CNN's Anderson Cooper landed one of the most highly anticipated interviews of the year over the weekend -- a sit-down with disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling -- and on Monday, he spoke to ET's Rob Marciano about the the exclusive chat.
This is the first time the 80-year-old Sterling has spoken since recordings made by his reported girlfriend -- V. Stiviano, 31 -- were leaked, leading to Sterling being banned from the NBA for life and fined $2.5 million. In the recording, Sterling tells Stiviano not to post photos of herself with black people or to bring black friends to the Clippers game.
"Clearly he's watched me, he's watched our coverage of this and I think he felt comfortable talking with me," Cooper said about why he thinks Sterling agreed to sit down for the interview. "I think he felt like I would give him a fair shot and let him say his peace."
The Anderson Cooper 360 host added: "I think he's going to say a lot of things that are going to anger people even more, and I think he's going to convice some people that he deserves a second chance. A lot of people are going to see this interview in different ways. And I think that's the way it should be, I try to leave it up to the viewers to decide what they think about something."
"I made a terrible, terrible mistake ... And I'm here with you to apologize, and ask for forgiveness for all the people that I've hurt. And I've hurt so many people -- so many innocent people. And I've hurt myself," Sterling tells Cooper in the intense preview.
Calling the situation a "terrible nightmare," he emphatically denies being racist.
"I'm not a racist," he continually stresses. "I've never been a racist. It's not me."
He also suggests that Stiviano set him up.
"I don't know why the girl had me say those things. Yes, I was baited," he says. "I mean, that's not the way I talk."
Check out the videos to hear more about his thoughts on Stiviano, who he says has been taping him for two years.
The full interview will air tonight on Anderson Cooper 360 at 8 p.m. ET.