President Barack Obama and Phil Jackson trade jokes about Kwame Brown (Andrew D. Bernstein/ Getty).
Unless you spend all your time in a man cave with a TV tuned only to sports and action movies, you probably know that today is Election Day. For basketball fans, it's also a pivotal moment in which we will find out whether or not the biggest basketball fan in the history of United States presidents will continue to hold his office. While that's certainly not close to the biggest issue to influence one's vote, it is pretty cool to have a genuine basketball fan in the White House. It certainly makes our job easier at BDL, though we have somehow not received one single dollar in stimulus money.
Regardless of how you have or intend to vote today, the idea of an NBA Hall of Famer playing pickup ball with a sitting president on Election Day is pretty darn awesome. That's exactly what President Obama did on Tuesday, suiting up with former Chicago Bulls great Scottie Pippen for his customary Election Day pickup game. From the Chicago Tribune (via SLAM):
At around 1 p.m., Obama's motorcade arrived at the Hope Athletic Center on Chicago's West Side, where the president played basketball with staff and friends. Former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias tweeted that he was playing on a team with Obama and former Bulls Pippen and Randy Brown.
A White House spokeswoman confirmed that Obama also played with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Reggie Love, Mike Ramos and Marty Nesbitt.
In 2008, Obama played basketball with aides before winning the kickoff Iowa caucuses. The president and his aides decided to make the games an Election Day tradition after they lost the next contest — the New Hampshire primary — on a day when they didn't hit the court.
Adam Fluck, senior manager of interactive marketing for the Bulls, provided a few quotes from Pippen on Twitter:
Pippen to Obama before playing hoops: "I wish you well tonight. But if you want to be a winner this afternoon, you better play with me."
Pippen on Obama: "But when I saw the President drive, I thought they were bringing the whole motorcade through the lane..." (2/2)
On the day of the presidential election in 2008, Obama played with a number of aides, though that doesn't mean the competition was weak. Arne Duncan was a co-captain of the basketball team while at Harvard and played professionally in Australia. And Reggie Love, a personal aide to the president, played on the 2001 Duke squad that won the national championship.
According to one report, Obama's team won Tuesday's game by 20 points, which isn't too surprising considering he played with both ringers. However, it's also possible that his talents overlapped with Pippen's a little too much. In the past, Obama has compared his game to that of Tayshaun Prince, who plays much like Pippen as an all-around small forward. Might Team Obama have performed better with a different kind of Hall of Fame talent?
Remember, Mr. President: just as a cabinet must consist of people who can work well together, a basketball team must include athletes who complement each other well.
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