As the Chicago Bulls dominated the ’90s, one fan who watched it all eventually became the President of the United States. Hidden behind Barack Obama’s love of basketball is an entertaining relationship with Michael Jordan, the greatest NBA player ever.
In the upcoming ESPN documentary The Last Dance, Obama will speak candidly on being a Bulls fan in the ’90s as well as his relationship with Jordan up until this day. Here’s what you need to know.
President Obama and basketball
One change Obama made at the White House involved his addition of a basketball court where he often played against NBA players past and present. While he’s not the first president to embrace the sports world, he was the first basketball fanatic in the White House — and it showed.
People often saw Obama at NBA and college games throughout his presidency and the years since. Every year at March Madness, Obama filled out a bracket for the cameras. His predictions showed an understanding of the game that many don’t expect from the leader of the U.S. Obama’s true love, however, was the NBA.
No pro basketball team has visited the White House during the Trump administration. But when Obama was there, eight teams won the title and eight teams visited the White House. As the first African American president, President Obama had a special place in the NBA players’ hearts.
With all this basketball, however, Obama’s Chicago Bulls’ fandom has always been the most public part of his basketball life. His relationship with Jordan reflects this.
Obama and Michael Jordan
In 2015, Obama and Jordan playfully exchanged jabs about golf. MJ was asked if he’d ever played golf with then-President Obama, and Jordan replied, “Man, it would be all day playing with him.” He called Obama a “s****y golfer” in the process.
Obama replied with a tongue-in-cheek response: “I’m gonna forgive [Jordan] … because I’ve got six championship memories that will never go away,” he told ESPN. He went on to take a shot at the team Jordan owns, too.
“There is no doubt that Michael is a better golfer than I am,” Obama said. “But of course if I was playing twice a day for the last 15 years then that might not be the case. He might want to spend more time thinking about the Bobcats, or maybe the Hornets because that’s a whole another issue.”
Both people are known for their trash-talking, but there also seems to be nothing but respect and admiration between them. In 2011, Jordan comedically gave the president a signed poster for his 50th birthday. He misspelled Obama’s name as “Barrack” in the process.
Obama also awarded Jordan with a Presidential Medal of Freedom for all he’s done for sports and the culture. The pair’s friendship remains strong. So Obama was an ideal candidate to discuss Jordan in the new documentary.
‘The Last Dance’ Michael Jordan documentary
A recent trailer for The Last Dance documentary, which will air in June, shows everyone from Carmen Electra to Michael Jordan speaking about the Chicago Bulls. Mixed in the middle, however, is Obama. He should provide an interesting insight into the NBA and the mind of a Bulls fan.
It seems crazy, but Obama was not yet an international figure during the Bulls’ run; he saw it all as a fan. Having experienced everything he has since then, Obama is a bridge between the average fan and celebrity fan. He can see things from both sides.
Whether he continues talking trash or showers Jordan with praise, Obama will surely be a heavily discussed addition to the 10-part documentary when it airs this summer.
Follow more updates from Sportscasting on our Facebook page.