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King Charles

Women's College Basketball Stars Are Shining Bright; ESPN's Stephen A. Smith Talks With Gayle And Charles; ESPN'S Stephen A. Smith Speaks On Athletes And Entertainers In Sports Media; Gayle And Charles Discuss With Guests Why People Socialize Less. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired April 03, 2024 - 22:00   ET


MICHAEL ZEILER, ECLIPSE CARTOGRAPHER: With leafed out trees, then you'll see an amazing array of shimmering crescent shapes on the ground.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: That's amazing, I will say I did the pinpoint camera, not as cool as the glasses, I suspect. But I do want to ask you just finally before I let you go, does it get cooler during the total eclipse? Is that real?

ZEILER: That's a very good point. And if the day starts out sunny and warm, don't forget your jacket because you'll be surprised how cool it gets.

KEILAR: All right. Good to know, Michael Zeiler. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

ZEILER: Thank you.

KEILAR: And thank you for joining us. King Charles starts now.

GAYLE KING, CNN HOST: Going in, going in. Welcome, welcome, welcome on this Wednesday. It is cold and rainy in New York City, but it doesn't matter because our hearts are warm, right, dear?

CHARLES BARKLEY, CNN HOST: Our hearts are warm.

KING: We are very excited to be here tonight because we've got lots to talk to, including Maggie Haberman, you just saw that, from The New York Times. She's going to join us in just a few minutes to give us a window into what's happening right now in former President Donald Trump's camp. There's always something. So, we hope you'll stick around for that.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, I just saw him in the hallway, looking very lovely in a shade of salmon. Did you like that jacket?

BARKLEY: I thought it was pink.

KING: It's really salmon. But we are just a few minutes too because it feels like we were talking about this all day today. We have to talk about the biggest story in the country right now, which is what, Charles Barkley?

BARKLEY: March Madness, March Madness, March Madness.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: But the number one sports thing going today is March Madness women.

KING: Yes, yes, we're having a ball, but we're having a moment. You know that Beyonce song, who run the world, girls. It's a shining moment for women's basketball. I know you know all about it. Let's hear it for the ladies.

Caitlin Clark, we're talking about you. Angel Reese, love you, talking about you. Paige Bueckers, we're talking about you. And JuJu Watkins, who is just a freshman, this woman is amazing. Women's college basketball stars are lighting it up in the world, I have to say, take a notice, more than 12 -- just think about this number, Charles. 12 million people turned in Monday night's game. Iowa-LSU was actually 12.3.

BARKLEY: Well, if they had a count of my T.V., it was even more. I don't have a Nelson box.

KING: That's more than any college basketball game in ESPN's history. More viewers -- think about this, four out of five games from last year's NBA Finals, more viewers than the NBA, what do you think about that?

BARKLEY: Number one, I'm proud of the ladies, disappointed in the NBA but proud of these ladies.

KING: Yes, more than the NBA.

So, our next guest is somebody who has held the title of most famous women's basketball player on the planet. Let's welcome college basketball player of the year, three-time -- listen to her stats, three-time WNBA champion and basketball icon, Candace Parker. Hey, Candace Parker. Hello, hello.

CANDACE PARKER, THREE-TIME WNBA CHAMPION: Hi, you all? Thanks for having me.

KING: I know. What do you make of this Candace's moment? You know, everybody keeps saying the women are having a moment, but 12.3 million viewers, just took my breath away. And then watching the game the other night, really, I was in awe of what I saw in the court.

PARKER: What was really cool was I was actually in Florida visiting my family and I was walking past, you know, the bars and the restaurants and every game on was the Iowa-LSU game.

And so I think it is more than a moment. I think it is momentum. It's kind of a bird's eye view into what we've realized for a long time that, you know, women's basketball is exciting. And I think it's like ironic that now we're talking about star power and women's college basketball. And for so long, it was described as, you know, a team sport where everybody has to touch the ball and now we're seeing these stars that are just so talented and so skilled and, you know, able to score in so many different ways.

BARKLEY: As one of the best to ever do it, how excited is it for you to see these women kind of run the world right now, because we mentioned all the ladies.


It's not just Caitlin. It's not just Angel. It's not just Paige. It's not just JuJu. This is a great time for college, and now these ladies are going to be joining you next year.

PARKER: Well, listen, Chuck, I think it's huge for women's basketball in general. And I just want to say like, even those that came before me, you think about the Cheryl Millers, think about the Cheryl Swoops, you think about Cynthia Coopers and the Tina Thompsons and the Lisa Leslies, and it goes on and on and on that have laid the foundation for this.

And this is kind of one of those things where I think the door just keeps getting wider and wider and more and more open. And so I think now companies and T.V. and viewership is up because it was given a chance to succeed and, you know, the numbers don't lie. That's what we like to say.

KING: Yes, I know. Candace, do you think that the talent has been there all along? It's just that it's taken the country, the world to really focus on what is what is possible in women's sports in the WNBA.

PARKER: I think the talent has been there. But like anything, it takes time to grow and it takes time for people to want to be a part of it and to see it. I think it does take star power and we're seeing how the value of that in the Caitlin Clarks and the Angel Reeses, we're also seeing the value of it being more than just sports.

If this started off as a rivalry, if you think about it, in the national championship game last year with Angel Reese and Caitlin Clark, and that's what sports is. And I love the fact that now we're embracing that in women's sports because for so long, in sports, I'm supposed to not like Chuck because he played for the Sixers and I was a Bulls fan or I was supposed to not like the Lakers because I grew up in Chicago.

And so with that being said, it's okay in women's sports to have a team that you root for and have somebody that you boo and we're seeing the benefit of that now.

KING: But you know, there's always comes a negative, Candace, you know this, a negative side of this moment for women's college basketball. We're talking about LSU star player, that would be Angel Reese, who announced today, this is good news, she's entering the WNBA draft. She had this tear-filled response to the harsh scrutiny that she's been dealing with lately. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I've been through so much, I've seen so much. I've been attacked so many times. Death threats, I've been sexualized, I've been threatened.

All this has happened since I won the national championship. And I said the other day, I haven't been happy since then.


KING: I'd like to know from you, Candace, what you made of her comments, because it's been troubling to me that she's got some grief because people say, look, she did all this trash talking, and now because she's lost, she is now trying to elicit sympathy. That is not what I saw when I heard her words today or yesterday. What did you think?

PARKER: You know, I think it's -- there's a price with fame. And unfortunately now, with the landscape, the way that college basketball is, and, you know, we talk about this time and time again with young T.V. stars and tennis and MLB and all that stuff is these things are coming to them when they're still 17, 18, 19, 20 years old.

And, you know, we always talk about in the NBA how fans -- fan is short for fanatic. They're going to come and yell at you if you don't meet their parlay. They're going to scrutinize you when you lose and they're going to celebrate you when you win. And, unfortunately, I think these stars now are having to learn these lessons at a younger age.

And I just hope that the NCAA, that universities, that people are able to step in and help the stars navigate, not just the burden of fame and dealing with all that comes with it, but also financially, like you're upfront, given so much money that is so well-deserved. How are you then planning for your future as well?

So, I think that this is the job of an NCAA, of a university to make sure that they surround the student athlete with the support that they need.

BARKLEY: Last question, you know, obviously, you're part of my broadcasting family. Is Shaquille O'Neal a bigger jackass on Tuesday night as he is on Thursday night?

PARKER: Listen, Shaq is Shaq 24/7. So, you probably know more or know less. But I got to say, it is a treat to be able to work with you all. I, in all seriousness, grew up idolizing you. And sometimes I have to pinch myself and I'm sitting at the desk with you.

So, I'm going to give you this moment for a second because I joke a lot, but working with you all is unbelievable. And the kid in me cannot believe that I'm broadcasting with the round mound of rebound and big Superman. So, I have a great time with you all.

BARKLEY: Hey, you know, obviously you're coming off a championship with the Aces. It's going to be -- obviously, you guys, you all are terrific and it's an honor.


But can you talk about the juice that Caitlin is going to bring to Indiana next year? Because, man, all eyes are going to be on the fever, you guys are a lot of defending champs, but there's got to be some like, man, it's going to be so exciting out of new eyes she's going to be bringing to the WNBA.

PARKER: 100 percent. I think anytime you're able to have new eyeballs and a new fan base and, you know, I think it's going to be beneficial to not only just the fever but, you know, to the entire WNBA. And my challenge to the WNBA is to continue to raise the bar, um, and know that with more stars comes more expectations.

And so I hope that we're ready to continue to grow and continue to build because a lot a lot has been said that when you leave college and you go to the WNBA, I remember Diana Taurasi told me this, you know, when I was coming out of Tennessee and I was the first draft pick and rookie of the year and MVP and she's like, yes, this is the heyday.

She's like -- and then as time goes on, people forget. And I hope that we take that as a challenge and we say that, no, like we're going to continue to raise the bar and make her more of a star.

KING: Well, Candace, I'm really excited about the game and I know you've heard this, that the women's tickets for the Final Four are higher than the men's. I like that. I like that. I think that says a lot.

PARKER: I'll be there. I'm excited.

KING: Yes, yes, yes.

BARKLEY: Well, good luck to Tennessee at the Final Four. Oh, sorry, bad example.

PARKER: Hey, Chuck. Hey Chuck, I know the saying, if you're not first, you are last, but if you're losing your first round, then you can't make comments like that. So, what is it?

BARKLEY: Wow, wow.

KING: Well done. There you go, a rebound. Drop the microphone, Candace. Drop your microphone.

BARKLEY: Too soon, Candice. Too soon.

KING: Thank you, Candace, thank you. We're going to continue this conversation.

PARKER: You all got the brain being hooping.

KING: I like her.

BARKLEY: She's awesome. Thank you, Candace.

KING: Awesome with a capital A. We are going to continue this conversation, but we've invited a friend, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith. You think he'll have something to say? He is going join us right after the break.



KING: Everybody knows her name. It's like that Cheers commercial. Where you going, everybody knows your name. We're talking about the faces of college basketball.

So, it's only fair, we think, to bring in the face of ESPN. He's the author of the memoir, Straight Shooter, which is a perfect title for you, Stephen A. Smith. You just heard Candace Parker talking about the criticism. We were talking that Angel Reese's face. What's your reaction to that? What's your take on that?

STEPHEN A. SMITH, ESPN HOST: Well, first of all, understand, she's been through a lot. Since she won the national championship last year, she pointed out that her life has been miserable. Unfortunately, we live in a society where there's some no good racist out there, that you'd certainly know that some of them got into her ear. Some of the criticism was aimed in her direction from those.

KING: You think it's strictly about racist?

SMITH: Not strictly, certainly not. I'm just talking about that's one element.

Then there's the other element of fervent -- you know, just a real hyper act of competition. She was somebody that was very braggadocious to some degree. She taunted Caitlin Clark. People forget that Caitlin Clark had spent the entire season last year taunting all of her opponents while she was busy embarrassing one of them after another because she's that phenomenal and she's that great. And then Angel Reese got the best of her and made sure that she rubbed it in a bit excessively. People didn't forget about that. Just so you had that element and people looking at her as classless and stuff like that.

KING: But do you advise some people say she brought the backlash on herself?

SMITH: Yes, to some degree, but not to the degree that she received it. People can cross the line. Certainly, you can be -- you don't mind being a bad guy. He would know a thing or two about that. You don't mind it at all, right? But it can get out of line, it can get out of hand. And certainly in this country, as an American, you see it happening all the time. So, I really felt bad for her. And I love the fact that her teammates came up and spoke on her behalf.

Again, she invited some of the scrutiny, no doubt, but she didn't invite it to the degree that she received it. And remember, this is a young lady here. She's not a seasoned veteran experience. She's in college. You won a national championship. You're not anticipating that this level of vitriol is going to come in your direction. Nevertheless, it did. And it's a lesson for her to be learned.

KING: (INAUDIBLE) about the game. I don't think -- what bothers me is it became so personal against her. That's what bothered me.

SMITH: But remember, it gets personal because people are hoping that it will have a personal effect on you so it will derail you from what you're focused on and what you're trying to do to achieve. She is great. LSU was great. And as a result, there's a whole bunch of people in this world who ain't great but wish they were. And as a result of that, their definition of success is bringing you down to their level because they can't possibly elevate themselves to your level.

She's young. And so she's had to learn that the hard way. But I think she'll be tougher, she'll be stronger, and she'll be an even greater lady and a woman down the line because of it.

BARKLEY: You know, I really thought they screwed this whole thing up last year, because after the games, they were talking more about the animosity and the finger pointing. And it was a great thing for LSU and what Caitlin did for the game last year.


I thought right after the game, people spent more time talking about what was going on between them two then the greatness of LSU. And then I feel bad now because instead of talking about the greatness of Caitlin Clark, we're talking about this B.S. And I feel bad for the young lady.

SMITH: Well, I will say this, even though they're talking about it to some degree, we are talking about a right now, a vast majority of the conversation has been about the greatness Caitlin Clark.

BARKLEY: And should be.

SMITH: And should be. This -- I had the pleasure of doing an event with her in Iowa, where she and I did an event together, 11,000 people packed outside to watch her. They certainly weren't there for me. They were there for her, like they have (INAUDIBLE) or two. But in the end, you know --

KING: No, I think there were five.

SMITH: Whatever. Most of them were for her.

KING: Yes, yes, yes.

SMITH: And she is beloved. She is revered. And then she goes on the court against LSU, against these players, and she put on an absolute show from opening tip. Her first shot was a three-pointer down near from the logo. She showed up. She showed out. She was clearly the best player on the court. She clearly has validated why she's the best player in the nation, leading the nation of both points and assist. And let me tell you something right now, spending time with us, spending time with her parents or whatever, she's an incredible role model, very poised, very seasoned and is going to be incredibly marketable.

And one of the reasons --

KING: I like your tweets the night of the game. You started out saying, wait a second, let's see what happens.

SMITH: Let's what happens.

KING: Then further on, you said, never mind.

SMITH: Never mind, never mind, this is something special.

KING: Nobody can stop her, yes.

SMITH: But I wouldn't like to say this about Angel Reese along with Caitlin Clark. There's nothing wrong with being a villain at times, as long as it doesn't cross lines. The audience may cross line. There is nothing wrong with it because it helps.

And Candace, I was listening to Candice, the wonderful Candace Parker, talking about this as well, that when you have a villain and you have the hero in some people's eyes, everyone is being marketed. You're not going to forget about Angel Reese, you're going remember that she lost Monday night, but it mattered because she won the national championship against that same Caitlin Clark a year earlier.

It was the first time in five or six matches that Caitlin Clark ever beat Angel Reese. So, we got to take that into consideration as well. They're both going to the WNBA, they're both household names, they are both going be successful and she just got the you better of you in the last round before you all both went to the pro level. It's okay.

BARKLEY: Yes. I --

KING: Charles said he was a villain.

SMITH: He was. He was.

KING: He said that he was a villain.

SMITH: He was, without question. He loved it. He loved it.

BARKLEY: No. But I do understand I'm old, Gayle. If you're villain today, yes, or you're overly confident, because, you know, Kim Mulkey is getting some animosity through -- yes, and she's a great coach. But, you know, in my day, we didn't have the internet. We didn't have people on television coming for your head 24/7. It s a different animal. I tell all these young players, you got to be careful because people -- everything you say, you can -- so I always get mad at -- you see some jocks get in trouble, some that stood (ph) in high school. We're all dumb and stupid in high school, but you put a tweet out. We didn't -- I'm so old, we had to send, no. We had rotary phones. SMITH: I will say this. In today's day and age, the age that we're living in, back in the day, you didn't have social media. So, back the in day, you were at the mercy of the fourth estate, the media. In this day in age, that's not necessarily the case.

And far more often than not, the athletes are the ones getting themselves in trouble because in an effort to really express themselves and to show their independence and the show that they have a voice and they're not dependent on the media, you go out there and you say some things.

And, you know, when you look at the medium for -- by and large, you understand this. Back in the day --

KING: And you say some things, too, Stephen. Do you ever think that sometimes you create some of the controversy?

SMITH: About?

KING: Just -- well, I mean, just your delivery sometimes. When I first met you, I thought, do you always holler like that?

SMITH: Right.

KING: The answer is yes?

SMITH: Yes, she did say that to me. I did.

KING: You always holler like that, and the answers, yes.


KING: But sometimes it seems to be that you like to stir things up.

SMITH: Well, you could say, and I'm not going to deny that that -- what the result is, but that's not my intent. I say what I mean and I mean what I say. I don't apologize for it to anybody. I know that I am fair. I knew that am humane. I use the facts to decide what my position is going be and why. I back it up with a level of substance that is required and go from there.

KING: And if you're wrong, I've heard you say, okay --

SMITH: If I'm wrong, I won't say something publicly be wrong and then apologize privately. I'll apologize probably. You got guys like him. The other guy, he was holding the media accountable, plenty of players and athletes and coaches and stuff were holding people accountable. I have their respect because they knew that I would man up and fess up if I was wrong.


But if I wasn't wrong, I wasn't budging. And that's the way that it goes.

Now, if that creates controversy and clicks and notoriety and all of this other stuff, so be it. That's the way of the world. You're doing something in a public forum. You ain't playing basketball or football in your bedroom. It's in front of the masses.

BARKLEY: But we both have been through this before.


BARKLEY: These are the most thin-skinned people I've ever been around in my life.

SMITH: That's right.

BARKLEY: Like they're like, yo, man, we got a job to do.

SMITH: Right.

BARKLEY: But you know what, the only thing that really bothers me, I don't mind criticizing guys, they deserve it. The one thing that bothers me, has anybody ever called you and said, man, thanks for saying good stuff about me?

SMITH: Never.

BARKLEY: Never ever. Never ever, Gayle. I can say nine great things about somebody. I say one bad thing, and my agent, their agent want to talk to you. Their mama want to talk to you.

SMITH: It's ridiculous. Chuck knows this. Listen, I'll bring up a name. I'll tell you something right now. I believe that LeBron James is one of the top four players in the history of basketball, the history of basketball, okay? And I have said this religiously time and time and time again. I've complimented him as a player. I've complimented him as an businessman, a director, I mean, everything. I mean --

KING: Why do I feel like a but coming, Stephen?

SMITH: I don't have him as the go, his boys. I said, you all act like that's an insult. It is an insult. I have a number two in the history of the game that started in 1947. And because I don't have him as number one, it's an insult.

It's just an example of what we have to deal with that Chuck is alluding to. That's just a poor example of it, but it really, really is that sensitive and it's because of the branding because they see so many opportunities to make money and they attach their name to brands and they think the slightest negativity will compromise their bottom line.

BARKLEY: They never think they did anything wrong, Gayle. That's the thing that drives me crazy. Well, I got criticized when I did stuff wrong.

KING: Yes, yes.

BARKLEY: But I didn't call the reporter like, yo, man, why you said that about me? I'm like, yes, I did something stupid. I did something wrong. I did something wrong.

KING: Where is Charles on your list? If he's number two, I'm assuming Michael is number one.

SMITH: Well, Charles is one of the all-time greats, but we going to put him at like top 25. We ain't going to put him at, like, number two, three, or four. I mean, I got Kareem and Wilt and Russell and people like that --

BARKLEY: Hey, Gayle, they got books. I'm in at top 25. I'm good with that. Out of all the people that have touched a basketball, I'm pretty good.

SMITH: He's one of the greatest, without question.

BARKLEY: But let me tell you about Stephen A.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: He's one of the hardest working people that I've ever been around, media-wise. But what he says is true. And you might not like what he says. He's going to have -- it's the truth. He's not trying to get clicks. And you know what he does that I really admire, he don't run from you. He does not run from you.

There're reporters who I know who are personal friends of mine, never been in a locker room, and they say the most asinine things about you, never even come to the game. Because I learned a long time ago, their job is not to be right. Their job is to get clicks. It clicks now. But in my day, they're like, yo, man, guys who are great friends of mine, say, I'm going to say this on the radio today. I said, why would you say that? He says, my job is to get these fools to call in and argue with me for four hours. I don't have to be right. I don't have to be wrong. My job --

KING: That's not you and you never --

BARKLEY: No, no, no, no, no. But I'm telling you, if he's -- like you say, we both -- I've had agents. I told you agents called me all the time. I've had coaches call me all the time.

SMITH: I've had mamas and daddies.

BARKLEY: Me too.

KING: Parents calling --

BARKLEY: Of course.

SMITH: Siblings.

KING: And what do you say -- if somebody's mother is on the phone --

SMITH: Oh, yes that just happened to me a few couple months ago with a player that will remain nameless. Yes, yes, yes, yes, his mother called me. KING: What are the initials?

SMITH: I won't tell. I won't tell. I won't tell. I won't tell.

KING: What are the initials?

BARKLEY: Stop it, Gayle.

SMITH: I will not tell, but I will say this.

KING: Can I guess?


SMITH: Nope, I'm not going to tell. I'm not going to tell. But I will say, I appreciate their points, I always have profound respect for them. I always listen to what they have to say, and then I say to them, this is my job. I'm talking basketball. When it's personal, that's your story. I won't do that to you. I won't violate you. But the game, that's my story to tell based on what I see, observe and hear from others as they explain their level of expertise.

And the one thing that I never do is -- you're right. I don't hide. I go to games. I go inside the locker room. The people that stopped me is ESPN because they got me in studio doing so many daggone (ph) shows. If it wasn't for that, you'd see me, I, on average, up until the year 2017, I went to a minimum of 125 games.

KING: So, you like doing all those daggone shows? You're not complaining?

SMITH: No, no, no. I'm just talking about being in the locker room and being on the sideline and making sure my number never changes, so you know where to find me if you really, really wanted to.

KING: In addition to that though, Charles, you also know that he's also an actor because you're on a general hospital. Can we just give a shout out to him?

BARKLEY: Shout out to Brick.

SMITH: Brick, surveillance expert for the mob.


I'm doing my thing. I'm doing my thing. I love it.

BARKLEY: So, hey, man, keep doing your thing.

KING: I'm so glad to have you. Yeah.

BARKLEY: Proud of your success.

KING: Yes.

BARKLEY: Continued success. SMITH: Thank you so much. Happy for you all, as well.

KING: Cheering for you always, Stephen A. Smith.

SMITH: Keep doing a great job.

KING: Cheering for you always.

SMITH: Big time.

BARKLEY: Yeah, I picked the chair.

KING: I actually did.

SMITH: You did? You did a good job.

KING: And when I asked him about the chairs, he goes I don't give a beep about the chairs.

SMITH: He's lying. He likes to sit down comfortably.

BARKLEY: I don't care about chairs.

SMITH: You'd like to sit down comfortably. You'd like to sit down comfortably.

BARKLEY: I'm comfortable in any chair.

SMITH: You're not comfortable in any chair. We've seen you not be comfortable in any chair.

KING: We have so much to get to tonight including Maggie Haberman. Hope she likes the chair. She's going to join us right after the break.



KING: Our next guest Maggie Haberman of "The New York Times." She is a Pulitzer Prize winner and the author of the best-selling book, "Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking Of America." Listen to that title. We've got so much to talk to Maggie about but first, take a listen to what the former president said just yesterday.


DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We're going to put it all out because if we don't win on November 5th, I think our country is going to cease to exist. It could be the last election we ever have. I actually mean that we don't win, I think this could be the last election we ever have that's where our country is going.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KING: Well, we all heard that Maggie -- the rhetoric that he uses is so incendiary and he used phrases like bloodbath if I don't win and then said he wasn't talking about violence in the streets. He was talking about the economy. What do you make -- you know, we're 2024, the election is 2016, 2020. What makes this different in 2024?

MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: There's a couple of things but you're right about the rhetoric --

KING: Yes.

HABERMAN: -- that it has become much more apocalyptic, I would say, over the last couple of years since he left office and it was already --

KING: It seems to be ramping up every single time.

HABERMAN: It has increased with these rallies over time and certainly in recent weeks. At the rally, you're talking about where he said bloodbath.

KING: Yeah.

HABERMAN: He also saluted the people who rioted on January 6th --

KING: Yeah.

HABERMAN: -- at the Capitol and that was very awesome Patriot --

KING: He calls them patriots.


KING: And made clear he's going to release them.

HABERMAN: Calls people hostages.

KING: And going to pardon them. Yeah.

HABERMAN: And so, I think that what is happening is a couple of things. I think that as he is running and he is facing the threat of losing his freedom. He is facing four indictments. There's only one trial scheduled. It starts in a few weeks, but he is essentially running, you know in part for his freedom at minimum.

Some people think it's more than that. Number one, number two, This is a rematch between two people who ran against each other four years ago and now both of them have a record. And so, that does actually make it different because with neither one of them is anything just a hypothetical. And we really haven't seen that in decades in this country, a very, very long time.

But the way that the former president is characterizing this race and characterizing the country is really, really dark and it is --

KING: I think it's dangerous. HABERMAN: And well -- and it's and it's striking a note for a lot of

his supporters Now, what we have seen over the last couple of years and -- and we've talked about this a lot, is an increase in the threats of political violence. And I think that is a big open question about what we see in the next seven months or beyond.

BARKLEY: Between all these cases, how is he going to navigate running for president and I mean because even if you're not on trial you say you got one trial, but you still have all these motions where you're supposed to be there. How is he going to navigate all this?

HABERMAN: It's a great question. And right now there's again still this one trial starts on April 15th. It's expected to last probably about eight weeks, you know give or take a little bit of time then it rolls right into the convention. Then it rolls into the Democratic Convention, and then the fall election. And so, the big open question is, will there be a federal trial related to his efforts to subvert the transfer of power in 2020? Will that happen in the fall? It seems less and less likely.

KING: He seems to be very successful in delay, delay. That tactic is really working for him, is it not?

HABERMAN: Absolutely, that has been their strategy the whole time and it's been very, very effective. And we are seeing it play out on multiple levels. So, I'm not sure that he will have to navigate multiple trials. He has the one and that's and that is going to be a lot. But that is still going to be done, we expect by June.

BARKLEY: Do you ever just get sick and tired of being sick and tired and like --

HABERMAN: I get tired a lot.

BARKLEY: I don't know because election is supposed to be like well, let's talk about inflation. Let's talk about immigration Let's talk about what happened to why with the fires and everything. You know, like real issues, do you ever just get like can we just actually talk about issues instead of I don't even want to talk about Stormy. I don't want to talk about hush payments.

You know, I don't want to talk about election deniers I don't want to talk about January the 6th. You ever just get mentally -- first of all, it might be good for your job. But you ever just like can we just talk about issues?

HABERMAN: Well, I think my personal thing is that folks in my life want to talk about politics as their side game and that's all I do, all day long. So, for me, I don't that's not that's never a break when people think that that's my side conversation.

Look, this is an election that we have never seen anything like this before. We have a former president on trial for the first time -- criminally indicted for the first time. And so, it's a remarkable moment in history and we are all covering something that is historic. But it is -- it is a very, very bracing moment for the country. There is no question.

KING: But even his court cases, Maggie, he seems to turn those into election opportunity.

HABERMAN: He sees them as campaign events, he treats them as campaign events. And it's going to be harder to do, I think, in this one just step where --

KING: What we always hear about Donald Trump is that he really cares about his money and his finances and they seem to be in jeopardy.


Do you have any idea how much he's really worth? You know at first it was, you know a billionaire and now the numbers always change. We never ever did see his tax returns ever.

HABERMAN: No, we did not and he broke --

KING: First time that has happened.

HABERMAN: In decades, yes. And he broke precedent with that. Look, I -- we have no idea how much actual cash he has on hand. We know what some of his assets are and so on paper with those assets. He is a billionaire, but again, he claimed to have a certain amount of cash. There was no way to verify that.

He appears to be likely to get an infusion from this social media deal for Truth Social that he has but the stock has been bouncing around a lot. That's right. And so, I have no idea what he's actually worse than -- I don't know that we will ever --

KING: Do you think it matters?

HABERMAN: Well, I think it matters to him. Yeah, and does it matter in terms of the minds of voters? Look, for people who don't like him, it matters. And for people who do like him, they already believe what he's been saying for decades.

So, I don't know how much the actual fact would make a difference at this point. I do know it matters to him because he spent years trying to get on, you know, wealthiest person's list and talking about his net worth and inflating it in conversation. So, it's obvious. It's a big statistic to him.

BARKLEY: You know, if the Democrats lose, they'll probably lose graciously. If President Trump loses, are you worried about, I mean, we got to be worried about anger, violence or not accepting the results and that's something you'd really think about?

HABERMAN: I think that the post-election period, honestly, no matter who wins, but obviously very different if it's Donald Trump. But I do think that the thought of Donald Trump coming back is going to be very upsetting to a number of Democrats. I think you will see legal challenges in certain states depending on what things look like. I do not think that you will see President Biden say go march to the Capitol which is obviously what we saw in January 6th.

KING: And I'll see you -- I'll meet you there. Yeah.

HABERMAN: But I think it's impossible not to look at the current landscape and wonder what this foretells about the future in terms of threats of political violence absolutely.

KING: So, I happen to believe that, we, as Americans have more in common than not. And I think most people really do want to do the good thing -- do the right thing. And I think most of us really are in the middle as a country.

And we all want the same things for each other -- health happiness, good -- good jobs. You want, you know, your kids to do better than you did or you want people to be mentally healthy and all of that seems to be In jeopardy to me when we look at what's happening in this country.

HABERMAN: I think you just raised something that I think is really important and really striking about these Trump rallies that is different than what we saw eight years ago.

KING: I don't like the us versus them.

HABERMAN: That is -- that is --

BARKLEY: That's how you win elections, though.

HABERMAN: But it -- in a very --

KING: We can have an us versus them and we can disagree, but we don't have to hate each other with the way that I see it happening in this country.

BARKLEY: A hundred percent. And that's what bothers me.

HABERMAN: Yeah, there's two things I'd say on that I had a line in the book that I wrote about him when he was stoking all of this anger against the teenagers arrested in the Central Park jogger case, who were exonerated and their confessions coerced. One of whom is now a City Council member that it Trump saw hate as a civic good. That was basically his ethos.

And I think you have seen that carry through now for years. But you have at these rallies where he is cursing more often. He is saying as I said --

KING: And applauded for it.

HABERMAN: And applauded for it. A lot of kids -- there's a lot of kids at these rallies. The signs have gotten coarser. They're really -- they're really, really vulgar about President Biden and that is really a change.

KING: Maggie Haberman, always good to have you here.

HABERMAN: Thanks for having me. BARKLEY: Thank you.

KING: Thank you so much.

HABERMAN: Thank you both.

KING: Well, we've talked about some of the crisis our potential presidents are facing but are we, we human beings, are we facing a friendship crisis of our own?

BARKLEY: I can't wait to talk to this guy.

KING: You've got any friend? You've got any friend? That story is coming up next. Yeah.




KING: What makes a good friend to you?

UNKNOWN: They're tall, bald. They used to play basketball.


UNKNOWN: Loyalty

BARKLEY: Loyalty.

UNKNOWN: Honesty. They really see you.

UNKNOWN: Somebody you talk to on a Tuesday.

UNKNOWN: Being able to say anything, do anything and them loving you back unconditionally.

UNKNOWN: Someone who can dunk your lay-up.

BARKLEY: Can you have too many good friends?

UNKNOWN: Quality over quantity is always good.

KING: That's what we just said.



KING: As you heard, friends can make all the difference in your life but what happens when you don't see them? What happens right now Americans? Listen to this. We're socializing in person less than any time in history. We were fascinated by this so we got Derek Thompson who's been covering this phenomenon including -- what s that sigh all about? BARKLEY: 'Cause I've been waiting for Derek.

KING: Okay, let me finish. Let me finish the intro. Oh, Derek this phenomenon including this recent piece for "The Atlantic", "Why Americans Suddenly Stopped Hanging Out?" Also joining us is our friend Van Lathan who clearly has gotten the Cowboy Carter album, is host of The Ringer podcast, "Higher Learning."

Because listen, Derek has been here a couple times. We've never seen you with the cowboy. Look. I'm just thinking were you influenced? I mean, Van, Van. Sorry.


KING: 'Cause Derek's over there.

LATHAN: It started shortly before Beyonce. I like to think that I inspired her.

KING: Oh, okay. All right. All right, Derek. You're up. What are you thinking, Charles?

BARKLEY: So, we were talking about you in a production meeting. You said people have less and less friends now? Like, who's a loser -- don't have friends?

DEREK THOMPSON, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": That's your question. And it's very hard to figure out, you know, how Americans hang out across the country.


There's a hundred -- 320 million of us. But the Bureau of Labor Statistics has something called the American time you survey where they ask people how they spend their day. How much time do you spend cooking? How much time do you spend working? How much time do you spend socializing with people in person.

And they found that in-person socializing has for all Americans declined by 25 percent. For men, declined by 30 percent. For non- married men declined by 45 percent. And for young people and black men declined by 50 percent.

KING: Woah.

THOMPSON: So, we are now in a period where --

KING: What are they doing, Derek? What are they doing if they're not social, what are they doing?

THOMPSON: They seem to be watching a lot of T.V. The truth is like one of the things --

KING: Alone?

THOMPSON: -- going the fastest is watching television alone. Yeah. LATHAN: And this is my problem with it. Your loneliness is not yours -- your fault, but it is your responsibility. Get your ass up and go outside. Like, hang out. Everything that you want to do is outside man. Basketball is outside. We're going walking around the lake is outside. Beautiful bodies are outside. We got to get off the couch and go find ourselves with some sun.

BARKLEY: You should go out with your friends at least, not the same friend, but you should have a group of friends you go out with at least one day a week.

KING: One day a week?

BARKLEY: Preferably on a weekend.

KING: Okay. One day a week. Okay. I thought you were saying once -- I thought you were saying every day, once a day.

BARKLEY: No, no. You got a job.

KING: Okay, one day a week. I get that. I get that.

BARKLEY: At least one day on the weekend, you should go out with your friends. Have a drink or a nice meal.

KING: Yeah, I agree with that one day a week. But Van, you were saying before we came on the air that you have the things --

LATHAN: Vision Pro.

KING: Vision Pro. And that your significant other was saying listen, I'm -- dude, we have to do something. So, while you're saying go out, but you said, you're caught up looking at the Vision Pro.

LATHAN: So, the Vision Pro is something different.

KING: You're one of the people that we're talking about.

LATHAN: Yeah, but don't -- I don't want you to take away from my connection to the Vision Pro. Vision Pro is something different. It's a whole another world. I can be on the moon. I can do all kinds of stuff. I'm like Iron Man inside the Vision Pro.

KING: But you're doing it alone.

LATHAN: It is alone. It's very lonely. However, it's rewarding. But this is why I would say I actually had to stop though. I had to scale back. My neck started hurting and I started to get headaches and it's a very solitary thing to do. I do think that part of this is that with the way that we're interacting, people don't know how to initiate friendships and conversations with people anymore.


LATHAN: And everybody is a little girded up and guarded not one to hurt people's feelings and not one to come off in a certain way so, I think that's part of it, too.

KING: Do you guys think it's harder to make friends when you get older?

BARKLEY: I want -- Lathan to answer my question first.

KING: Go ahead, Charles.

BARKLEY: What -- when you're older, you should have this -- already your friend. You don't try and get friends when you get old. My question -- you don't wait till you get old to meet friends, Gayle. You meet friends when you are young. They go through life with you. But my question is --

KING: No, they don't. But go ahead. Go ahead.

BARKLEY: I'm not sure you think there's a residual effect of COVID.

THOMPSON: Oh, I think COVID was a huge accelerator, absolutely. I mean you already see socializing going down, down in the 1990s, 2000s. But really, I think COVID was an enormous accelerator. You know, one thing that I think about in terms of the difference between men and women, because the survey has interesting stuff. It shows that basically women at every single age, hang out more --

KING: Yes.

THOMPSON: --than men at that age.

LATHAN: 'Cause they got to have somebody else to gossip with. They got to have somebody else to complain to.

KING: It's not complaining. We have intelligent conversation, but women do tend to talk more. They do tend to open up more with their friends.

THOMPSON: I think women might be better at making friends, too. So, just tell me how you think about this. This is an idea that I got from a writer named Richard Reeves. Tell me how you think about this. I think women are better at face-to-face socializing like let's get a drink.

Let's get a coffee. Let's get dinner. Men get drinks, make a coffee, spend, gets -- women are better at face-to-face. Men do a lot of shoulder-to-shoulder socializing. Let's watch a game together. Shoulder-to-shoulder at a bar.

KING: Yeah.

THOMPSON: Let's play golf together shoulder-to-shoulder. So for guys, there's an activity around which they socialize. For women, it's more face-to-face. And I think that that might make it harder for men to make friends as they get older 'cause it's harder to think of new activities to do. Whereas for women, they're just like activity --

BARKLEY: Because when you're too old, there's not a lot you can do. THOMPSON: Maybe that's it except you drink coffee and wine.

BARKLEY: But well when you get older you can play golf and fish. That's it. You can't play sports when you get old.

THOMPSON: Right. Well, I'm fishing more shoulder-to-shoulder, but this is it. This is --

KING: And what conversations are they having, Derek? They're not sometimes --

BARKLEY: They're not serious.

KING: Yeah, I was going to say sometimes they're not having -- if a man's going through something, it's -- depending on the friendship with it with another guy, he's not even going to talk about it.

THOMPSON: Yeah, hard to generalize about it. Hard to generalize. There's a lot of men who, you know, love getting into it with their guy friends and talking about deep emotions There's lots of other guys that are more stoic. But I absolutely agree that for men, overall, they're probably a little more guarded about their emotions.

They're probably a little bit less likely to sort of, you know, give up the weakness that they feel about themselves. And that, I think, also makes it harder to develop the kind of deep Intimate friendships later into adulthood that you don't come into adulthood already having made in high school.

KING: But the Surgeon General says that there is a loneliness epidemic in this country Vivek Ramaswamy says that there's a loneliness epidemic that, we, as a country, Americans are lonelier and feeling more alone than we ever have before.


LATHAN: It's -- I understand that and it's very important to be serious about that. But the only elixir to it is to go seek the company of other people and put yourself out there.

KING: That's right.

LATHAN: I know that we're wrapped up in technology, and it's harder to do, but I promise you doom is not outside your door. Life and friends and laughter and parties and all of that stuff. Strippers -- all of that stuff is outside your door. You got to go to them, you know.

KING: Charles, strippers?

BARKLEY: Hey, that's when I was young, Gayle. Hey, drinks on me, guys. I'm going to make some friends tonight.

KING: "King Charles" will be right back. Strippers?


KING: Yeah, I know, I know. Yes, we were talking about friends.

BARKLEY: Good night, friends. Good night, friends.

KING: I'm asking this friend to go see "Lion King" since we started this show.

BARKLEY: I told you we'd get around to it.


KING: If I didn't know better, I would think you were blowing me off.

BARKLEY: I'm not blowing you off.

KING: Charles has never been to a Broadway play that's why I'm just thinking can we just go see "Lion King"?

BARKLEY: We're going to go see "Lion King", and I got to go see "Hamilton."

KING: Okay, I'll do that, too. I would do that, too. You heard it. You heard it. And you've never lied to me


KING: And you're not going to start now.

BARKLEY: Hey, thank you guys for joining us. Hey, you can see Gayle at 7 A.M. in the morning.

KING: I'll be there but we'll see you both -- both of us will see you next Wednesday. Have a great week. We'll see you next week.