tv Unguarded With Rachel Nichols CNN May 30, 2014 7:30pm-8:01pm PDT
[ bleep ]. >> i didn't expect that. for seth macfarlane, always expect the unexpected. ♪ tonight, on "unguarded with rachel nichols" -- unparalleled. lebron james reveals the man behind the player. >> when i was younger i was excited. out of my mind. you would lose and i was the worst person in the world. >> unrelenting. nascar star kurt busch pushes the limbs of what one man can do in a day. >> now kurt busch up in the ninth spot. >> do 1100 miles in one day, there will be the mental challenge, the physical challenge. >> unmatched. one of the nfl's best players makes the catch of the year. >> this is my buddy tre and all those who don't believe tre is my friend i'll get a touchdown.
♪ >> welcome to "unguarded." from one of the most competitive postseasons in recent memory to the daily soap opera to donald sterling and the clippers, there's no sport getting more attention than the nba and no one more qualified to talk about it than lebron james. he's become one of the most influential leaders and as he nears 30 he has grown up right in front of us. of course, this is the playoffs so there is also the matter of lebron's heat trying to close out the pacers tonight. >> he has not disappointed. >> big one. >> get back the no call. >> he missed it and that will end the game. so we look at game six. >> so, what have you learned over the years about closeout
games because it is always so hard to match the desperation of a team that is fighting for its playoff life. >> it is very difficult. this is always the hardest game but you come in with the same mind-set as you did when you wanted to win the first or second or third one. you understand the team trying to save their lives play with a lot of desperation. >> when you think back to your early playoff days, early conference finals, the finals against the spurs what's the difference between lebron james and what you knew then versus now. >> just smarter, more seasoned basketball player. more veteran. i mean i've been in it so many times that i kind of know what to expect. for me at a younger age, i was never even keel. you know, i would win a playoff game when i was excited, out of my mind and lose, i was the worst person in the world. >> do you ever look or see old tape of yourself and think, oh, boy. >> absolutely, absolutely. a lot to learn but the guy here
today is still learning, as well so i think the best teacher in life is experience. >> you spent the first five or six years identified as the young one. now you got the kevin durants in the world coming up. what is it like to feel that difference, to feel that, okay, i'm not the one trying to get people ahead of me but there's guys nipping at my heels. >> definitely different different for me. i spent years in the adolescent stage and there's always going to be guys before you and after you. right now in the present i just take care of what i can. control what i can and being part of this franchise and team and being the leader of the team you try to put us in a position to help us succeed. at the same time understand you see those guy, those younger guys coming for you for sure. >> you had kevin durant out to your place to train with you. >> we got done lifting. >> exactly. >> putting in work in the weight room. >> given advice to paul george. ever a point in the back of your head when you see k.d. win the mvp and you were clearly the
other guy that could have won it you say maybe i shouldn't have helped my competition like that. >> absolutely not. i feel like me playing the game is a small token of what i have to give to the game. me giving my knowledge to guys coming up after me, i have no problem with doing it because i'm not going to be able to play this game forever. even if i'm competing against these guys -- i'm not going to give them tips to compete against them but at the same tie i don't mind lending a hand. >> did michael jordan or anybody do that for you. >> no. >> does that surprise you. >> no, i think it's who you are. you can't expect for someone to do something that they're not comfortable with or not accustomed doing and for me it just came naturally. >> you have taken on more responsibility as you've gotten older in general. most recently you can spoke about the donald sterling issue. >> i'm not a racist but those words came out of my mouth, i guess. >> we talked about a lot.
i think the most important thing we understand is that adam silver is moving forward. you know, he's not just for the owners, he's for the players as well and in the direction that they're going in we're all for it so we look forward to the next step and we'll go from there. >> you're expanding your reach off the court, as well. you're set to be in not just one but a couple different movies during the off-season. >> did you get the check i sent. >> i did. >> hope it was enough. >> it wasn't. >> what made you decide to take a hand at this. >> something i have a lot of fun with. obviously i watch a lot of movies over my life and to be able to join the cast of so many great actors and actresses that they do on an everyday basis so see what i have to give. >> are you going to be as good at that as playing basketball. >> no, i know what my day job is. >> we know how "space jam" worked out for jordan. stick with us. we have a fascinating mix of stories tonight. up next, we're going to get a firsthand account of what it's like to compete in two different professional sporting events in
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♪ i'm rachel nichols and welcome back to "unguarded." say you drive 1100 miles taking the kids from new york city to disney world. now imagine doing it at 200 miles an hour in front of a combined 500,000 screaming fans this. past sunday nascar driver kurt busch attempted the double, competing in the indy 500 in the afternoon then flying down to charlotte to race in the coca-cola 600 in the evening. here's his firsthand unguarded account of his crazy day. ♪
>> the whole atmosphere of indianapolis and the 500 is a grand stage and the world is watching. my experience level on the indy car side is zero. i'll tell you it's motorsports but it's two completely different disciplines. going into something that i've never done before, there's, of course, the thursday and one city, friday in another city. saturday in another city. sunday in both. ♪ what so proudly we hailed >> i do things for a reason. over the last couple of years working with the armed forces foundation, i've seen a lot that our military has gone through and with this being memorial day weekend, to me it's an easy way to reflect and to show respect for our military and to do 1100
miles in one day, there's going to be the mental challenge and the physical challenge and when you see these men and women who have served, that's the inspiration to go out there and do this. i walk through gasoline alley sunday morning. it hit me at that moment, this was the 98th running of the indy 500 and so many races have been won, the hardship of it, as well. the bad side effect is injuring yourself. motorsports is a dangerous game. it's a risk. is your heart telling you to do it? is your brain telling you not to do it but i felt as if this was the most prepared i've ever been in my life for something that i didn't know what i was getting into. >> it's 1100 miles starts right now. >> first half of the race was going to be a learning experience. i started to get comfortable with the car. >> check in on kurt busch in his
bid in his first indianapolis 500 took the green flag in 12th. kurt running in 15th. >> you have to use a sixth sense that you wouldn't think of in racing and it's sound. well, you think that the motor drowns out sound. it does but you can hear other people's motors. and when somebody is close to you, you need to listen for them. >> kurt busch in that last run moving up. he's handled it like he's a veteran. >> the check mark was lap 150. accidents are going to start to happen because drivers are not putting their cars on edge. so i knew turn two would be a tough corner and was for me all day long. others are likely to have trouble there too. >> caution, trash. there was debris in turn two. >> i saw the impact and when these cars hit the wall, they literally looked like they explode and i had to go as hard left as i could at a rate to not spin the car, if you get into the grass it's going to suck you in, spin you around and your day is going to be done. i was lucky enough to not touch the grass and to not have
shrapnel hit the car. to run my first ever indy car race, sixth place is an achievement that i'll have forever. i've got 600 more miles to go and do. this finish is nice, let's keep building on it. it took 47 minutes to get from indy to charlotte. i felt like with the doctor and the nurse checking my vitals, plugging the i.v. in and giving me my next bottle of fluids these people to help me with the next step, that was my zone out of the 500 and zone in on the 600. ♪ when i got to charlotte, everybody was very proud that a nascar guy could go up there and compete with those open wheel guy. >> kurt busch now behind the familiar wheel of his hoss animation chevrolet. >> we were in 15th. that's when i started to settle in on, all right, we survived the first chunk of the race. >> see kurt busch in the 41.
he's fighting to stay on the lead lap right now. >> there was a lot that i remember around lap 136 and we weren't quite having the perfect day. i said, you know what, this is what soldiers do. you have to soldier on. it might be muddy. it might be dirty. it might be miserable. i'm not giving up. that's the part of doing 1100 miles and executing perfectly all day. it's tough to do. >> it's been a long night in charlotte for kurt busch. a left rear shock absorber problem >> that's part of motorsports. having mechanical failures. it takes perfect execution to win in this day and age. >> concern now is something completely different. he says he's down at least two cylinders in that 41 machine. right now he says it's not going to last much longer. >> kurt busch's long day of racing indianapolis and charlotte is over. kurt busch has blown an engine. >> it was quiet. the motor wasn't running.
the 1100 miles wasn't going to be achieved. and at the end of the day, i gave it my all. this was a five-month journey. >> can't let the mood here with the car dampen what happened up in indy today. >> if you had to ask me right now would i do it again, i'd love to do it again. no regrets at all. >> although he didn't win either race he didn't walk away empty-handed he was awarded the indy 500 rookie of the year trophy. not bad. when we come back we'll discuss the crisis in sports that had president barack obama demanding change yesterday and later in the show, a heartwarming story from nfl defensive stud j.j. watt. stick around. i am totally blind. i've been blind since birth. i lost my sight to eye disease.
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there was a time when athletes joked about getting their bell rung and hardly anyone seemed to notice. that time is long gone. the nfl is battling multiple lawsuits from former player, scared parents are pulling their kids from youth sports and yesterday the issue reached the white house. as president obama demanded change. >> we need more athletes to understand how important it is to do what we can to prevent injuries and to admit them when they do happen. right? we have to change a culture that says, you suck it up. >> well, i want to welcome in our guest, chris nuinski and chris may win for most unusual career path. football at harvard then became a pro wwe wrestler and became instrumental in the examination of the brain of several high-profile athletes after suffering a concussion himself and welcome in ted johnson, three-time super bowl champion and has become a leading voice
for change. welco welcome, guys. >> good to be here. >> chris, when you look back at where you started, just trying to convince people there might be a link between athletes committing suicide, having problems and concussions, what is the president's involvement say about where we are in this debate right now. >> it was an amazing day for us because when the president is speaking about this issue, there really isn't a higher place to go so i was just so excited that it's reached that level and that level of consciousness in the united states now. >> but you guys heard the president. there's still tremendous pressure on athlete os play even when they have concussion symptoms and, ted, what happened in your experience? >> yeah, i know, it was in the summer of 2002 i got a concussion in a preseason game and four days later i was pushed out there, i got another concussion. i got my bell rung and i got dinged at least two or three times a week for the rest of my
career. when i got those two back-to-back so that's where the long-term problems happen. if you don't let the first one heal and get a second one, that's when you can have issues. >> how much of a problem is it, fans, what they love about the game is the hard hits and culture of bravado. >> it's the very shame-based kind of injury because it's the invisible injury, if you will. so you have to take people's words for it. >> absolutely. and, chris, the nfl spends such a long time denying there was a problem here. to what degree do you feel like they've truly reversed themselves? how genuine is it, the efforts we're seeing from them now. >> my biggest concern the voice of the nfl is trying to take in telling what to do with our kids. we have to remember the nfl's 32 billionaires trying to say football is safe for everybody no matter if you're 5 years old or you're 25 years old. you know, i'm flat they're putting up money because they're putting up more money than other leagues but also have a huge responsibility and i think someone needs to speak up for
the youth athletes and the president really played that role yesterday. >> and, ted, i saw you shaking your head when asked about the nfl's genuineness here. >> i think we have come a long way. there was not mandatory baseline testing when i retired in 2005. there is now. there wasn't an independent neurologist on the feel when i played. there is now. in 2011 they negotiated a new cba and got less hitting in practice. a lot of my concussion, rachel, i got in practice. so they're not hitting nearly as much, not putting the pads on nearly as much and for that reason i think they're going to cut down on a lot of the concussions. >> and it is always going to be tough on the players in all sports because the burden is going to be on them. we don't just see it in the nfl. in the nba, paul george of the pacer got a concussion during a game and came back later and said i'm sorry. i reported it because it then he had to go through the concussion protocol and almost missed a game. i want to thank you guys so much. i really appreciate your time.
all right. we're going to take a quick break. when we come back one of the nfl's best players, j.j. watt l lets us in on how he turned heartbreak into happiness. you'll want to stick around for that. >> let's give him a reason to believe. his arm was crazy good. ♪ ♪ ♪ oh-oh, oh, oh, la, la-la, la-la, la-la ♪ ♪ na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na some things just go together, like auto and home insurance.
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welcome back. i'm rachel nichols. why a lot of football fans know j.j. watt for his sack totals or his stint as the nfl's defensive player of the year he showed recently his biggest muscle may be his heart. ♪ it all started with a chance meeting. an nfl star who decided to stop in the right place at the right time. >> after wins i usually go over by the fence out by the players' parking lot to say hi to the fans. at the end of the line was this boy and everybody, go see him, go see him. >> i asked for his autograph and
he started to come over the fence and he gave me a hug. >> ee took a picture and talked for a couple of minutes, you know. >> after all, hundreds of other times that's where it had ended for j.j. watt. but there was just something about 11th grader trey brandt. they developed a friendship. but trey had a problem. >> trey told me, yeah, j.j., nobody believes that you're my friend. by to school and i tell everybody that i'm best friends with j.j. and they always say, that's fake. 'not your friend. >> trey was getting teased. something ha had rarely happened before at katie high school. watt decided to do something about it. >> it was like, listen, nobody is believing you, let's show them. let's show them that we're friended and give them a reason to believe. >> watt invited trey to make a video. >> i'm j.j. watt this. is my buddy trey. and all those of you who don't believe trey is my friend believe this touchdown. >> fires into the end zone.
touchdown. go. >> he made that video because he didn't like how the kids here at school were treating me. >> it was a little video to kind of show the kids at school that he was my friend and kind of took off. >> i'm j.j. watt. this is my buddy trey. >> watt posted it on instagram and facebook. >> the next day i got a call. j.j., i'm so popular. everybody in the school sees the video. this went viral. did you see it. >> yeah, buddy, i saw it. >> not only account video prove trey and watt were friends it showed off trey's passing arm. >> how many takes did you have to do to get the pass. it was the first take. i ran out. he hit me in stride. >> i threw the pass to show, anybody in the nfl, i'd be a great quarterback for texas. >> what's up? >> so when watt organized a softball game with fellow nfl
play attorneys raise money who better to throw out the first pitch than his friend trey. >> after i saw his arm and i was like, i got the perfec guy and trey -- so i asked trey. he said absolutely. i'd love to do it so i'm pretty excited. i think he's going to bring some heat. >> yeah. [ cheers and applause ] >> trey and j.j. a quick photo after a football game and enduring friendship. >> i knew that we'd take a picture and that he'd share that picture. i never saw it leading to where it did and i never saw a friendship coming out of it. you know, but you never know where friendships start. >> it's really cool to be a part of his life and he's a great guy. i love him a lot. he is one of the best players in the nfl. >> love it when we can cheer for a guy off the field as loudly as we do on the feel. all right. that is it for us this week but you can follow me on twitter like us on facebook or visit us