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Interview with Kevin Durant's Mom; NBA Owners Want Sterling Out; Lynne Cheney One on One

Aired May 8, 2014 - 08:30   ET


KEVIN DURANT, 2013-2014 NBA MVP: By the time you were 21 years old. Everybody told us we weren't supposed to be here. We moved from apartment to apartment by ourselves. One of the best memories I have is when we moved into our - our first apartment. No bed, no furniture and we just all sat in the living room and just hugged each other because we - that what - we thought we made it.

And when something good happens to you, I don't know about you guys, but I tend to look back to what brought me here. When you wake me up in the middle of the night in the summertime making me run up the hill, making me do push-ups, screaming at me from the sidelines of my games at eight or nine years old, we wasn't supposed to be here. You made us believe. You kept us off the street, put clothes on our backs, food on the table. When you didn't eat, you made sure we ate. You went to sleep hungry. You sacrificed for us. You're the real MVP.


MICHAELA PEREIRA, CNN ANCHOR: We are so honored to have the real MVP, Wanda Pratt, Kevin Durant's mother, joining us live this morning from Oklahoma City.

Ms. Wanda, talk about a Mother's Day present.

WANDA PRATT, MOTHER OF NBA MVP KEVIN DURANT: What a wonderful Mother's Day present. And every time I hear that, I just start to cry. I've literally been crying for 24 -- 48 hours. It's just been surreal.

PEREIRA: You know, sometimes our sons, our fellows, are men of few words. Have you ever seen your son speak this way? Is this out of character for him?

PRATT: Yes. He's very quiet. He's very reserved and observant. And so he spoke so wonderfully the other day. And I really didn't know that he would say those things about me. I knew that he would mention me and my family, but I didn't know he would do it so immensely. So I was a little shocked and surprised. Pleasantly, of course.

PEREIRA: Pleasantly, of course. I think we all just loved watching your reaction hearing those words. He spoke so eloquently and what I really appreciate, I think what many of us appreciate, is that he thanked each and every member of his team, coaches, players, trainers by name. I want to know what you did to raise your boys in such a fashion to show such gratitude. PRATT: Well, because I always told him that whatever successes that they had in life, it did not have to be them, it just happened to be them, and that they always had to remember that. And I really believe that remembering that, it all - it just leads you in a place of humility, knowing that you are blessed to be in the situation that you are. And so I really believe that's where it comes from, from there (ph).

PEREIRA: Is that what it - what drove you? You were 21, had two young boys, that first apartment, a big moment for you that as he was mentioning. What drove you to get through the hard times?

PRATT: Well, it was my two sons. I really didn't focus on myself. I really didn't. And it was their lives that I was really pushing for. I knew that I had to strengthen them. I knew that they had to believe. I knew they could not see the pain that I was going through as a single parent and as a woman. I just had to allow myself to focus on my commitment to them and not let them focus on the things that kind of made me cry in the middle of the night. Sometimes I -- they don't know that about me, so sometimes when I cry now, they're looking at me kind of strangely like, what's going on with you?

PEREIRA: What's wrong with you?

PRATT: Exactly.

PEREIRA: Well, I'm so glad the tears now are tears of joy.


PEREIRA: I was thinking as I was watching you listen to your son speak, how your story is reflective of so many people's, parents that make that ultimate sacrifice, right?


PEREIRA: That sacrifice for their kids. And there are tears in the middle of the night, how am I going to pay these bills, how am I going to get these kids through school.

PRATT: Exactly.

PEREIRA: It must be incredibly rewarding for you now to see that your son is grateful, but that he's also MVP.

PRATT: Oh, of course. And, you know, he's worked so hard. I mean he really started working when he started playing basketball because he developed a love for the game so quickly and he worked. I mean literally he worked. He didn't hang out with friends. From age eight or nine to age 16, he was always working on his game of basketball because he loved it so much. So I'm grateful that I'm here to see that he's being rewarded for all of the hard work that he's put in.

PEREIRA: Look, every parent thinks their kid's going to make to it, right, make it to the MVP level, make it to the NBA. Every kid (ph) wants to dream the best for their kid. PRATT: Yes.

PEREIRA: Did you know in your gut, though, that he had it to make it this far?

PRATT: Honestly, I did not know. I did not know until the end of his freshman year of college. I - I mean people were saying it and I knew that he was a good basketball player, but I did not know that he would make it to the NBA until then.

PEREIRA: How about that, you didn't know.

PRATT: And people say that's strange, but I did not know.

PEREIRA: You're being honest. You're being honest.

PRATT: I'm really grateful that I didn't know because maybe my handling of him during that time would have been different. So, I'm glad that I did not know.

PEREIRA: Do you handle him a little differently now that he's a big- time NBA star and much, much, much taller than you?

PRATT: No. He - no, not at all. I'm learning. It's hard when you're a mother of young adult males. I'm learning that he is a man now. And so my parenting is a little different. But he knows that I'm still mamma -

PEREIRA: That's right.

PRATT: And so I'm OK with that, yes. But it's slightly different, yes.

PEREIRA: Well, this weekend is Mother's Day and, Ms. Wanda, I like you very much. I think what your son did was incredible. But I've got to admit to you, I'm a Clippers fan, so this is going to be tough for you and I but I respect you very much and I almost hope, I almost hope that your son brings you home a win this weekend, take the team onto the conference final.

PRATT: I understand.

PEREIRA: Wanda Pratt, thank you so much for sharing more of your story with us. And congratulations for raising some tremendous young men.

PRATT: Thank you. Thank you. And you enjoy your weekend. Appreciate it.

PEREIRA: Happy Mother's Day.

PRATT: Happy Mother's Day. Bye-bye.

PEREIRA: Chris. Kate.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: What a sweet woman.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: That's great. And, you know, very often in sport you just get these amazing human stories that just have nothing to do with what happens on the court. This is certainly one of those.

BOLDUAN: Uh-huh.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the wife of former Vice President Dick Cheney is getting personal. What she says about her daughters' very public spat over same-sex marriage.

BOLDUAN: And also ahead, under the microscope. The woman who recorded L.A. Clippers' owner Donald Sterling reportedly now facing blackmail accusations. So what's next in the NBA's off-court drama?


PEREIRA: Time for the five things you need to know for your new day.

At number one, Monica Lewinsky breaking her silence in a new essay for "Vanity Fair" this morning. She calls her affair with President Clinton an authentic connection and says she worries about her privacy and paparazzi if Hillary Clinton runs for president.

The militant group Boko Haram has killed at least 300 people in an assault on a Nigerian village. This comes three weeks after they abducted almost 300 school girls. The U.S. is now helping in the search for those children.

To the Ukraine crisis. Russian state media reporting that Ukraine has deployed 15,000 troops near Russia's border. This happening after separatists in a key hot spot moved forward with a vote to potentially secede.

Today in Washington, the House is expected to vote on creating a special committee to investigate the terror attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya. Democrats are pushing for a no vote.

The highlight of the NFL off season, the three-day NFL draft event kicks off tonight at New York's Radio City Music Hall. At 8:00 p.m. Eastern Times, the Houston Texans will be on the clock.

We always update those five things to know, so be sure to go to for the very latest.

Over to you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Michaela.

The Clippers and Thunder are now tied at one game apiece - or at a game apiece in their play-off series after Oklahoma City won last night. But the real drama is, of course, happening off the court and continues to do so. NBA owners met again Wednesday to ramp up efforts to take the team from Donald Sterling, who's considering his legal options. And now the woman who recorded his racist comments, V. Stiviano, she is reportedly under investigations herself for allegations of trying to blackmail Sterling. Let's discuss this with criminal defense attorney Darren Kavinoky.

Darren, it's great to see you. DARREN KAVINOKY, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, thanks, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Of course. Let's start with where the NBA is. They're trying - they're trying to ramp up their efforts to basically get rid of Donald Sterling and take the team from him.


BOLDUAN: This all could come down to a morality clause in documents that he signed when he bought the team back in '81. First, explain why that applies here.

KAVINOKY: Well, first of all, the NBA has a lot of momentum right now and a lot of cause to feel highly confident in their efforts. They've got the unanimity that's been expressed by the owners. They certainly have the support of advertisers that have threatened to pull out if Donald Sterling remains involved in the organization.

And now it's been reported that there's a particular morality clause that may actually help them in their efforts, which could be vital to them because the bylaws, and specifically this section 13-D that everybody's been talking about as fortifying and justifying the owner's position, really speaks to teams that have financial difficulties and giving the other owners a vehicle to boot somebody out if a team is unable to meet its financial allegations. So now injecting this morality element, if indeed there are these documents that have been signed, would really give them additional leverage to force Sterling out.

BOLDUAN: At the very same time, now we have another ripple to try to figure out. We've got the wife of Donald Sterling, who put out a statement, who says that she believes she has the legal rights, she wants to maintain the team.


BOLDUAN: The fact that we're now learning the ownership of the L.A. Clippers actually sits with a family trust, how big of a problem is that?

KAVINOKY: Yes, well, this is one of these complexities that perhaps the NBA didn't fully appreciate when they started this action. So as you mentioned, Kate, the team is owned by a family trust and both Donald Sterling and Shelly Sterling are members. And now she's been very publicly acting like an owner, issuing statements about -- that an owner would issue.

But everybody is highly skeptical about Shelly Sterling. You know, on the day that she issued these public statements that were blasting Donald Sterling and his racism, she went out to dinner and was caught on camera saying, no, he's no racist. And there's a long history of Shelly engaged in all sorts of behaviors that would suggest that she's really very well aligned with her husband in terms of her beliefs. She's engaged in racist behavior in the past. And this is stuff related to their alleged slum owner status. So people are looking at Shelly with a very jaundiced eye. BOLDUAN: It may at least indicate that this is going to be a long, kind of protracted fight between the family and the NBA.

Let's talk about the other woman involved in this, V. Stiviano.


BOLDUAN: So, to this point, we haven't heard, other than what she recorded, we've only been seeing her kind of walk around her neighborhood with that visor on that is so memorable. But now there are reports that the L.A. district attorney's office is investigating allegations that she had been trying to blackmail Donald Sterling over additional audiotapes that could be out there. How serious is this?

KAVINOKY: Yes, this is really serious, although it may not operate to help Donald Sterling since people are often judged by the company they keep. But he's been quoted as saying, I should have paid her off, which suggests that he actually had the opportunity to pay her off. And now, of course, she is the target of this extortion investigation.

Extortion is just where somebody gives property voluntarily as a result of some sort of threat. And this could be big, big trouble for her. It's a felony. And the idea that she was not the one to release the tapes; she previously said it was a family member that did it really doesn't pass the grin test.

She had the motive, she had the means, she had the access. She was the only one with any incentive to release those tapes because the Sterlings has just filed that lawsuit against her. So I don't know that anybody is buying the notion that this was just something done by a family member. It really does look more likely that she was at the heart of this. And this could be a big, big deal for her, especially because she's got this foster care situation going on where she's in the throes of adopting these two children.

Of course, when it comes to anything concerning children, adoption and foster care, it's always the best interest of the kids that control. And I don't know that anybody would look at this situation, the media circus and these potential criminal charges as being aligned with the best interests of anyone.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean that just adds an additional element that we don't even need to get into. But it's so difficult, especially when you think about two kids involved that are in foster care, that she has been going through the process of trying to adopt.


BOLDUAN: And then you've got all of this circus surrounding it all. It's impossible to even get into really when we talk about it. Darren, it's great to see you. Thanks so much. The saga continues.

KAVINOKY: Thank you.


CUOMO: Yes it does.

Coming up on NEW DAY, a candid one-on-one with former second lady Lynne Cheney. She says she's certain of at least one thing about 2016. What it might be just might surprise you.


CUOMO: The former Vice President's wife, Lynne Cheney is speaking out on some controversies especially when it hits close to home. She has a new book, "James Madison: A Life Reconsidered", and a new take on a very public spat between her daughter's over same-sex marriage.

She sat down with our Gloria Borger who is with us this morning. Gloria, always great to have you, and what an interesting interview.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Thank you. Yes. She's an interesting woman. You know, former second lady Lynne Cheney she's has always been a political animal and she's also a scholar in her own right -- Chris.

And now she's written this new book on James Madison, our fourth president whom she admires as a pioneer of conservatism. So she spoke to me about political divides in the country and in her own family and why disagreement can be a healthy thing.


LYNNE CHENEY, FORMER SECOND LADY OF THE UNITED STATES: Madison began to worry about too strong a central government. That political party led to an era of partisanship in the 1790s that's the equal of anything we have today.

BORGER: We say our gridlock today, our partisanship, do you think it's a terrible thing?

CHENEY: Well, Madison wouldn't have thought so. I mean there's certainly --

BORGER: What about you? What about you?

CHENEY: I don't think so either. It's what happens when you have free and open debate. I mean I'd like to take some of the edge off it. Trust me, you know, I've been through this.

BORGER: Most recently as a mother watching her daughter's tough Wyoming senate bid erupt into a public family feud over same-sex marriage. Candidate Liz opposed it. Her sister Mary is gay and married.

LIZ CHENEY, DAUGHTER OF DICK CHENEY: I love Mary very much. I love her family very much. This is just an issue on which we disagree.

BORGER: Mary took to Facebook. "Liz, this isn't just an issue on which we disagree. You're just wrong -- and on the wrong side of history."

LYNNE CHENEY: It got very tense and even ugly at times.

BORGER: As a parent, how did you deal with that?

LYNNE CHENEY: My underlying philosophy is that you should try to keep family matters within the family. And I think it was unfortunate that happened. It's hard to have two wonderful daughters who see things differently.

BORGER: Except you deal with it publicly.

LYNNE CHENEY: The disadvantage is that it becomes a public dispute. I just don't want to do anything to continue that trend.

BORGER: Are you fine with same-sex marriage?

LYNNE CHENEY: I think Dick actually had the classic formulation. He said freedom means freedom for everyone.

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish.

LYNNE CHENEY: And I think that's a principle we can all agree on.

BORGER: Is there a reconciliation?

LYNNE CHENEY: We're a happy family.

BORGER: These days the Cheneys prefer to direct their fire outside the family as Lynne Cheney has done since the 1990s.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the right, Lynne Cheney.

LYNNE CHENEY: Good evening and welcome to "Crossfire Sunday".

BORGER: And continues today in the patriotic tradition they might say of James Madison.

LYNNE CHENEY: Madison was the man who said we're a government of laws and not men. Obama seems to be showing us that we can be a government of man and not laws. How could you evaluate the two of them in the same breath? I can't see.

BORGER: That sounds a lot like former Vice President Dick Cheney who is also outspoken.

D. CHENEY: President Obama has a steep hill to climb.

BORGER: Former President Bush, Bush 43 I'm talking about has decided not to comment on public policy and you and your husband have.

LYNNE CHENEY: For him it's just speaking out because you really think there are some things that need to be said.

BORGER: What do you think it is about the former president?

LYNNE CHENEY: I have no idea, but he seems to be content and happy and I look forward to seeing him and Mrs. Bush next week.

BORGER: So you do keep in touch?

LYNNE CHENEY: Well, I'm going to be at the Bush Library talking about James Madison.

BORGER: And her book, in which Madison is considered the prophet of small government and would likely applaud the Tea Party.

LYNNE CHENEY: You can't say just because someone is really conservative they shouldn't be part of this party. We have to be ideologically inclusive as well as in all other sorts of ways.

BORGER: It's a battle that will no doubt play out among Republicans in 2016.

Jeb Bush, would you like to see him run?

LYNNE CHENEY: Well, I just think he'd make a great contribution. He has to sort that out. It is so hard to run for president that, you know, you have to be sure in your own heart.

BORGER: And would you like to see Hillary Clinton run?

LYNNE CHENEY: I think she is going to run. I think my opinion has absolutely nothing to do with it, that Hillary is there. I, in fact, don't even understand what the debate is about -- will she or won't she. She's running.

BORGER: And tough to beat?

LYNNE CHENEY: She was defeated in the 2008 election in the primary, and we didn't see that coming. So I'm not sure I could predict that one for you.


BORGER: Chris and Kate, I asked Mrs. Cheney if she misses being in the middle of the political arena and she seemed just fine with being outside it. In fact she said now she and the Vice President are in their western years, which means they're spending a lot of time back home in Wyoming.

BOLDUAN: Now, that sounds very, very nice. A fascinating woman and fascinating interview.


BOLDUAN: Thanks, Gloria. Thanks for bringing this to us.

BORGER: thanks guys.

BOLDUAN: Of course, that's it for today on NEW DAY. Coming up, Monica Lewinsky is speaking out after ten years of silence. What she's now saying about her affair with President Clinton.

"NEWSROOM" starts right after the break.