TODAY | April 28, 2014
>> monday morning. it's april 28th , 2014 . i'm willie geist along with al roker and tamron hall . natalie has the morning off. she'll be back with us tomorrow. want to start right away with that severe weather , al. this is another day.
>> we knew on friday that this was going to happen saturday into sunday, specifically sunday. and unfortunately, the severe storms and tornados, widespread damage, at least 17 states. some estimates up to 20 states. we've had unfortunately 18 people die. we've gone 126 days without a tornado death. it was a very slow start to the severe weather season. but boy, it's really ramped up. out of the 18 people killed, 16 of them were in arkansas . one person in oklahoma. one person in iowa. and you see this storm. this was not only estimated anywhere between a half mile to a mile wide at points, it was on the ground for about two hours.
>> that's remarkable, isn't it? they usually just tear through.
>> generally, but that was the biggest thing we were worried about, these long track tornados. you just saw a drone video of i-40. people were trapped in their cars. a lot of people injured. i-40 was closed for at least two to three hours. in mayflower, arkansas , about 25 miles from little rock , folks had to be evacuated. it really was a dangerous situation. and we're going to see that again today, unfortunately. and then on into tomorrow, and to a lesser extent wednesday, this is a very slow-moving system. so it's a multi-day event. and today, though, the likelihood, we could see more of these long-track tornados.
>> and the rarity is that this is a multi-day event, three days we're looking at here.
>> seeing something like this, with this sort of longevity is really unusual.
>> when you put up the maps in your report earlier this morning, i couldn't believe just the size of the red swath that cut through the country.
>> yeah. and it's going to move slow tloi t -- slowly to the east. but we do have another strong risk. these are the tornado reports, starting in the afternoon sunday. and the most deadly tornados, the ones that hit into arkansas happened right around 7:00, the one in vilonia just before 8:00. the devastation was really widespread.
>> and it reminds us, the folks in moore, oklahoma, for example. "nightly news" this weekend gave us an update on the process of building proper shelters in places like moore. we saw the great devastation, children, loss of life there. earlier matt lauer spoke with a man in arkansas whose whole family hunkered down in their home and i believe his daughter's closet. they all survived. their home completely gone.
>> thankfully they're okay.
>> they're just lucky. we'll keep on this story throughout the morning. al will have much more on this.
>>> some other stories making news, this now ceases to be a sports story. this is a big news story. big fallout from the racist remarks allegedly made by los angeles clippers owner donald sterling after sterling's then girlfriend posted a photo of herself with magic johnson at a los angeles clippers game.
>> yeah, it bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you're associating with black people . do you have to?
>> "tmz" sports posted what it claims is an audio recording of a conversation between sterling and his then girlfriend at the time. deadspin has an even longer version of it. nbc news has not yet verified this recording. before yesterday's game, though, the players on the los angeles clippers staged a silent protest against their own boss. they dumped their warm-ups on center court , revealing inside-out shirts that concealed the clippers' logo. they also wore black socks , wristbands, arm bands, and by the way, this photograph has gone viral. this is one great way to protest things. with a little humor. one fan holding up a sign that says "i'm black." and his buddy next to him saying "i bruought a black guy to the game." direct reference to donald sterling 's quote. first of all, magic johnson is the face of basketball and has been for 30 years. he's an ambassador, he's a legend. everybody loves him. so part of it is that it started with magic johnson and now it's exploded into so much more. magic saying sterling should not own a team anymore. in a statement, the clippers president says it's not clear if the audio is legitimate or altered. adding they are the antithesis of who he is.
>> but they didn't say it's not him in the recording. michael jordan , the king of the game, who rarely steps in -- listen, i lived in chicago for ten years. he avoids controversy. he doesn't get into politics or anything like that usually. he's an owner now, charlotte bobcats , and a former player. and he also released a statement saying, you know, obviously the words are disgusting and that there's no place in the nba for sterling. so you've got michael jordan playing this double role, former player and an owner. i'm curious the conversations happening behind the scenes with all of the other owners at this point.
>> the one thing -- and you're going to cover this on "news nation" coming up. that i find fascinating is this guy donald sterling was scheduled to get a lifetime achievement award from the naacp. he's already gotten one. and there's already a record. he had a settlement for --
>> millions. a couple million dollars.
>> millions of dollars for his apartment complexes discriminating against blacks, hispanics.
>> and people with children.
>> and people with children. so they've already given him one award. they were scheduled to give him another. they said they're not going to give it to him. how could you have given him one?
>> that's the thing. what's the criteria? is there any research that goes into these awards? or do you say, rich guy, big name, going to give us a donation. and i'm not saying this exclusively to the naacp. any organization. what's the criteria? bryant gumbel was on a couple of programs over the weekend and he indicated that this was not a big secret. that donald sterling 's views, maybe not to this degree that he didn't want black people allegedly at the game, but his background was evident and clear.
>> that's the thing we heard time and again. it wasn't just bryant gumbel . it was doc rivers , who's the head coach, an african-american for the clippers, who said, you know, not in so many words, i guess you want me to be surprised. i'm not surprised. kareem abdul-jabbar said "i'm not surprised." so clearly inside the world of sports, inside los angeles , there's a columnist saying of course, wake up, america, this is who this guy is. we haven't authenticated the tapes yet. but if it is, in fact, him, the question now with the nba is what do you do? what standard do you set if he's distasteful, but can you strip a team away from a guy and how do you do it?
>> well, mark shot with the cincinnati reds -- i remember her name and story plastered everywhere. she was shamed and eventually got that team taken away from her.
>> that's how you do it. the other owners will get on him and say you've got to get out of our league. i said magic johnson is the face of the league. lebron james is the face of the league and he came out immediately in a postgame interview and said he should not be in our league, donald sterling .
>> the team plays tomorrow. i'm curious to see if the fans will turn their jerseys, their shirts inside-out as well to show solidarity for the players because they're in the playoffs and they worked hard to get there, but to distance themselves from the owner. i don't know what the nba is going to do, but i do think about the kids both black and white who wear these jerseys. can you imagine the little black kid and the white kid who go to the game together, somebody's mom or dad takes them and this is what they're hearing, this guy's behavior. you have to think about the younger generation. you believe that these kinds of awful words don't exist, they do, but we are stronger than those words.
>> hopefully we can use this -- i hate to use the phrase teachable moment, but it is something to talk about. we talked about it yesterday in our house. this is something we've got to deal with.
>>> on a lighter note here, speaking of children and our place in the world, birth order, does it matter? quickly.
>> i do, too. hillary clinton , oprah winfrey , beyonce, j.k. rowling , they have all first-born in their families. first-born girls are more likely to succeed than first-born boys. by the way, i'm a first-born girl. for the record. the study, they found first-born women are 13% more ambitious than first-born boys and one possible reason, parents simply devote more time and energy to their daughters. and adam and i were talking, i said you think so? i remember my whole childhood, my mother stressing to me, you know, be independent. be your own woman. she always had a phrase, you can do bad by yourself. meaning why go and marry someone who's going to pull you down when you can pull yourself up. you don't need someone to determine your future. i think a lot of moms do that with their daughters.
>> and dads.
>> absolutely, and dads.
>> i believe that's true. i would just say one thing. how do you define success? i mean, the study talks about hillary clinton and beyonce. but i think if you're a schoolteacher, a cop, or a small businessman, i think you've succeeded.
>> i measure success by did you reach your goal. money comes and goes. but if you set a goal, i'm going to graduate at a two-year college, that is a success. i'm going to go into a trade. i won't go to college. i reached my goal. that's success.
>> that's my point. i don't know how the study reached -- what's their understanding for success. but i do think that's true definitely.
>> we know our standard.
>>> we've got to show you this thing. you go to a restaurant sometimes, you struggle with the small print on the menu.
>> i've got glasses.
>> there's this new video up on youtube that offers people with bad vision a simple trick. it allows them to see clearly without glasses. check this out.
>> if you're in a pinch, bleary bleary-eyed or missing your glasses, there's a simple trick that will allow you to see clearly. make a tiny hole using your fingers, look through it and the world will become clear again. this works no matter how blurry your vision is.
>> why does this feel like we're being set up for a prank? i'm going to hold up this ipad. i want you to go top line .
>> which i can't see right now. i cannot see the top line .
>> well, look how close you're getting.
>> did they say don't get close?
>> oh, like this. i can't see it.
>> okay, get closer.
>> open your eyes .
>> they're open.
>> okay, throw the cake in her face.
>> don't move. i see words without glasses or with your -- okay.
>> this worked out well.
>> if you got that close without the little hole, i feel like you could see it. what's the hole doing at that point?
>> i still can't see anything.
>> it's magical.
>> is this a prank?