Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obama shoots hoops Sunday at the U. of Chicago. NBA stars critique game with John King on CNN's "State of the Union"

| 1 Comment

On pool duty in Chicago, the Sun-Times Abdon Pallasch reports "President Obama skipped the gym workout and instead headed at about 11 a.m. to the University of Chicago Lab School campus for a basketball game with friends. Friends' IDs not yet available."

NBA star Magic Johnson was asked by CNN's John King on Sunday's "State of the Union" what position he would play Obama on a team.

Point Guard, Johnson said.

"He's going to be a point because that's how he thinks......

"....What I'm saying is that a point guard got to think five minutes ahead. You ask these two guys they know the time they know what they have to do at that particular time but they also thinking five min ahead because we got to know what is going to happen five min down the road. So he's got to stay at pt guard because he is running the country the same way he's got to think for the future so he is the point guard for sure."

Below, release and transcript from CNN...

The answer: NBA All-Stars deconstructing the President's skills on the court.
Today on CNN's State of the Union with John King, King sat down with a group of NBA All-Stars for his Sunday program, State of the Union with John King. He spoke with Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Grant Hill. The players analyzed video of President Obama s basketball game.
Also on the program today, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, who said: "I tell you what, John, I can only imagine that if I were to call [the president] now, he would be a little nervous that people like Bill Russell were going to critique his game. That's pretty serious."
The full transcript of John King's discussion with the NBA greats is below. Additionally, please find the cnn.com video with an excerpt of the players evaluating President Obama's basketball skills: NBA greats weigh in on Obama's game. CNN's State of the Union with John King airs Sundays 9 am - 1pm. Photos are available upon request.
Credit all usage to CNN's State of the Union with John King
FULL TRANSCRIPT
NOTE: THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. IT MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PART ONE OF TWO
JOHN KING, HOST: One of the reasons I wanted to get all of you together is because you're sports heroes to kids around the country. And one of the questions people are asking at this time now that we have the first African-American president is does that change?
I met a kid just before the inauguration, said if I had come to see him a couple months before that, he would have said, "Michael Jordan" or "Lebron James" or a basketball star would have been his role model. Now he says it's Barack Obama.
And just want to get your perspective. And I want to start with you, Bill, because when you came into the lead when you were in college, there were a time, especially -- I grew up in Boston. I know that even though you were playing on championship teams, there were some people in that city who weren't comfortable with a black guy down on20the court.
BILL RUSSELL, FORMER PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYER: Well, I was frustrated (ph). By the time I got to Boston, but that had no impact on me. Because things that my father had taught me, how to be a man. And I was a man when I got there. And I've learned that work was really important.
Now, the present president, to be president, and there are some things that are really not that important. And the fact that -- that he's an African-American is not that important. The important is he's the best man for the job today, and everybody knows that. And so that the significance is he's a young man, bright -- I'll call him a kid. He's bright, ambitious, and thoughtful. And those are the kind of -- we were in a place where we needed leadership. And this is the man that has all the qualities we need for leadership.
And one of the things about him is he's an African-American. But he also is very talented, very resourceful, and very ambitious. And knows how to do what he does.
KING: You're at the other end of the age spectrum at the table, I think. Twenty-three years old?
CHRIS PAUL: Yes. Something like that.
KING: So about 23 years old? Now, he just called the president a kid, so I think he'd call you whatever.
CHRIS PAUL: Probably a baby.
KING: You'd be the baby. What does it mean to you?
CHRIS PAUL: Oh, man. It means a lot. It means a lot. And I was telling some of the guys before that, when we were in Indiana for a preseason game, President Obama was actually having a rally, so preseason, maybe we were playing the Suns. During the season, you may not go over there. Preseason, me and a lot of the guys from the team went and heard him speak, and afterwards, you know, we had goose bumps, just because you know, when you -- when you hear him speak, he just gives you a lot=2 0of hope, you know. And things that you need at this time, especially with everything that the country's enduring.
And we wanted to know, could we meet him afterwards. And we had that opportunity. We went back, and as soon as we walked through the door, he said my name. And I -- I was like a little kid. I was like, "He knows who I am?" You know, he saw Tyson Chandler, and he acknowledged us. And it was great, just to see how down-to-earth he is. You know, to be the president and to be as personable as he is, I think, is something that the country definitely needed.
KING: And Magic, from a perspective as someone who, you traveled the country, especially when you're in your prime. You say your jersey's everywhere. To have a president as a role model, opposed to a basketball player as a role model, what difference does it make in the inner city?
MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER BASKETBALL STAR: Well, it's the best thing that could happen. We're hoping that young people will change their mindset.
We're having major problems in urban America right now. Drop-out rate is at an alarming rate. Young people are not getting a quality education.
Now, with the job losses in our community; we have high rate of HIV. So we have a lot of major problems going on in our community, but the great thing is here President Obama is. We can now say, "Oh, OK. I'm going to make sure I do everything I can to be like President Obama. That's my new role model. That's the guy who I'm -- I want to be like."
So hopefully, that will get the kids back going to school and help them understand that anything in life they want to be and want to accomplish, they have to do it through education. And that's why I love that President Obama is in office. And I think what Bill said is true. It's the best -- it was the best person, the smartest person.
But now, what I'm looking for him to do is to now effect change in small business owners. We must protect them, because they supply a lot of our jobs in urban America. We must now get the education system better, because in urban America, we have books that are half torn up. We have schools that don't even have computers in them. So on the flip side of the drop-out rate, we have kids who are not motivated to go to school, because of the problems that we're talking about right here.
And so I know he's going to change that. He's changed the thought process of, hopefully, a lot of -- not just African-Americans but all Americans, but especially African-Americans. And I'm hoping the kids now are really inspired and really set goals to want to be the next president. And if that can happen within our community, just like he brought a lot of pride there. It's amazing how one man has changed everything for us. And hopefully, that will trickle down to the young people, and it will make them better.
KING: Grant Hill are the expectations too high? Can any one person, whether he's the president or anywhere else as a role model, deliver on those expectations?
GRANT HILL: Well, certainly, as Magic said, he's -- he's done a lot in a short period of time. And the change that's already occurred in our country has really been amazing.
You know, one of the things Mr. Russell touched on -- I'll call you Bill Russell, Bill.
RUSSELL: Don't do that.
HILL: OK. Yes, sir. Yes, sir. He -- you know, his era and the civil rights, and a lot of the issues that went around during his playing time and how athletes such as20himself and Jim Brown got up and were outspoken and really kind of came together, united, to fight for change. And that kind of had been missing and certainly, as a history major, I enjoyed studying that and learning about that.
But it was really encouraging, refreshing during this political process to see athletes in all sports come out and support, you know, have fundraisers, speak at rallies, really get -- become a part of the whole political process. And it wasn't quite like during your time, but it was great to see. And you can see that change in the world of professional sports. You can see the change in attitude in the inner city. We can see it throughout the whole country.
So certainly, there's a lot of problems and to put all those problems on one person is maybe not fair. But what he's done thus far and what he's capable of: he's bright; he's -- he's got solutions to problems. You know, to me -- I'm very excited. I'm very excited, and I think it's a great time for our country.
KING: And Steve, from your perspective, you're a white player in a majority African-American league. You also have something none of us at the table have: international experience. Born in South Africa, lived in Canada for a long time. How do you see it, the election, affecting your life on a day-to-day basis, and in terms of if we were visiting you 15 years ago in Canada. Do you ever think this day would happen in the United States?
STEVE NASH: Well, first of all, I don't have a vote. So, you know, I can probably speak from the foreign perspective. I always thought the day would come because I'm an optimistic person. But (inaudible).
(GROUP SINGING "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" TO BILL RUSSELL)
RUSSELL: When I was a kid I always thought I could sing.
And now I wish you could sing.
(CROSSTALK)
KING: You blow out the candles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-oh, they're trick candles.
KING: We didn't use trick candles Bill Russell. There we go. They're trick - somebody fire the chef.
Let's move this for now so nobody doesn't get burn. Tell the chef that's a nice trick.
RUSSELL: I see guys like Chris Paul, there are opportunities when they step into the door and not only do they step into the door but make themselves as good as they can be. And you hear a lot of things, negative things, but in any field of endeavor there is only a small group that excels. That's why you - Magic, there's only one of those.
Enough of these guys and more of them are coming through the door to make us proud.
And Obama is of that generation that learned what it takes to be what he wanted to be and like the last election, to me the most astounding thing was the ability of his team. They ran an almost perfect campaign. And they never got flustered and ...
MAGIC JOHNSON: They did it like your Celtics.
KING: Finish your thought - I'm sorry ...
RUSSELL: Obviously one of the things that I personally always admired is competence.
KING: Right.
Finish your thought. You were talking about the international perspective.
NASH: I don't have a vote and I couldn't be happier. And I think it's strange for me I've lived almost half my life in the United States but in my heart I'm Canadian. So I think I have a unique perspective. My parents are from Great Britain. So I have a very international influence to my life and for me to understand from an international perspective how people will look at America now that Mr. Obama is the president is a heartwarming thing because I think I've noticed over the last eight years the image of Americans and the country really go down from where it should be. This is a wonderful place to live. This is a wonderful country and=2 0I think in the context of the world and for people to lose that self-esteem as a nation, for people to lose that connection with their country not only here at home but around the world is sad.
And I think to see a man as talented, as qualified, as charismatic and offering all those qualities not only allows Americans to kind of grab a hold of their country again and to have a connectivity to one another again. But I think it also allows people around the world to look at America in a light that they should.
For all the great things that it provides. Because, you know, let's face it. Whether you're Canadian or from somewhere else in the world, we're global citizens. And if the economy falls in America we see a fall around the world. Foreign policy starts and begins and ends in America, really. It's a ripple effect that has impacted so much here and to have somebody that you believe in and have somebody that may think something or you may think and they behave the way you behave and I think most importantly, one thing that I love about him is he is not afraid to say he's wrong. He is not afraid to be wrong, admit it and move forward.
And I think that's t he type of person you have confidence in. Someone who is always hiding the truth, or pretending something never happened.
You're going to lose confidence and trust in that person right away. So I think we're very blessed in this country and around the world that we have someone as special as Barack Obama leading the country.
KING: Were you - you say the image of the United States was down the past eight years. Did you get involved in those discussions? Did you end up defending the United States? Did you shy away from those discussions?
NASH: You know, it's sad but I don't think any of us probably had that same feeling about things the last few years. There was a lot more confusion. Like I said, a disconnection between those beliefs and those ideals that come to represent America traditionally so it took a lot of knocks, it took a lot of shocks and I think we're finally seeing people around the world find the hope that Americans have again in this country and the world, because like I said, America is deeply at the center of the global economy, foreign policy, all those things that affect all of us.
KING: How many parents at the table? You're the only one? You'll get there.
What does it mean to see this young family in the White House? I ask in the context of in the African American community, Bill Cosby or people like him can sometimes get in trouble when they say, before you blame other people, look in the mirror and deal with the problems in your own community or make sure the father is around and things like that.
What does it mean to have this young family in the White House?
MAGIC JOHNSON: Well, I think it means a lot because when you think about families in America we have, again, high divorce rates, we have broken homes, so to see this family that is together that the love is - you could see it openly to see President Obama love Michelle, first lady, the way he does, and also dropping his kids off at school and getting a kiss and it's just wonderful for all of us here but everybody.
And that doesn't matter what color you are. You see just a great family and you don't say, hey that's a great family. You just say, hey, President Obama and First Lady Michelle has a great family, they're loving parents and you can see the way the daughters react to them and the way they carry themselves that they've been brought up with high values as well.
And I think that that set an example also to the world and at the end of the day here is a president that has inherited more bad situations probably than any president in our lifetime yet and still he doesn't show you that type of pressure. He's still going about his business and I think we all - this is - we've all probably done something for him and we have friends who have done campaigns for them, and we have friends who have done campaigns for him and raised money right?
And the day that he won I said, oh my goodness, I feel for him. I feel great that he won, but I feel bad for him. Because now everybody thinks they have the red phone, they can have a direct line to President Obama and I know right today he's feeling it now because everybody thinks they can just call him up, they want to come hang and they are going to get their agenda passed by him and so on so I said, wow, I wouldn't want to have all that pressure on me to the economy and getting people back to work, and foreign relationships, foreign policy, two wars.
I mean, this man has inherited so much and still everybody el se who helped him get here they're thinking, OK, I want my time and I want to be there and I want to be in the White House eating with you, I want to be hanging with you and I want to be playing basketball with you.
NASH: Just like when he made the NBA everyone in Michigan called you up.
MAGIC JOHNSON: Exactly.
RUSSELL: Well, you know, you just love any jumpshooter.
JOHN KING: Do you think the family matters?
RUSSELL: What?
JOHN KING: Do you think the example of the family matters?
RUSSELL: Of course it does. You see, one think I've always advocated when I talk to young players, be kind to your teammates and families that are kind to each other have children that know what kindness feels like. And they are more apt to practice it so that like a lot of folks say, well, what can I do? I say the best that can do is be kind to your friends, you family and your friends.
Because kindness is always like a ripple effect. And once people know kindness, know, they're more apt to be kind and with kindness comes respect and then you can live together and it doesn't have to be a serious negotiation. We won't fight. We can just live together because that guy there and that guy there, and that's it.
And this family demonstrates how it is to be kind to the children and how it is to be kind to each other.
KING: Give him tips, Grant Hill, on how to deal with pressure.
HILL: It seems as though he's doing a pretty good job. I'll take the pressure of a game and shooting the free throws to win a game over the pressures that he's doing right now, inheriting this mess. But pretty much as Magic said, you have to really be impressed how cool he is, how thoughtful, how organized. He is not running from the challenge, he is taking it head on and he realizes that these are tough times but he is doing what is necessary. He is engaging.
It's funny. As Irving said, I'm probably one of those as well who did some fundraising and feels like - I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels that way but he has that ability to connect with people so we sit down and meet with him and maybe because we're basketball players and he's a fan of basketball and that plays into it.
But when you walk away, you feel like, man, I've know this guy for a long time. And Magic has that too, Magic has that ability as well but I just think he's done a great job and20I've just been so impressed, like you said, his campaign, how he is as a family man and certainly now that he is in office and his first 100 days and what he's trying to do in implementing policy. It's not an easy time but I do feel we have the right person, the best person to lead the charge.
KING: What does it mean to have a president whose first game is basketball? We haven't had one of those before.
PAUL: I know. It's pretty nice. It's pretty nice. It's still a surreal feeling. He has Reggie Love, who I am sure Grant knows really well, working for him and Reggie is from North Carolina, Charlotte and I'm from Winston-Salem so when we were in Indiana I saw Reggie and different things like that.
And all of us sort of have to feel that connection to President Obama with the basketball thing and to know that he played and he still loves to play. That's huge. That's huge.
KING: Now did you ever get involved or pay too much attention to politics before this campaign?
PAUL: No, no, not really.
KING: Do you have an obligation after he's gone? Maybe he brought you into this campaign, his candidacy, but what about when he's gone from th e scene?
PAUL: I think so. I think so. I think if you see how involved just everyone got, but me personally, I've never been as involved as I am now. And I think even after he's done, I have an obligation, because I've gotten more involved on the different topics and things more so now than ever.
I actually had an opportunity this summer when I was in Chicago, I went to his campaign headquarters. I went over there for maybe in two hours, two-and-a-half hours with my older brother and we went and met just about everyone on his team.
And we saw what takes place on a daily basis. I met people who had drove all the way from California who just stopped their jobs and just picked up everything and went and said, we're going to commit to trying to help President Obama get into office.
So like everyone else has said, I'm too happy for him. No way could I do his job. You know, I'd put him on the basketball court before I'd try to put myself in the White House.
(LAUGHTER)
PAUL: Because when he goes and speaks,=2 0I would be sweating bullets. But like they said, he has handled everything so professionally and just given everyone hope. And like Steve said, he is not afraid to admit when he's wrong. I think that's the biggest thing.
And as long as that continues to happen, I think us at this table and everyone else will continue to have confidence in him no matter what he does.
KING: Let me ask you, lastly, there is a debate sometimes in sports about this, as to whether you are by your choice of doing what you do in a very public spotlight role models, or whether you should be left alone. You're off the court, allowed to live your life, and that's nobody's business.
When you have a president who calls for public service and his wife is very active in community service, do you feel the obligation to begin with, and even more so now when you have somebody in the White House who says, you know, it's critical that people get involved in their communities and serve? Or is your life when you're done with the game, your life?
BILL RUSSELL, NBA HALL OF FAMER, FORMER BOSTON CELTICS STAR: Well, your first obligation is to your f amily, first. Then to your community, your town, your city, your state, and your country. But what I always said is, you know, when you go on an airplane, they tell you that if you crash or something, something happens, you do (INAUDIBLE).
And the last thing they say to you is, if there is a loss of oxygen, a mask will come down. And you put it on. And if there's a disabled person or a child next to you, then you put theirs on. But they tell you put yours on first.
Because you can't help anybody else unless you're able or -- help yourself first. And that's what responsibility is. I've heard it said that to lead is to serve. And all of these guys here, including the kid.
(LAUGHTER)
RUSSELL: Have been servants to their occupation. And I feel so proud of Obama, of course, of what he has accomplished, that it just -- I'm so proud that he took and understood the process and decided to engage the process. And he also knew what it was going to be like when he got there.
(LAUGHTER)
KING: Do you feel more pressure to do community service or less saying that people have a president to look up now , they don't have to worry about us athletes?
STEVE NASH, TWO-TIME NBA MVP, PHOENIX SUNS: I think it's all intertwined. You know, I don't think you can -- I think it's short-sighted to feel like you can be this sometimes and be this other times. I think you have to have a philosophy about yourself and your life that, you know, we're all one family.
You know, and it's not in America, it's on the planet, you know. We're fortunate enough to be raised in the First World. We're fortunate enough to, you know, be able to get to where we've gotten.
But there are people around the world that we have to look out of as well in our own neighborhoods and communities but also around the world.
And if you have that attitude, I don't think you can separate the two.
You know, I think you have to be a servant to yourself, and therefore to other people. And if you have that attitude, you can't start separating between politics, public service, you know, the way you treat yourself and others, the way you behave. I think it's all intertwined.
KING: So you have this goodwill right now. How will you judge him, whether he is actually succeeding in doing things? He has created a new atmosphere in the country without a doubt. But how would you, starting with you, Steve, judge him...
NASH: I mean, I think...
KING: ... three months or six months down the road, all right, he did that, that's what I wanted him to do?
NASH: I mean, I think we -- obviously, we get results-based in our judgments. But I just want to see someone who is honest, someone who is
-- you know, puts a great team together with the right motives, and someone who gives an effort.
And, you know, I don't think we could all say we felt that way about the last eight years. We always felt like there was another motive or initiative or something that was hidden from us or misleading.
And I think now I would judge him, results are great, you know, we want to see results. But let's see, you know, the way he carries himself, the way he puts a team around, what his motivations are, you know, his incentives, how he handles himself, and how hard he works.
You know, that's where I think, you know, the results will come, but we want someone to lead us who has those characteristics.
MAGIC JOHNSON, NBA HALL OF FAMER, FORMER LOS ANGELES LAKERS STAR: And I think you start with that, and then you hold him accountable for what he ran on, the platform that he ran on, which was to get 3 million or 4 million people back to work. And that's what he is, as a matter of fact, working on right now.
So if he is able to put people in construction jobs and to rebuild the bridges and the highways. If he's able to change buildings, go green so that means more jobs for people, if he's able to -- the health care system.
And so the things that he ran on, we just hold him accountable to those things as well as help him to achieve those things, because he is not going to do it -- he can't do it by himself, he can't just put 4 million people to work by himself, he is going to need everybody to also do their part and to do more.
And I think everybody is willing now that he is the president to do more. I know myself, I want to do more now.
KING: So, Grant, to that point, somebody watching this might say, what do these guys know about the struggling economy in the country? They're all well-paid, you know, they're not hurting like I am. Maybe a guy who has lost a factory job in the middle of the country, he is an autoworker who got laid off. He works at Caterpillar at Illinois, he got laid off.
Do you guys see that and is that how you judge your new president?
GRANT HILL, SEVEN-TIME NBA ALL-STAR, PHOENIX SUNS: Well, I mean, you certainly -- certainly you see it and you feel it. We all -- not everybody we know plays in the NBA, we have friends, we have people who have suffered. We all have -- you know, as Steve said, it's a ripple effect.
So, you know, certainly, you know, you feel it, you sense it, you see it around you. You know, and those are the people who -- those are the people who really made the change. Those are the people who are inspired by his message, you know, and believed in what he had to say.
And with the ones that really voted for him, Middle America, the ones that are struggling, the Midwest with, you know, the car industry, and just people all over who are going through a very difficult time, you know, those20are the ones that really got out and voted and made a difference.
JOHNSON: I know that -- I'm sorry, not to cut you off, see, I grew up in Michigan, father, two brothers worked 30 years for General Motors, OK?
So I'm in it even right now as we speak, I've got relatives who now, whether they got laid off, I worry that they're going to get laid off.
Friends whose parents are going to get laid off, they're going to get laid off, and have been laid off. So I didn't mean to cut Grant off, but I'm in the middle of it right now as we speak. Michigan is devastated.
The state is -- the biggest unemployment rate we've ever had. So that means that now because of that, people are losing their homes, because of that, people are going -- they're not getting meals, children are not eating because their parents can't bring home food for them to eat.
So I'm right in the heart in the middle of it. So I'm seeing it and hearing it every single day. And I knew what those factories meant to Michigan. The number one employer20in the state of Michigan is General Motors, Ford, and so it's unfortunate, I feel for everybody in my state.
And the problem we have is there is nothing coming around the corner in the next couple of years that's going to change anything. And so when you look at Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, they all have the same problem, and we -- Indiana.
So we're going to have a major crisis for at least two years. Even with the president's great plan, it's going to still take probably 18 months to two years before it can take effect. So we still are going to have that long for people to suffer.
So we have some major problems, but I'm happy that he is the one, President Obama is the one who is going to direct us back and get this economy moving. But we all have to help him. We cannot say, hey, President Obama, it's all on you, because it's never going to work.
He needs everybody to say, hey, I'm going to give somebody five jobs, hey, I own this company, I can help him, let me give 10 jobs and so and on. Then he's going to have to deal with small business owners because small businesses make America go. So how can we help them maintain the workers that they have?
So he's going to have to come up with some move to help small business owners.
- END PART ONE OF TWO -
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
PART TWO OF TWO - Evaluating President Barack Obama's Basketball Skills
KING: Everybody knows the guy with the ball right? Lets play a little bit, stop and we'll dissect it here. There's a little pass.
JOHNSON: Give and go.

PAUL: Walked them away to the basket.

KING: Ah lost the ball there what happened there.

[LAUGHTER]

KING : Was that good defense or was he sloppy with the ball?
[CROSSTALK]
SEVERAL PLAYERS: It was a foul!
[LAUGHTER]

NASH: A stupid pass but (inaudible) got in the way.

KING: Alright let's look a little more. Here we are inside. Alright. What do we make of that? People at the table say: No look.

KING: No look? You like that?

RUSSELL: There you go. Good pass there.

JOHNSON: You know what I see and I know that all of us play the same way. He's smart at the game. Fi rst thing up he's passing, nice post pass, nice set up, always looking for the other man.
NASH: He's got his head up.

JOHNSON: Yeah he's got his head up. So that is what I see from the very beginning when he just touched it.

RUSSELL: What do you know about it?

[LAUGHTER]
KING: Here we go. Here's some more now. How's the defense?

RUSSELL: Good D, good D.

PAUL: He got a little up off the floor there didn't he.
KING: How's his D?

HILL: Yeah looks good.

PAUL: Got a steal right there.

KING: Got a steal right there -what do you think?

JOHNSON: He got right back into the play

KING: Alright that's that clip. Here we go. Here we go. Now what is he supposed to do with the ball.
JOHNSON : He's coming out with it. He's coming out with it

KING: Grant you are being very quiet over there.

RUSSELL: Sometimes you outlet it yourself if you've got Steve Nash and Magic Johnson that's where you outlet it.

GRANT: If its half court you have to dribble it out or reset it.

KING: So if its Steve Nash or Magic Johnson what20would they do?

RUSSELL: Well they giv' em a target to give them a ball. [LAUGHING] I know what to do with it.

KING: Now is he sloppy with that ball?
SEVERAL PLAYERS: No.
KING: Dribbling a little high?

JOHNSON: No defense. Defense backs off.

KING: He's tough. Alright here we go ready. Watch the form -watch the form.

PAUL: Lefties always can shoot.

RUSSELL: That's a YMCA shot.

KING: There's a three. Now what do you think?

PAUL: He drifted to the right a little bit.
[LAUGHTER]
KING: But shouldn't there be a little bit more swagger after hitting a three like that?

Nash: Nah he's got plenty of swagger.
[LAUGHTER]
NASH: Plenty of swagger. You can tell.

RUSSELLl: That's that Harvard cool.
[LAUGHTER]

PAUL: Paul: You're president you've already got swag.

KING: Now I am going to stop him here. How's his form ? His eyes in the right place?

NASH: He's alright.

PAUL: He 's got his left elbow. His elbow in.

JOHNSON: He's got his head up and his elbow in

PAUL: ...To see the follow through hit play.

SEVERAL PLAYERS: So what was the result?

KING: Here we go

KING: Knees bent is that right. Forms good? How would Bill Russell do that differently.

RUSSELL: I wouldn't go out that far.
[LAUGHTER]
KING: Hands in the right place Grant?

GRANT: Yeah it looks good.

KING: You're20being very nice to him. You're looking for a White House invitation I know what this is.
Alright here it is.
NASH: Good follow through. You know what I like though. There is a lot of pressure on that shot. He misses that shot and the whole world sees him miss that shot. He stepped up and took it.***
RUSSELL: He's got his watch on the wrong hand.

KING: He's got his watch on the wrong hand. Everybody gets a little swagger there at the end.

PAUL: It's a little swagger but like he said got a lot of pressure.

RUSSELL: That's part of the game. What's the use of playing.

KING: Everybody gets a chance to give an opinion. Well start with steve and go around the table .
Everybody gets one tip. Help him out.
NASH: Help his game out. Man I haven't seen a lot of him. One tip. What would I say. You know :keep the dream alive. Get better every summer and he will be in the League before he knows it. **
JOHNSON: I would just say continue to pick the right team mates.

[INAUDIBLE]

JOHNSON: He's running with the right teammates that is how he is going to turn the country around and that is how you win pickup games you pick the right people. (laughter)
KING: Maybe he should taking leaping lessons from her. She was good.

HILL: He should continue to play.

RUSSELL: He is a pretty good rebounder too.

HILL: He should continue to play. I know it is hard to do with all his responsibilities but you can tell he loves it. I think we all see this passion for the game.**
Russell: The game of basketball will energize you.

JOHNSON: And to Grant's point that is why he should play because of all the responsibility. That will be his get away. That's a good point. .
PAUL: Because when we play regardless of all the things we are going through with our families your wife girlfriend anything like that when your on the count everything is out of my mind. It's like nothing else is going on in the world. I am like two different people on the court and off the court. On the court I smack my mammy.
RUSSELL: You're a pain in the neck

PAUL: Yeah, yeah you can call it what you want to.
[LAUGHTER]
Grant: He is, he is.

PAUL: Hey now, you can call it what you want to but that is just another world for us. That's a whole nother world. So if you want to get to know me don't play basketball with me.
KING: If you picking based on what you've seen what's his natural position.

JOHNSON: Yeah, he's going to be a point because that's how he thinks.

RUSSELL: Because he sees the floor very well.

JOHNSON: He sees it. He sees the play before it develops. That is how he is running the country. I don't want people to say you are linking the president to a point guard. I'm not doing it.
KIMG: This part is just fun.

JOHNSON: What I'm saying is that a point guard got to think five minutes=2 0ahead. You ask these two guys they know the time they know what they have to do at that particular time but they also thinking five min ahead because we got to know what is going to happen five min down the road. So he's got to stay at pt guard because he is running the country the same way he's got to think for the future so he is the pt guard for sure.
PAUL: They need to keep playing but not too much. Don't try to come and take my job.
[LAUGHTER]
PAUL: Don't try to take my job.
KING: See, that wasn't so hard

RUSSELL: Being the point guard. Two things. Like Magic said these two guys see ahead but you've not only got to see ahead but and make happen what your going to happen not just foreseeing things. Sometimes you can see it doesn't look right. And so then you have got to say no how can I change this.**
JOHNSON: And also lead you've got20to be a great leader

KING: Now if you get to play with him would you play him tough.

JOHNSON: Yeah, and he would expect it.
[LAUGHTER]

RUSSELL: If I was young enough to play...

GRANT: Would you block his shot? Would you block his shot?

RUSSELL: The special service would come and get you.
[LAUGHTER]

JOHNSON: Cause you wouldn't let him get nothing. He hasn't changed one bit. But you know what I have seen of him. He's got that same tough minded - you know when he made that speech the other night that was a different Obama was stern tough and before his speeches had been motivating, inviting like hey look I need this stimulus packag e passed because of this and this and so we saw that different side to him and it was wonderful to see that.
KING: Anybody else have anything they want to throw in. Everyone went pretty easy on his game.

Grant: He blocked all of our shots.
[LAUGHTER]
Russell: I would invite him to make sure he shoots all threes because the air is not all that thick up there but layups and 20 foot jumpshots don't even think about it.
[LAUGHTER]
King: Thank you all very much.


-- END --

1 Comment

HE CAN PLAY ALL 5 POSITIONS!
HE IS A MULTI-TASKER TYPE OF PERSON, WE ARE VERY
FORTUNATE TO HAVE PRESIDENT OBAMA IN THE OVAL
OFFICE!

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets

Video

Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on February 15, 2009 12:00 PM.

C-SPAN 2009 presidential rankings. was the previous entry in this blog.

Burris, facing perjury probe, press conference Sunday 3:30 p.m. Chicago time is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.