Forgive me for not respecting Barack Obama as a sports fan. He is the Commander in Chief of the United States of America, so in a certain sense I respect him for that. But as we have seen recently on more than one occasion, sports and politics don’t always mesh. Oftentimes in the past, the President has been no exception. Obama claims to be a White Sox fan, yet he couldn’t name a single player on their roster a couple of seasons ago. When hosting the NCAA champion UConn Huskies at the White House, he referred to legendary college coach Adolph Rupp as “Ruff.” Regardless, he is still the President. Maybe that’s why Spike Lee and Michael Jordan decided to present him with a new pair of Air Jordan Spizikes on Thursday.
Being from Chicago, Obama is supposedly a huge Bulls fan. I wouldn’t be surprised if his knowledge of the Bulls consisted of only the names Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, but who am I to judge? He got a pair of special edition kicks in a personalized wooden box and I didn’t. Maybe this was just Spike’s way of thanking him for ruining Rajon Rondo’s jump shot.
The Carrier Classic between North Carolina and Michigan State Friday night was one of the coolest sports events I’ve ever seen. The game took place on the USS Carl Vinson, a Naval Aircraft Carrier, in San Diego. It was easily the most awesome sports venue I’ve witnessed. But as sweet as playing on a ship was, many people believe Barack Obama’s bad ass leather bomber jacket was even cooler.
Never could we have imagined that Kobe Bryant would mean more to a team than he does to the Los Angeles Lakers, but now one has to wonder. If Claudio Sabatini is any indication, Kobe is more important to Italian club team Virtus Bologna than he is to Jack Nicholson.
There have already been insane rumors floating around that Sabatini is willing to offer Bryant $2 million to play a single game in Italy. Imagine if the Lakers paid him $2 million per game? For those of you who hate math, that would be a yearly salary of around $160 million, which would put Tiger Woods and Money Mayweather to shame. Considering Kobe might be giving players loans during the lockout, money is obviously not an issue for him. If you thought a $2 million, one-game offer spelled desperation, check out this letter Sabatini wrote to Barack Obama on his team’s website.
Dear Mr. President,
We have a dream: to see Kobe Bryant playing for our Team Virtus Pallacanestro Bologna, the Italian town well known in the world as basket City.
According to your wishes we hope that the NBA lockout will shortly stop but in the meanwhile let us have the chance to see at least for one game the great Kobe Bryant playing with our black and white jersey and be part of our history.
Obama may be able to get inside an NBA player’s head with a wise crack here and there, but I doubt there is much he could do to convince Kobe to play a game in Italy. Not to mention, basketball in America is pretty good for America. If Obama had any influence at all, it would be in his best interest to use it toward ending the lockout. But…he doesn’t.
Brace yourselves everyone: Shaquille O’Neal has a book coming out. There is no question Shaq Uncut will be filled with entertaining commentary and inside information, but his love for attention should remind us to take anything he says with a grain of salt. This is a guy that will do just about anything to cause a stir and get a few laughs, so if you choose to use his new book as your Bible do so wisely.
Now that the disclaimers are out of the way, Slam Online shared a very intriguing snippet from Shaq’s book with us on Wednesday. We all know Rajon Rondo’s kryptonite is shooting the basketball. The Celtics point guard has had his fair share of offensive explosions by getting to the hoop, but he has one of the worst jump shots in the league for a guard. According to Shaq, President Barack Obama hurt Rondo’s confidence even further back in March and his game got worse.
In early March some of the guys went to the museum of Fine Arts for a fund-raiser and got to hang with President Barack Obama. Everyone was a little bit in awe. The President turns to Ray, points at Rondo, and says, “Hey, Ray, why don’t you teach this kid how to shoot?” Everyone starts laughing.
For several years President Barack Obama has been passing himself off as a sports fan. Folks in the sports world like it because they feel like Obama is a guy and “one of us,” so to speak. He picks NCAA tournament brackets every year, he plays pickup hoops, and he mixes it up with teams when they come to the White House for a visit. Obama’s also taken shots at Cubs fans calling them fair weather, and he’s spoken about his desire to institute a playoff system in college football (crickets). He seems to appeal to the sports fan pretty well, but we’ve also pointed out that he seems to be putting on a front.
The first example came when Obama, who champions himself as a White Sox fan, failed to name a single player from his supposed favorite team. That seems like a pretty simple exercise for someone unless you’re faking it. Now we have more of the same. The folks at Kentucky Sports Radio pointed out that at his meeting with UConn Monday, President Obama got legendary Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp’s name wrong, calling him “Ruff.” Skip ahead to the 2:10 mark in the video to hear it:
One would figure a guy who portrays himself as such a hardcore sports fan and hoops lover would know Adolph Rupp’s name. Call us nitpicking if you choose, but we wouldn’t have “gone there” if Obama hadn’t pushed himself as a big-time sports guy. LBS is not fond of phonies — we prefer people who stick to what they are.
Baltimore Orioles slugger Luke Scott has a reputation for his unconventional political views which aren’t exactly endearing him with most fans. In fact, the Orioles themselves have made it clear that Scott’s views don’t reflect those of the club. After all, how many clubs would be proud to say their left fielder is a birther?
“(President Obama’s) birth certificate has yet to be validated” Scott told The Kansas City Star. “If they can counterfeit $100 bills, I think it’s a million times easier to counterfeit a birth certificate, if you ask me,” Scott says. “So, all it is, let’s just see if it’s real. Anybody can produce a document, so let’s check it out.”
Talking to Luke Scott shouldn’t even be allowed for reporters at this point because it’s just too easy. It’s bad enough that we have football players who don’t believe airplanes brought down the Twin Towers, now we have to worry about baseball players not believing Obama was born as a U.S. citizen? Fantastic.
When an event occurs in United States history like the one that occurred roughly 24 hours ago, everyone has something to say about it. Here on LBS alone, we have shown you the ripple effect the news of Osama bin Laden’s death has had on college campuses and at Citizens Bank Park, and even showed you a few pictures of a beat up bin Laden — even if they turned out to be top-notch Photoshop work. Oh yeah, and don’t forget about the Crimson Tide faithful dropping a Roll Tide” as if Nick Saban himself were responsible for the heroic mission.
For all you gamblers out there who are already bored with the bin Laden story, this concerns you too. SI Hot Clicks passed a story along to us from the sports gambling website Covers.com that highlights how the big news has effected the betting world. For starters, the website Intrade.com, which is designed for investors to buy and sell shares in the outcome of real-world events, had the chances of Osama bin Laden being captured and killed at 4 percent before the news of his death surfaced. As the news made its way around and Barack Obama addressed the nation, the market had spiked as high as 98% and then finally closed.
Conspiracy theorists are probably asking themselves why betting would close before there is any actual proof, but Intrade’s Exchange Operations Manager explained to Covers.com that “there wasn’t really anyone out there willing to take a position that bin Laden wasn’t dead” once the word was out.