely love him and they're just been pressured by the media and others.
JOHNSON: Really? Hmm. Now he is delusional. And I'm -- and not only the Clippers don't love him. The other players in the NBA don't love him. So, the players have rallied together. The only thing they're waiting for is to see what's gonna happen with the vote and the board of governors.
COOPER: By the other owners.
JOHNSON: By the other owners. And I'm hoping that they understand we can't have this kind of action in our league or in our society. We just can't have it.
COOPER: Sterling claims that push comes to shove, he can kinda buy time, push comes to shove, the players are gonna play, sponsors are gonna sponsor his team even if he stays there, that money talks, and that in the end they got contracts, sponsors want to make money, everybody wants to make money. He clearly believes there's a root for him to remain as owner of the L.A. Clippers.
JOHSON: Can't buy his way out of this one. He's bought his way out of all the other situations. Can't do it this time.
COOPER: Are you interested in the Clippers? I mean, there's a lot of reports that you'd be interested in being owner or part owner.
JOHNSON: Well, you know, we have to wait. That's gonna be eight months to a year to see if it ever hits the market. But for me, if it comes out and it's for sale, and my Guggenheim partners and I say, OK, we're gonna take a look at it and we're gonna buy it. of course we'll make a run for it. Now what I want, would really want to do is own the Lakers. If at any team I want to really have or be a part of would be the Lakers. Not the Clippers. But if I can't be a part of them and there's a team I ought to (ph) like, the Clippers, I like and my partners like because, you got to remember this is gonna be a billion dollar deal. So, I have to include the Guggenheim, Mark Walters and Todd and...
JOHSON: Exactly. They're gonna be a part of that. So, we have to wait and see. But this notion that I want his team, if I was gonna trick somebody, deceive somebody, be dishonest to somebody, steal somebody's franchise, it's gonna be the Los Angeles Lakers. Let's make that clear right now.
COOPER: And you're putting that on the record.
JOHNSON: It won't be the L.A. Clippers.
COOPER: I think you tweeted out late last night, you know, this is the week we should be focused on the games, it's the last week we should be talking about Donald Sterling. You're gonna stick to that?
JOHNSON: That's it. I'm gonna do one more interview and that's it. I'm not gonna do anymore. I'm tired. I'm tired of talking about Donald. I'm -- it is a shame. I wish I had did something to deserve this, right? Taken a photo with a young lady and then I have to answer all these questions. But that's OK. I'm gonna pray for him. I'm a God fearing man. I pray for Donald and his family. And I just hope the board of governors do what they're supposed to do and I can get my life back and go back to just being Irving Magic Johnson. Oh, let me correct, Donald. What does he do? He owns the Dodgers, he doesn't work for the Dodgers, he owns the Dodgers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Magic reacting to Donald Sterling's claims of what seems to me to be amazing grace. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Well thanks very much for watching this AC360 special report. I'm Anderson Cooper in New York. Have a great night.