President Obama is very superstitious. On Election Day, he wanted to keep tradition and play some hoops, something he did in 2008 when he won the presidency. But Obama didn’t want to just play a game, he wanted to make sure he won. So he called in a ringer: Scottie Pippen.
Obama is a huge Chicago Bulls fan, and having Pippen on his team was a no-brainer for the 44th President of the United States. Obama and Pippen were joined by former Bulls guard Randy Brown and Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Thanks to Pippen, the president’s team won. Later that evening, the president won re-election when he defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Election Day was a great day for President Obama.
Adam Fluck of Bulls.com wrote:
There are certain perks that come with having won six world championships and being a member of basketball’s Hall of Fame.
One of them, as Scottie Pippen learned this week, is that you get an invitation to play in President Barack Obama’s traditional Election Day basketball game.
So on Tuesday afternoon, as millions of Americans took time out of their daily routine to vote, Pippen joined Obama, along with some of the President’s closest friends and top advisors, on a basketball court roughly one mile west of the United Center.
“When he first entered the gym, if you hadn’t looked over to see him, you wouldn’t have noticed,” said Pippen of Obama. “It was surprisingly low key. He just came in and started shaking hands. He’s someone who is very easy to approach.”
It was the first time Pippen had met Obama. The connection was made through a mutual friend, Marty Nesbitt. Obama mentioned that Nesbitt thinks very highly of Pippen.
“He said it was a pleasure to meet me and that he had heard good things about me from Marty,” said Pippen. “I told him, ‘Thank you and I wish you well tonight. But if you want to be a winner this afternoon, you better play with me.’”
Apparently the President agreed, so when the action began, Pippen and Obama were on the same team, in addition to former Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias and two others. And this was no informal pickup game—there were officials, a running clock and four 12-minute quarters.
As for a scouting report on the left-handed Obama, Pippen came away impressed.
“He’s not an overly aggressive player, but he takes what the defense gives him,” said Pippen. “He’s got a smooth game. He probably used to be a little more aggressive, but obviously he doesn’t want to get hurt.”
That certainly wasn’t going to happen if the defense had anything to do about it.
“I thought the lanes opened up when Michael Jordan used to drive,” laughed Pippen. “I used to be like, wow. But when I saw the President drive, I thought they were bringing the whole motorcade through the lane it was so wide.”
In the end, and perhaps this comes as no surprise, it was Obama and Pippen’s team who walked away with an easy win.
“We kind of blew them out,” said Pippen. “It should have been worse but we started messing around at the end. The game was close for awhile, but in the third quarter we opened it up. They tried to get back in it in the fourth, but we kept expanding the lead. It was a good game, fun and competitive.”