One week after Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling's racist rant was leaked to the public, the woman at the center of the scandal has broken her silence.
In her first television interview, V. Stiviano told Barbara Walters she is Sterling's "best friend" and insisted that the billionaire businessman is "not a racist."
''There's been a number of occasions where Mr. Sterling and I had conversations just like this one. This was one of very many,'' Stiviano said in an interview on ABC's 20/20 that aired Friday night.
''Part of what the world heard was only 15 minutes. There's a number of other hours that the world doesn't."
During the recording, Sterling told Stiviano that she should not post photos of herself online with black people, including basketball legend Magic Johnson, or bring black people to Clippers' games.
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While the 31-year-old told Walters she thinks Sterling should ''absolutely'' apologize, she said she still loves him like a father figure and doesn't believe he's a racist.
''I think Mr. Sterling is from a different generation than I am,'' she said. ''I think he was brought up to believe these things—segregation, whites and blacks. But through his actions he's shown that he's not a racist. He's shown to be a very generous and kind man.''
Stiviano also said Sterling has been deeply affected by the firestorm surrounding the recording.
"I think he's highly more traumatized and hurt by the things that he said himself," she added. "I think he can't even believe or understand sometimes the thing he says, and I think he's hurt by it. He's hurting right now."
While the media has captured footage of Stiviano near her home in Los Angeles wearing a series of unusual visors, the ABC interview marked the first time we've seen her face since the recording was obtained and published by TMZ last Friday.
The brunette, who said she is half black and half Mexican, told Walters the pair met while she was working for Sterling's non-profit organization, the Donald T Sterling Foundation.
Stiviano insisted she was Sterling's personal assistant and not his mistress.
"I'm Mr. Sterling's everything. I'm his confidante, his best friend, his silly rabbit," she said.
An attorney for Stiviano has said the recording was leaked by a third party.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed a lifetime ban on Tuesday against Sterling, 80, just days after the recording went viral.
Silver said Sterling admitted it was him on the tape.
According to an NBA press release, the ruling is "based on the Commissioner's conclusion that Mr. Sterling violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league.
After the ban was imposed, Sterling told DuJour magazine, "I wish I had just paid her off."
Sterling has owned the Clippers since 1981. Sources also told ESPN on Thursday that the 80-year-old is battling cancer.