Scottie Pippen Became a Presidental Good Luck Charm for Barack Obama

Barack Obama spent many years watching the Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, dominate the NBA.

For much of the Bulls’ dynasty run in the 1990s, Obama was an attorney and rising star in politics. Their paths eventually crossed, and Obama — who became the United States’ 44th President in 2008 — even once used Pippen as a good luck charm while in office.

Scottie Pippen and Barack Obama played basketball in 2012

When Election Day arrived in November 2012, everything was out of President Barack Obama’s hands. 

Obama had spent months campaigning for four more years in office. The American public would decide if he would earn those four years or if Republican candidate Mitt Romney would become the country’s 45th President. 

Rather than sit in his native Illinois and stress about the night ahead, Obama decided to have some fun. According to the NBA’s official website, Obama had several guests — including Scottie Pippen — join him for a pickup basketball game. 

The team featuring Obama and Pippen won easily. Pippen, who met Obama for the first time that day, provided an in-depth scouting report. 

“[Obama is] not an overly aggressive player, but he takes what the defense gives him. He’s got a smooth game. He probably used to be a little more aggressive, but obviously he doesn’t want to get hurt.”

Pippen turned out to be the good luck charm that day. Obama won re-election with 51.1% of the vote to Romney’s 47.2%.

Barack Obama is a longtime Chicago sports fan

Barack Obama playing basketball with Scottie Pippen had to be a dream come true for the 44th U.S. President.

Born in Hawaii, Obama moved to Chicago after graduating from Howard University. His arrival in the Windy City coincided with Michael Jordan helping the Bulls become one of the Eastern Conference’s most successful teams.

Obama later developed a professional relationship with Jordan. In November 2016, Jordan joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Vin Scully as sports figures who received the Medal of Freedom. 

Obama even contributed to The Last Dance, ESPN’s docu-series about Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Another former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, also appeared in the documentary.

Obama also roots for the Chicago White Sox and Bears, although he has shown a soft spot for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Scottie Pippen was no stranger to the White House

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Scottie Pippen spent Election Day 2012 playing basketball at the Hope Athletic Center on Chicago’s West Side.

Pippen was far from a stranger to politics, though. Bill Clinton, then the U.S. President, hosted Pippen and the Chicago Bulls at the White House in April 1997.

Clinton and Pippen are both from Arkansas, and the President urged Pippen to take the podium. According to the Chicago Tribune, Pippen had told teammates that he and Clinton were “homeboys” because of their shared Arkansas background.

“Come here, Scottie, say something,” Clinton said. “Everybody from Arkansas talks.”

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