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CNN TONIGHT

President Trump's Week; LeBron James One-On-One With Don; President Trump Returns To Campaign Trail Tomorrow; Official Becomes Democrat After 40 Years, Cites Trump; Statement On Party Affiliation; CNN Heroes: Learning To Walk Again. Aired 11p-12m ET

Aired August 3, 2018 - 23:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[23:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

DON LEMON, CNN TONIGHT NEWS SHOW HOST: This is "CNN Tonight." I'm Don Lemon. It is a little past 11:00 here on the East Coast. We are live with all the new developments, President Trump settling in at his Bedminster golf club again tonight. I want you to take a look at this, OK? Look at the screen. President Trump has spent some 175 days at his own properties and golf courses. That is nearly a third of his presidency, all at taxpayer expense. He used to criticize the former President for golfing so much. Remember that?

Well, sources tell CNN the President is itching to get out on the campaign trail. His aides hoping to distract him from news about Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort and Robert Mueller's investigation. The President also trying to distance himself from the trial of his former campaign manager. And now early courtroom reports are not good for Paul Manafort. The President has to be worried about how the trial could reflect on him and shape public opinion about the merits of Mueller's investigation.

And also tonight, we have my interview with LeBron James. Though his job is taking him to Los Angeles, he is investing his time and money close to home, using his charitable foundation to open his school for at-risk kids. And we talked about that and about his possible future beyond basketball.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Would you ever run for office?

LEBRON JAMES, CLEVELAND CAVALIERS: Run for office?

LEMON: Would you ever run -- ever be a politician and run for office?

JAMES: I don't think so. I don't think so. I sit here and say I don't think so. I don't know.

LEMON: I'm being serious. If someone tried to recruit a LeBron to run for President, they said listen, they've got no one. If you don't run, Trump's going win, would you run?

JAMES: Well, in that case, I may. If they have no one, there I believe are some people out there. I hope, but let's see first. Let's see first.

LEMON: You would run.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: We also talked about living while black and how even money and fame don't insulate you from racism. Much more on that interview in just a moment, but let's start with the President's week, shall we? So, I want to bring in now CNN global affairs analyst, Max Boot and CNN political analyst, Molly Ball. Good evening. Thanks for joining.

MAX BOOT, COUNCIL FOR FOREIGN RELATIONS: Good evening.

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Hi, Don.

LEMON: So, Max, President Trump was on the attack this week, lashing out at everyone, saying that Sessions should shut down the Mueller investigation, contradicting his national security team on Russia, trying to distance himself from Paul Manafort. What does this tell you about his frame of mind?

BOOT: Well, first, Don, let me just say I have to commiserate with you on going from speaking to King James, to talking to a mere serf like me. I know this has to be a comedown, but we're looking forward to the interview.

[23:05:00] In terms of Trump's state of mind, it's kind of interesting to see, because I was looking at the Twitter feed just as we came on here. And that is kind of the fever chart of the Trump presidency. That is kind of an ongoing brain scan to show where Trump was at. It's pretty obvious that a couple of days ago he was having a meltdown, because of the start of the Paul Manafort trial. That is when he was saying that, you know that, Jeff session should end this witch-hunt right now, and that is when he was comparing the treatment of Paul Manafort to the treatment of Alfonse Capone, as he put it, showing he was extremely stressed and very worried about this.

But you know, he kind of alternates some days he feels like a victim. Other days he feels like he is king of the world. And clearly today he is more on the king of the world side. Because looking at his tweets they're basically nonstop boasting about all his tremendous achievements. The one constant I should add is whether he is feeling a victim or feeling king of the world, he is always factually challenged. So, for example, today just a couple of hours ago, he was bragging about how he has created 500,000 manufacturing jobs, when the actual figure is 400,000, I mean that is impressive enough, but he feels compelled to up everything 25 percent anyway just to boast. But I would say going into his weekend in Bedminster, he is judging by the Twitter feed he is feeling in a pretty good mood.

LEMON: Molly, the last time he was in Bedminster with a lot of problems swirling around the last time that he was there, he launched a Twitter storm. What should we expect this time?

BALL: That often happens whether it's Bedminster or whether it's Mar- a-Lago. When he is in his natural habitat at one of his properties where he feels comfortable, he often gets a little restless. It's also the case that he is less likely to be surrounded by the formal cordon of White House aides. Rather he tends to be surrounded by sort of friends and family, a lot of his informal advisers and they tend to egg him on.

So that is why, I think why we get a lot of his most memorable Twitter rants on the weekends when there isn't, you know, a John Kelly at his elbow, not that his formal aides do such an incredible job of restraining him, but if anything, he tends to be less restrained and more relaxed, and that is when he tends to sort of cast off some of the shackles and tell us what he really thinks.

LEMON: Early morning or late in the evening.

BOOT: I mean, I think, part of it, I think Don is, picking up on what Molly just said, I think he gets bored. I mean, OK, he plays golf, but you can't play golf 12 hours a day. So he is basically knocking around on these giant resorts, and he gets bored. And he basically wants to fire off some of this zinger that would make all of us talk about him, because I think this is ultimately what his presidency is about, it's about getting attention and being the center of the universe. And he know he can do that if he says something sufficiently crazy on Twitter.

LEMON: Yes.

BALL: He gets bored. He watches a lot of TV, but I think also we have to remember that there are things happening behind the scenes that we're not seeing. And part of what was behind the tweet storm earlier this week, it wasn't just the external feed that we knew that he was watching or at least aware of the Manafort trial. We also subsequently learned that there were more negotiations going on with the Mueller team behind the scenes.

A renewed attempt to get the President to sit down for an interview with potentially new terms of negotiations. So there are also always internal things that have him agitated, whether its policy information or stuff from the Congress or stuff that is very, you know, private and pertains to his personal investment in that whole investigation. So there is stuff coming at him, and always his release valve is Twitter. He just tells us what's going on in his head.

LEMON: I want to ask you about who he is stomping for at Ohio tomorrow at a rally. It's Troy Balderson, ahead of Tuesday's special election race in the suburbs of Columbus. This seat has been in GOP hands since Reagan was in the White House. But, I mean, it is really tight this year. What do you think this race, Max, tells us about what's coming up in November?

BOOT: Well, I think what you're seeing is that, you know, across the board that Republicans are feeling pressure. I mean, I was pretty startled today just to see that in Texas, Ted Cruz, has been moved -- his race has been moved from, you know, solid Republican to leans Republican, because Ted Cruz in Texas is having a tough race against Betty O'Rourke. That is I think indicative of the kind of year Republicans are having.

That even though Trump is managing to hold on his 41 percent, there is an awful lot of anti-Trump sentiment out there even in red states. And so, I think they're feeling the pressure. And certainly the odds are going up in favor of a Democratic takeover of the house.

LEMON: Molly, when it comes to candidates, Trump has endorsed, his winds are 19. His losses are 4. Those are pretty good stats. Is this President an asset you think to Republicans, at least in the primaries?

BALL: Well, primaries are very different from general elections. And actually for years, that is been the Republican's problem. Long before Trump came along. In a lot of way, Trump is a symptom rather than a cause of the divisions within the Republican Party.

[23:10:04] And so for years now we've seen a, you know, a very passionate activist right wing Republican base that is able to tilt low turnout primaries towards candidates with some would say extreme views. And then those candidates are not electable in a general election. And this was happening long before Trump came along. Now Trump has been a kingmaker in the primaries. He has shaped the Republican Party in his image. He has gotten a lot of previously sort of run of the mill Republican candidates to turn into just supporters of Trump through and through.

And he is also elevated some candidates that might previously not have been considered mainstream by either anointing them or, you know, having them sort of create themselves in his image, but I think a primary is very different beast in a general election. And as we're seeing with some of these special elections where everybody votes, not just Republican primary voters, that is where we're starting to see this backlash brew and this election in suburban Ohio is very reminiscent of the special election in Pennsylvania earlier this year where you had a deep red district go for a Democratic candidate almost entirely, there are other factors, but almost entirely because of the backlash to Trump.

LEMON: Molly, Max, thank you very much. I appreciate your time. Enjoy your weekend.

When we come back, an elected official who has been a Republican since 8.18 now leaving the party 40 years later. Why she says the president policies of Donald Trump have force herd to become a Democrat, and she says she is not only the one. We're going to talk to her next.

[23:15:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: My next guest is a GOP official and life-long Republican who's made a very difficult decision. She has left her Party to become a Democrat, and she says it's all because of President Trump. Lori Stegmann is county commissioner Multnomah County, Oregon and she joins me now. Lori, good to have you on. Good evening, thank you so much.

LORI STEGMANN, COUNTY COMMISSIONER MULTNOMAH COUNTY, OREGON: Thank you for having me. LEMON: So, I just want to read before we get started a portion of the

letter that you posted, when you announced that you were leaving the Republican Party. You said there's too much at stake in our country right now and we have to speak out. As a woman, a business owner, a mother, an immigrant, and a minority I cannot condone the misogyny, the racism and the unethical and immoral behavior of the current administration.

I fear for the safety of our country, for human rights, for women's rights, the environment and the uncertainty of our future. Those are very powerful words. Tell us more about your decision. Why did you say that?

STEGMANN: Well, I believe that our country is headed in the wrong direction. And I cannot stand silently without speaking up. I believe that people are looking for leadership to guide our country in the right direction, and the current administration does not represent the values and the morals and the ethics that the American people have and this great nation, this is what our nation was founded on. And there is a lack of moral leadership.

LEMON: So, listen, Donald Trump has been President for less than 18 months. Why now? What was the tipping point for you?

STEGMANN: Well, as an adoptee, it really came down to the family separation practices. And I just read about how immigrants are giving away their parental rights without even having knowledge of what they're doing. As well as children being drugged. So this is just -- it's unacceptable and it's inhumane to separate families.

The other thing that is going on in our entire country, as I mentioned, Trump has emboldened people to act out and to in sight violence and hatred. Tomorrow here in Portland, Oregon, we are having a white nationalist rally in the City of Portland. And that is just unacceptable to empower people to spread hate and fear in our community.

LEMON: So what does this say, you know, I mentioned to you a little bit on the break that I was having dinner with Republican friend who has the same concerns that you have.

STEGMANN: Right. Yes.

LEMON: And he said I don't feel like my Party is a Party anymore. That it has become a cult, and that we don't stand up for the right things and what our core values.

STEGMANN: Yes.

LEMON: Traditionally used to be. And he is concerned about whether he should even identify as a Republican anymore.

STEGMANN: Absolutely. I mean, this is not the Republican Party that I joined 40 years ago. We had some great Republican leadership in Oregon like Mark Hatfield and Tom McCall who were outstanding statesmen. That was the kind of Republican Party that I belonged to. LEMON: So what does this say about the Party?

STEGMANN: I have not changed.

LEMON: And listen, as you answer that, the Party is made up of people. So what does this say about the Party and the people?

STEGMANN: Well, I think that people need to speak out. And I think that the President has bullied people and incited fear in them. And people are afraid to step out of the shadows and speak their truth. And I am just one county commissioner, but I know that there are people in much higher positions than myself that I implore to speak out about the inequities that are occurring in our country, but I know that if one person stands, then many others will join us. That is what I really want people to do. We have to band together and say this is unacceptable in our country, and we have to do something to stop the inequities that are occurring.

[23:20:06] LEMON: Lori, thank you for your time. I appreciate it.

STEGMANN: Thank you.

LEMON: When we come back, my interview with LeBron James. What he says about living while black in America, even if you're rich and famous, and how he feels about the President.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Earlier this week, I had the chance to sit down with the one and only LeBron James, one of this generation's greatest star athletes. Three-time NBA champion, four-time league MVP, but Lebron James started out as a kid from Akron, a kid who missed 83 days of school in the fourth grade, but a kid with big dreams.

[23:25:05] Now he is a man on a mission, helping kids just like him, opening the, I promise school in his hometown. LeBron, the superstar who had so many great moments on the court says opening this school may be the greatest moment of his life, but there is a lot that is got Lebron James fired up off the court. This is the interview you definitely don't want to miss. LeBron James one-on-one.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Thank you for doing this.

JAMES: Oh, thanks for having me.

LEMON: Everyone who knows I'm doing this says much respect, much respect for I promise. But you have so much going on. Why do you want to do this?

JAMES: I mean, the kids talk to me. Either verbally or I can just hear their mental. I am one of them. Not too far removed. So it wasn't even a question. It happened organically.

LEMON: You just did it. You figured this was the best thing for you to do. Are you nervous about this? Because I remember when Oprah was opening a school, she said it's such a big responsibility. I don't think I've ever been as nervous about anything or felt this much level of responsibility.

JAMES: It's not that I'm nervous. I'm more excited about it. I'm truly excited and truly like humble and blessed that -- first of all the Akron public school system, my hometown even did this joint venture with us, a lot of that made this possible. And then, you know, my Foundation. Michelle Campbell, first of all, the number one point person in my Foundation. They brought this whole thing together and brought it to me. And I was like, absolutely. You can't get nowhere in life without help.

LEMON: Without help. You were -- I think it was a third grader who interviewed you for team gold, right?

JAMES: Yes.

LEMON: And asked you about all the challenges and about the single mom. And I relate to that. Because I grew up with a single mom who is my hero. Your mom is your hero. Is this one of the reasons this is important to you?

JAMES: Absolutely. It's one of the huge reasons that is important, because of the everyday struggle me and my mom had to go through at that age, being this the third and fourth grade. And for us to be in a position where we can bring this to fruition and then see stories of kids that are going through the same thing that I went through that even makes it even more like, yes we did this. This is why we should have did it.

LEMON: But, how do you conquer these fears, because Jaden is his name. Talked about hearing gunshots and that sort of thing, walking through, being tempted by drugs and all those things. How do you think they -- how do you get them to understand that that is not the path they have to take?

JAMES: I think being in a support system, and that is what this is all about. I think for me, when I did go to school or when I was playing little league sports, being around kids and being around people to have fun and kind of speak the same language as you, it allows you to kind of escape away from the drugs and the violence and the gunshots and the things that go, you know, on an everyday basis.

And that is what why we are here for right now. That is why I'm opening this school, to be able to get these kids' mind away from their body away from, we even, you know, made the hours of being in school longer from 8, instead 3 to 5.

LEMON: Yes, we said, that is a long time.

JAMES: We want them here. You know, so we can let them know not only do we want you here, but we really do care. We really do care about what happens with you.

LEMON: Well, you hear people say, he is an athlete, right? Athletics are big, but this is a stem school. It is science, mathematics, and reading.

JAMES: All of that. Math, reading, social studies. All the way down to gym class, to music, arts everything.

LEMON: It's holistic.

JAMES: Absolutely.

LEMON: And that is important. Are athletics important to these kids? Or do you think it's their minds right now?

JAMES: No, I think both. I think athletics are important, but also their mind. I think both. I think it just plays. When you're part of sports and you're a part of your -- it just brings so much camaraderie and so much fun. You know, we are in a position right now in America more importantly where this whole -- this race thing is taking over, you know. And because -- one, because I believe our President is kind of trying to divide us, but I think --

LEMON: Kind of?

JAMES: Yes. He is. He is. Not only kind of. He is dividing us. And what I noticed over the last few months that he is kind of used sport to kind of divide us. And that is something that I can't relate to, because I know that sport was the first time I ever was around someone white, you know. And I got an opportunity to see them and learn about them and they got the opportunity to learn about me. And we became very good friends. And I was like, oh, wow, this is all because of sports. And sports has never been something that divide people. It's always something that brings someone together.

LEMON: Do you remember any of your first experiences being around someone who was different than you? Someone who was white, you said because that was through sports. Do you remember what it was and what was your reaction?

JAMES: Yes. It was different. I mean, first of all, from what -- they ate dinner at a different hour than I ever ate dinner before.

LEMON: Like earlier?

[23:30:00]

JAMES: Yes, like supper at 6:30 in the afternoon. I thought it was afternoon. They called it evening time. It was the first time I ever seen a pantry. You understand like for me, everything, where I grew up everything was on top of the refrigerator.

LEMON: Right.

JAMES: So my wife's house, they had a pantry. So, you know, I learn about that as well. But they just -- they kind of live life without no care, no worry, you know. And I wanted to get to a point, you know, maybe I can live life without no care, no worry either, you know, being around a lot of my white friends growing up. It was just a pretty cool thing, though. LEMON: And even like bedtime. Bedtime was like 7:30, 8:00 o'clock.

JAMES: Yeah, yeah. No, no, there was none of that.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: I'm glad you mentioned that because I've been watching you especially -- I've been watching you for a long time. This is not the first time I've interviewed you. I remember interviewing you for your website, some other things that you did.

JAMES: Yeah.

LEMON: But there's been -- something has changed in you over the last year or two. It is what's going on in the country racially? Is it is politically -- political?

JAMES: I think it's a little bit of everything. I think it starts with the Trayvon Martin situation. And the reason it starts with that I believe is because having kids of my own, having boys of my own, it hit home for me to see and to learn the story and to think that my boy left home and he never returned.

LEMON: Right.

JAMES: That kind of hit a switch.

LEMON: Right.

JAMES: That kind of hit a switch for me. And from that point on, I knew that my voice and my platform had to be used for more than just sports.

LEMON: Right. Good for you. Good for you, man. You said that, you know, your boy never returned home. But then there are people, kids are returning home. You think that the kids are being taken away.

JAMES: Yeah.

LEMON: The same thing that your heart like breaks when you --

JAMES: Absolutely.

LEMON: Someone comes over, they want a better life, and all of the sudden their kids are being taken away from them. Can you imagine that?

JAMES: No, I can't imagine that. We've always grown up saying this is the land of the free and opportunity here in America. And to be a parent, to be a father, to be a husband, to think that you can have a beautiful family one day and then the next day they could be taken away is something that you never, ever could have imagined.

LEMON: You were talking about athletics, right, and how you think that this president is dividing. I think about the kids now. There are kids who are selling water. I interviewed a little kid who wanted some action figures and he was out doing stuff with his mom, and he got like the cops called on him. How do you tell these kids even with that, you know, when you're just living while black, how do you get them to keep going?

JAMES: I think --

LEMON: You know the incidents I'm talking about, right?

JAMES: Absolutely, absolutely. And I think the best way to tell them to keep going is that no matter -- no matter how successful you could become, no matter who you are, when you're an African-American kid, man or female, you're always going to be going against obstacles. And there are one or two things that you can do. You can allow it to affect you and for you to degrade, or you can allow it to empower you even more and to rise above it.

And I think if you look at some of the greatest leaders of our time, you look at Muhammad Ali, you look at Dr. Martin Luther King, and all the adversity they went through, they never let it down them. They always used it to say, OK, this is even more motivation. This is even more a way for me to be even more powerful and the other reason why we are here today.

LEMON: Your challenges become goals and your haters become your motivators.

JAMES: Yeah, absolutely.

LEMON: Right?

JAMES: Absolutely.

LEMON: You were saying -- you were talking about using athletics to divide people.

JAMES: Yeah, yeah.

LEMON: You've heard what the man in charge, you heard what the president said about Marshawn, about Steph --

JAMES: Yup.

LEMON: -- about, you know, it seems like --

JAMES: Kaepernick.

LEMON: Kaepernick. Men of color who have means and a platform.

JAMES: Yeah.

LEMON: What's up with that?

JAMES: What's up with that is it's all wrong and it's not up, it's down. And for him to like I say use sports to kind of divide us is something I can't -- I can't sit back and not say nothing.

LEMON: Why -- you tweeted about a couple of things.

JAMES: Yeah.

LEMON: You tweeted about Charlottesville. You tweeted about when Steph Curry, when he called him -- you called him a bum because -- but Steph had already said, I'm not going to the White House.

JAMES: Yeah, he already said he wasn't going. And her tried to use that after that to say, well, you're not invited. Well, you can't uninvite me for something I already said I'm not going to go to. And we all know Steph Curry, model citizen, great kid, come from a great background, great family.

LEMON: Great father.

JAMES: Great father. And so many kids, white, black, Hispanic, all different races love what he's doing and rightfully so. There is no reason for anyone to ever attack him. And that's -- I felt that.

LEMON: Whenever there is something like he's in trouble, he can't wiggle his way out of something, he'll bring up the national anthem thing and kneeling or standing.

[23:35:05] Do you think he uses black athletes as a scapegoat?

JAMES: At times. At times. And more often than not. I believe he uses anything that's popular to try to negate people from thinking about the positive things that they can actually be doing and try to just get our minds to not be as sharp as possible right then, just -- you know, either from kneeling, from football players kneeling.

You look at Kaepernick, who protested something he believed in and he did it in a most calm fashion way possible.

LEMON: Respectful.

JAMES: Very respectful. He did all his due diligence. He was knowledgeable about it. And everyone knew why he did it. You look at all the NFL players that are still kneeling and things of that nature. You look at Steph. You look at Marshawn Lynch. You look at all these incidents why he is trying to divide our sport. But at the end of the day, sport is the reason why we all come together.

LEMON: Yeah. What do you -- I just wonder where we go from here because to a lot of people, Charlottesville was this like -- I mean, you tweeted, I think you said, is this what our country is in make America great again? Paraphrasing your tweet. But I think that was a sort of for everybody like, all right, that's enough, I can't believe this.

JAMES: Absolutely, absolutely. We all felt that. I don't think you -- it doesn't matter what color you are to feel that, to feel that tension, to feel like our great country that we all wake up every day in the land of the free as we believe with great opportunity to be even more than what people even expect you to become for that to happen, you just felt like that was kind of the tipping point.

LEMON: Were you -- I guess maybe you were surprised, maybe you weren't. The whole "N" word incident at your house when you had the "N" word painted?

JAMES: I don't know if I was surprised.

LEMON: Were you hurt?

JAMES: I don't know if I was hurt. I don't know if I was disappointed. There were so many different emotions. More importantly, it was the conversation that I had to have with my boys, that it was -- that hurt me.

But at the same time it also enlightened me and also knew that no matter, as I stated, you know, when I did the interview after that, that no matter how big you can become, no matter how successful you are, no matter what you do in the community, no matter what you do in your profession, being an African-American in America is always tough, and they always going to let you know that you are the "N" word no matter who you are and that was a reset.

LEMON: Even when you have Lebron status and Lebron money. Do you think it's harder to be -- when you see this incident, people living just being black --

JAMES: Yeah.

LEMON: -- and what happened to you, you house, do you think it's harder now or do you think it's always been there? We're just seeing it because of cellphones and --

JAMES: No, I think it's always been there. But I think the president in charge now has given people -- they don't care now. They throw it in your face now.

LEMON: Yeah. Do you -- would you ever run for office?

JAMES: Run for office?

LEMON: Would you ever be a politician and run for office?

JAMES: I don't think so. I don't think so. I sit here and say I don't think so. I don't know.

LEMON: I'm being serious. If someone tried to recruit a Lebron to run for president, they said listen, they've got no one, if you don't run, Trump's going to win, would you run?

JAMES: Well, in that case, I may. If they have no one. I believe there is some people out there. I hope. Let's see first. Let's see first.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON: But you would run?

JAMES: Let's see first.

LEMON: The last question is, what do you hope happens from this school? Because I got to tell you, I walked through. I am impressed. Everybody is impressed. This is a great thing you're doing. What do you want to happen? Where do you want this to go from here?

JAMES: What I want to happen, every kid who walk through those doors, every kid, you know, from the 240 kids that we're starting with right now, third and fourth grades to the 2022 where we're going to have first through eighth grade, we want every kid that walk to the school to be inspired to come away with something, something where they can give back.

And it doesn't matter. It could be anything. But just for kids in general, all they want to know is that someone care. And when they walk through that door, I hope they know that someone care.

LEMON: You're going to L.A., but is your heart here?

JAMES: My heart is always here. This is Akron, Ohio. That's why I'm doing this school right here today.

LEMON: Yeah. Are you excited about L.A.?

JAMES: Absolutely, yeah.

LEMON: One more question. What would you say to the president if he is sitting right here?

JAMES: I would never sit across from him.

LEMON: You would never? You don't want the talk to him?

JAMES: No. I'll sit across from Barack, though.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: It was great to sit down with Lebron James. We got a lot more to come as he gives me an exclusive tour of his school. Plus, you will find out why he is giving every one of his students a new bike.

[23:40:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: In our interview, you heard Lebron James opened up about everything from politics to living while black in America. And there is more. Lebron also gave me an exclusive tour of his brand-new I Promise school. It is a joint venture between the Lebron James Family Foundation and the Akron Public School System.

Not only is tuition free, so are uniforms and transportation for every student who lives more than two miles away. Every student gets breakfast, lunch, and snacks. College tuition is guaranteed for everyone who graduates. There is a food pantry for families. Parents can get their GEDs and job placement services.

And because of how important a bicycle was for young Lebron in escaping dangerous parts of his neighborhood, every student will receive a free bicycle and helmet.

[23:45:01] It is an ambitious project with an even more ambitious future. Take a look at our tour.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON (on camera): This is the coolest thing. Tell me about these shoes. You guys are going to auction these off?

JAMES: Yeah. The 114-game worn shoes that I've worn in NBA game. And each shoe is being auctioned off, and all proceeds are going to the foundation. I didn't know that we were going to do this wall like this. This is a surprise for me. But I knew the shoes were going to be auctioned off. And I love this right here. This is like, you know, they come to the front door and it's like you can kind of walk in my shoes, in my footsteps.

LEMON (on camera): And you've worn all these?

JAMES: I've worn all these shoes, yep. I've worn all these shoes in a game.

LEMON (on camera): And they get to keep one shoe and their name goes up there.

JAMES: Their name goes right above each shoe, yeah.

LEMON (on camera): When you see this, what do you think?

JAMES: It's still so surreal. I don't know. I mean, it's hard, Don, to even be like, this is my school. I never -- I never envisioned having a school. I envisioned, you know, being in the community, giving back to my community in some way. But I never thought it would turn into a school. But this is above and beyond.

LEMON (on camera): You had this growing up, what do you think? Do you think things would be different? I mean, you're successful but --

JAMES: I think early on, I would have been able to start my path a little bit earlier on in my life and kind of started a little bit later. But I don't even know if I would have this school if I didn't have the trials and tribulations that I had when I was a kid and the upbringing that I had.

So, it is just letting me know when I was younger, if I ever had the means or if I ever became successful, anything, you know, I want to be able to give back.

LEMON (on camera): Do you ever, like, look around and get down and depressed? I know you said you're always going to be positive because of Dr. King and those guys when you see what's happening in the country.

JAMES: Yeah.

LEMON (on camera): Oh, man, we're going backwards.

JAMES: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, that is human nature. There is no way you can look at certain things and not feel like, why are we not pushing forward?

You know, for me, as one of the leaders of America or one of the leaders of my community, it's my responsibility to kind of stay as positive as I can and to continue to let people know that we can go further up and not down even though sometimes we do feel like we're going backwards.

And even though we feel like we're going back to places of -- some kind of slavery or Jim Crow and things of that nature, you don't -- you just want to kind of continue to move forward and I think it's very important for all of us.

LEMON (on camera): You think we can get back from this craziness that is going on?

JAMES: I think so. I believe so. But it's not going to be today. It's not going to be tomorrow. It's not going to be next month. It's going to be an ongoing thing. It might be after me, you, or we are all gone. But if we can look at the positive things then we can figure it out.

LEMON (on camera): I see President James might be.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON (on camera): Look who is in here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lebron James!

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON (on camera): Did you see those faces?

JAMES: Yeah, I see those faces.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON (on camera): Do you guys know who this is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!

LEMON (on camera): Who's that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lebron James.

LEMON (on camera): Come say hi. Come say hi. Oh, my gosh.

JAMES: What's up? Give me five, give me five, man. Give me up. What's up, y'all? How y'all doing? Are those my shoes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yeah.

JAMES: Oh, yeah? How are you doing? How are you doing? Nice to meet you. What's up? How are you doing? What's up, everybody? (LAUGHTER)

JAMES: How are you doing? Oh, my, those are nice. I'm going to have to put those on the wall. Did you see the shoes on the wall? We might have to make those shoes and put them on the wall. What size shoe are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten.

JAMES: I'm a nine. I'm smaller than you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm an eight.

JAMES: You're a three?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, size six.

JAMES: You're size six.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Five.

LEMON (on camera): Do you love this guy?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!

LEMON (on camera): You think he is awesome? Do you watch him play?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!

LEMON (on camera): Yeah?

JAMES: There you go.

LEMON (on camera): This is your first day, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes!

LEMON (on camera): Are you guys excited? You're at Lebron James' school.

JAMES: You don't know I was going to be here?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE/UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I did.

LEMON (on camera): Oh, you did?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I saw it on the radio of my dad.

LEMON (on camera): You saw it on the radio? Or you heard it on the radio?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I heard it.

LEMON (on camera): Did you know you were going to meet him, though? Did you think you were going to meet him? Now you did.

(LAUGHTER)

LEMON (on camera): What does this do when you -- when you see this?

JAMES: This is what it's all about. Whatever these guys want, man. Whatever these guys want.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you the news guy?

LEMON (on camera): One person knows me, Lebron. She said, are you the news guy?

(LAUGHTER)

JAMES: I don't know which one. I don't know, I like them all. These ones are cool because these ones are the foundation shoes.

LEMON (on camera): Yeah.

JAMES: These are I Promise shoes right there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You made them?

JAMES: Yeah, I made those.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You make this one?

JAMES: All of those. Don, thanks. Thank you, brother.

LEMON (on camera): Thanks.

JAMES: Hey, guys, you guys going back to school now. Thank you, guys. Thank you, guys. You guys are awesome.

[23:50:00] Look at you. You're at a loss for words.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

LEMON: We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

LEMON: Imagine you're kayaking down swift-moving rapids. As you're about to head down a waterfall, an accident causes you to fall 20 feet on to a rock. You know instantly you're paralyzed. Doctors aren't sure you'll ever walk again. That's what happened to one man until he met this week's CNN hero, Amanda Boxtel.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm a robot.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My goal has always been to make a full recovery. And I think a lot of people thought that was far-fetched. It was a lot of hard work.

[23:55:00] I remember when I made this first couple of steps. That's when I knew that making a full recovery was possible.

AMANDA BOXTEL, CNN HERO: He's living the miracle of what we all want, what we all aspire for, to stand up and to do it on our own. He's doing it. I haven't witnessed that too often in my lifetime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEMON: Wow, that is amazing. To see Nate's (ph) story and learn about Amanda's amazing program, go to CNNheroes.com, and you can donate to any of this year's CNN heroes at CrowdRise.com/CNNheroes. CrowdRise.com/CNNheroes.

That's it of us. Thanks for watching. Our coverage continues.

[00:00:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)