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Cari Champion is Interviewed about Draft Picks; Americans Switching Religions; Corey Johnson is Interviewed about NYC Using Schools for Migrants; Owen Burns is Interviewed about Saving His Sister. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 17, 2023 - 08:30   ET





UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And that means that the number one pick in the 2023 NBA draft goes to the San Antonio Spurs.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The San Antonio Spurs walk away with the first --


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Walking away and striking gold, basically, as they won the 2023 NBA draft lottery. It means that they will have the right to make the first pick at next month's draft. And all eyes are going to be on Victor Wembanyama, who is expected to be the very first name that is called eagerly on June 22nd. The 19-year- old French phenom is not even in the league yet, but according to the NBA he is already one of the top ten most viewed players on social media this season. Wembanyama watched the lottery from Paris and described his excitement with a healthy dose of confidence.


VICTOR WEMBANYAMA, PROSPECTIVE NBA DRAFT PICK: I can't really describe it. I mean, you know, it's just my -- my heart is beating. I got every -- everyone I love, everyone I know around me. It's a really special moment I'm going to remember for the rest of my life.

I'm trying to win a ring ASAP, so be ready.


COLLINS: You can't tell from that video, but he is 7'4". He is a superstar. He is set to join a pair of the legendary Spurs who were drafted - also drafted number one. In 1997, the Spurs picked Tim Duncan number one. He went on to help them win five championships. Ten years before that, the Spurs used their top pick on Hall of Fame center David Robinson.

So, joining us now is the host of "The Cari Champion Show" on Amazon Prime Video, Cari Champion herself. So happy to actually have you here in person.

I mean, I loved him saying just be ready.

CARI CHAMPION, HOST, "THE CARI CHAMPION SHOW": Be ready for it all. OK, so, I will say this, and I'm - I'm having a sober moment here. I know there's a lot of hype around Victor, but there has only been one person I believe who has lived up to this type of hype, and that was LeBron James.

It's very hard to have so many people say you're going to be the next big thing. And while saying he's 7'4", I still hear sometimes he's 7'5" and he plays like a point guard. We really just don't know what we're going to get.


CHAMPION: I'm excited for him, though, because this is a wonderful opportunity. Nineteen, coming to a new country, playing with a great organization and Coach Popovich with the Spurs.

HARLOW: Oh, the best.

CHAMPION: It's -- the best. It's - he's - he's going to teach him everything he needs to know. So, I feel like he's in good hands.

HARLOW: I think that's a great point about having Pop as your coach because it's not just about the game of basketball, he's going to teach him so much about his life and how he's going to lead at 19.


HARLOW: That's like really critical to his success, isn't it?

CHAMPION: And I think it's also -- if I had to say, even though they say the ping pongs (ph) did it, if I had to say, I think it was very, very intentional from the universe because imagine coming over here not knowing how to move through the chaos. And basketball -- sports has become so political.


CHAMPION: And you need someone to measure you. So Pop will be a good father. And you'll have Tim Duncan there as a coach. So, it will be good.

HARLOW: That's great.



COLLINS: And he is just so young. And that is something, you know, we've been talking about is, not just how you conduct yourself on the court, on the field, it's also off of it.


COLLINS: Ja Morant.


COLLINS: I mean this - I remember when this first happened back in March. He flashed a video inside of a club at night.

HARLOW: A gun, yes.

COLLINS: Flashed a gun, sorry.


COLLINS: And was suspended. It was a big point of controversy.

Now he just was seen flashing a gun on Instagram Live in a car again.


COLLINS: He has now been suspended. There's an investigation into this. What are you hearing from people on this?

CHAMPION: Kaitlan and Poppy, this is one of these instances where a lot of people have absolutely zero sympathy for Ja at this point. It's almost as if you're thinking you can't be a serious person. You give this entire sit-down interview where you say you're in therapy and you're changing your ways. And I - and, quite frankly, he can't be a serious person because why in the world would you surround yourself with people who will put you on Instagram, on social media, live in the moment, and you know there's a gun in the car? What is the point of that?

HARLOW: Let's listen to Adam Silver, the commissioner, talking about this.



ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: I at least was left with the sense that he was taking this incredibly seriously. So, honestly, I was shocked when I saw this weekend that video.


Now, we're in the process of investigating it. And we'll figure out exactly what happened to the best we can. And, it's, again, it's the -- the video's a bit grainy and all that, but I'm assuming the worst.


HARLOW: Having the commissioner saying I'm assuming the worst means what for Ja?

CHAMPION: It means that they're going to give him more of a suspension, a very more - a significant suspension. Last time it was eight games, right, and that was less than two months ago. So, Ja is one of these superstars of the NBA. And I think he thought his talent would trump all.

HARLOW: It never does.

CHAMPION: It never does.

HARLOW: Why do people always think this?

CHAMPION: And they're going to - and they're going to really make him pay for it this time. They really are. And he's going to have to learn. Sit down for some time and learn.

COLLINS: Yes. It does. It does. That's totally right. You're just -- the way you play is not an excuse for that.


COLLINS: Cari Champion, it was great to have you on set this morning. Loved having you here in person.

CHAMPION: Thank you. Thank you. I love you guys. You guys look amazing.

HARLOW: We love - I mean, come on.

CHAMPION: Can I just hang out with you all time? Can I just hang out with you ladies all the time?

HARLOW: You're over here putting us to shame with these leather pants!

COLLINS: I know. I know.

CHAMPION: No, listen, the ladies in the sports and the news, we do it all year and I want to hang out with -

COLLINS: We do it.

HARLOW: Amen, sister.

COLLINS: Thank you.

CHAMPION: You're welcome. Thank you.

HARLOW: And we'll take that walk soon.


HARLOW: All right.

A growing number of Americans say they used to follow a different religious tradition or denomination than the one they practice today. This is according to a new survey. That percentage is just going up. CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten is here.

That is REM.

COLLINS: I love that we got every song that mentions religion.


Were you even born when this song came out, Harry?

HARRY ENTEN, CNN SENIOR DATA REPORTER: I don't know. I have no idea if I was actually out when this some came. It's not a song I've ever heard before. But let's get to the numbers.

This morning's number is 24 percent. Have you ever changed religions? Twenty-four percent of Americans said yes in 2022. It was only 15 percent who said so in 2021.

Reasons people change from their prior religion. Not surprisingly, 57 percent said they stopped believing in it. Interestingly, 30 percent said it was because their prior religion was anti-LBGTQ, 29 percent said the family was never religious.

What were the faiths that people left? Thirty-seven percent, top, Catholic, 24 percent non-Evangelical Protestant, 17 percent, other Christian, 13 percent were Evangelical Christian.

HARLOW: That's really interesting. It's also, though, Harry, not just people changing religions. Overall, relying on their faith, less than -- this as I force my children to go to church on Sundays, they are relying on it less and less.

ENTEN: Correct. So, religion is the most important thing in my life, just 15 percent say that now. A decade ago it was 25 percent. And rising identities, look at this, nothing in particular, up 9 points to 23 percent. Agnostic and atheist, also up now to 6 percent each. So the fact is, people are relying on religion less than ever before in the country, guys.

HARLOW: OK. That is fascinating. Thank you, Harry.

ENTEN: Thank you.

COLLINS: All right, there's an uproar here in New York City over the Mayor Eric Adams' plan to house migrants who have been bussed to the city from border cities in school gyms here. We're going to talk to the former speak of the New York City council who is defending the decisions by Mayor Adams.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They're not going to do this to us. You picked the wrong neighborhood and the wrong school.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COLLINS: Those are parents protesting in New York City against the Mayor Eric Adams' plan to house migrants in school gyms as the city is trying to reckon with a surge of asylum seekers sent here.


MARY CASE, PARENT OF CHILD AT PS 172: I think they tried to sort of just slip this through without giving people a chance to really respond.

SAMANTHA CLARK, CO-PRESIDENT, PS 172 PTA: I would like other - other places to be considered.

Our school is tiny. We can barely fit in as it is.


COLLINS: Adams says a lack of support from the federal government has forced his hand with this. It's left him no good options.

It's harsh criticism of President Biden's handling of this crisis that is driving a wedge between the mayor of the nation's largest city and a president who is trying to combat the crisis at the border.

Joining us now, Democrat and former New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

You have a perspective on this, which is essentially just that the mayor doesn't have a ton of good options here and that you -- you are actually on board with his plan to do this?

COREY JOHNSON (D), FORMER NYC COUNCIL SPEAKER: Well, I mean, clearly the situation has shown is that we're in an emergency and New York City is sort of out of space. I mean 62,000 migrants in the last year, over 120 hotels opened up, 4,200 migrants in the last week.

And the clip you just showed of parents being upset, it never sure reached this point. The mayor has called for a decompression strategy, trying to figure out ways to kind of spread migrants out, sending people to the suburbs where you've seen county executives and people outside of New York City fighting against that.

And what all of this shows is really a failure of the federal level, a lack of coordination, not enough support for localities and cities that are dealing with this surge. So, understandably, the mayor is saying, I need some help here. There was a $350 million pot of FEMA money that cities could apply for. New York City has already incurred well over $1 billion in cost to house 62,000 migrants and has only been awarded $30 million from FEMA. The cost associated with this is going to bloom out to $4.2 billion over the next year. So, it is an untenable situation.

And we're a city of immigrants. And we're a city that welcomes all people. But clearly this has become a toxic situation without much help from the federal government. HARLOW: So here's the other side of that argument. Republicans who

point out, look, you made, Mr. Mayor, and voters in New York, New York a sanctuary city. And so this was going to happen and you said you're welcoming and here you go.

This is what Representative Mike Lawler, who's a Republican, who flipped one of those districts in New York, said about Orange County, for example, which has now blocked Mayor Adams from moving migrants there. Here's what he told us.


REP. MIKE LAWLER (R-NY): New York City chose to be a sanctuary city back in 2016. When southern state governors who were overwhelmed then inundated over the last two years chose to send migrants up to New York City, Eric Adams called it morally bankrupt that they were doing that without coordination and cooperation with city officials. He's now doing the very thing he decried.


HARLOW: By trying to send them outside of the city. Do you think New York brought any of this on itself?

JOHNSON: Oh, no.


I mean that is not a fair comparison. When we say we're a sanctuary city, we're a city that welcome immigrants, we're a city that does not go after undocumented people, we're a city that does not do things that we've seen in other cities across the country in having ICE agents outside of certain facilities where people are trying to get help. That's what we mean.

This is an unprecedented crisis that is driven by violence in Central America and in Mexico and is now overwhelming cities, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York has really been the epicenter of it. So, we are a city that's welcoming, but we're a city that needs help. We need help from the federal government. We need coordination. And we're not getting that right now.

One other crazy fact is that some of these cities in Texas, where Governor Abbott is busing people here, or flying people there, they're taking FEMA money that they're receiving from FEMA to help migrants and using that money to pay for bus tickets and plane tickets to send people there. That's not the intention of that FEMA money.

And, again, it shows a lack of coordination, a lack of help from the federal government. So, Mayor Adams, I think, is right in saying, give us some help here. We can't do this alone.

HARLOW: And I should note, you've not always been aligned or agreed with everything Mayor Adams has done. You've been critical. You've gone against him.

JOHNSON: No. I mean he's a friend, but we don't agree on every issue.

HARLOW: Yes. All right.

JOHNSON: But, clearly, what you saw in those clips at the beginning of this bloc with those parents, it never should have reached this point.

HARLOW: Corey Johnson, thank you.

JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: So nice to have you.

COLLINS: Thanks for joining us here on set.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

HARLOW: So now ahead this story, a 13-year-old boy used a slingshot to chase off a kidnapper trying to abduct the boy's sister. His name is Owen Burns. He's a hero. There he is with his parents. He joins us next.




HARLOW: All right, how about this. How about this for a "Morning Moment" for you.

A slingshot is all it took for one 13-year-old to save his sister's life. Police report an eight-year-old was mushroom hunting in her backyard in rural Alpena, Michigan, when a man came out of the woods behind their house, put his hand over her mouth, and attempted to pull her back into the woods.

Her brother was watching from inside. He grabbed his slingshot and hit the attempted kidnapper twice before scaring him off. Police were able to track down the suspect, whose injuries were consistent with a slingshot strike, and arrested him on attempted kidnapping and assault charges.

So, let's bring in 13-year-old Owen Burns and his slingshot. You can show it to everyone, Owen. He saved his sister's life. Also his parents, Margaret and Andrew.

Good morning, guys.




HARLOW: Owen, good job. Good, good, good job. What was it like when you saw this happen? You just had that instinct to go?

O. BURNS: It just felt like I was scared and I had like something to do because if I didn't grab it she would have been taken away or - or more worse. So, I grabbed it. I grabbed anything I could get.

HARLOW: How is your --

O. BURNS: And then I (INAUDIBLE) hit him in the head.

HARLOW: It's really scary for you, for her. Can you just tell us how she's doing this morning?

O. BURNS: Fine. It's just she's a little startled a little bit still.

HARLOW: Yes, of course.

Mom and dad, Margaret, what did you think when you heard all about this? Did - did they come inside and Owen told you what happened?

M. BURNS: They actually called me. I had just got out of work.

HARLOW: What did you say? What did you think?

M. BURNS: And all I heard was kidnapper and I was on my way.

HARLOW: What do you think about your son jumping into action like that?

M. BURNS: Very brave.


What about you, Andrew?

A. BURNS: Well, he's a good shot. And he always has been.

HARLOW: Did he learn from dad?

O. BURNS: No. I only use my bb gun. That's all I use.


A. BURNS: He's shot his nerf gun when he was a kid and his bb gun and --

O. BURNS: Then I broke another one and another one and another one because I cocked it too much.

HARLOW: What did you say, you -- because you used it too much?

O. BURNS: Yes, it breaks here (ph) sometimes.

A. BURNS: Yes.

HARLOW: How old were you when you got that first slingshot? O. BURNS: I had another one. I was like probably seven or eight. It

was an old one that the rubber was breaking off. So I grabbed it and used it.

HARLOW: What did you put in it? You run outside. You've got your slingshot. Show us - show us what did you? What do you - what did you pick up, a rock?

O. BURNS: So, I grabbed like a - I had a gravel rock in there and a marble right next to it. So, I grabbed it, put it in here, and I just shot it.

HARLOW: Wow. Wow.

You know, Margaret, one thing that I had read about where you guys live in Alpena, Michigan, that I thought was so touching is people say you don't move there, you grow up there and you grow old there. That's how tight this community is, right?

M. BURNS: Yes.

HARLOW: So what has the community been saying about Owen and what happened and coming together around you guys?

O. BURNS: A bunch of stuff. Like people want to say I'm a hero. A bunch of stuff. They want to give me stuff. I get a bunch of money for no reason. I'm grateful for all that, but you don't have to give me all that stuff for no reason. I know I did something right, but it's just - it's (INAUDIBLE) me. It's (INAUDIBLE) impressed why other people giving me stuff for free. It's weird.

HARLOW: Oh, wow, college is expensive, so don't buy more sling shots.

M. BURNS: Oh, yes.

HARLOW: Put it in the bank account and save it and you deserve it Owen. Thank you for being a hero for saving your sister. And, mom and dad, thanks for raising such a great little boy.

A. BURNS: We try our best.

HARLOW: Yes. Well, you did a good job.


Thank you, guys, very much.

Love them.

COLLINS: Such an awesome story.

HARLOW: Such an awesome story.

COLLINS: I'd like to think one of my little brothers would do that for me.

HARLOW: Would save - would save - he would -- they would.

COLLINS: Big slingshot pros. They are good at slingshots outside.

All right, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

HARLOW: Thank you.

COLLINS: Congrats to Owen and his family. So exciting.

"CNN NEWS CENTRAL" starts right after this break.