President Obama says he was ahead of the curve when it comes to New York Knicks sensation Jeremy Lin.
“I’ve been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while,” the president told ESPN’s Bill Simmons Wednesday. “I knew about Jeremy before you did, before everybody else did.”
Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who often plays basketball with the president, first drew his attention to the breakout star.
“Arne and I were playing and he said ‘I’m telling you, we’ve got this terrific guard named Jeremy Lin at Harvard,’” Obama said.
Duncan, who played professional basketball in Australia before turning to politics, is a former captain of the Harvard team, Lin’s alma mater.
Asked jokingly by Simmons if he was taking credit for Lin-sanity, the president said “I can’t take credit for it. But I’m just saying, I was there early.”
In a wide-ranging interview, the sports-fan-in-chief revealed how he stays up-to-date with professional sports despite his demanding day job.
When he and his wife Michelle Obama work out together in the morning they always watch ESPN’s “SportsCenter,” Obama explained.
“The only thing that she allows me to control … is SportsCenter,” the president quipped.
Obama, a self-professed “night guy,” also admitted he sometimes sneaks in a ball game while he’s up late at night reading his briefings.
The president is not only a fan, but also a coach. He goes to almost all of his daughter Sasha’s Saturday basketball games and last year added coaching to his full plate of responsibilities.
Obama said that he and Reggie Love, his former personal aide who played basketball at Duke, used to attend the games and started passing notes and pointers to the coach.
“Finally she said, ‘alright, well why don’t you guys do it,’” Obama said.
The president started running practices with the girls and when the coach was gone, he would fill in. However, Obama explained that he found coaching to be “stressful.”
“You just want them to win so badly,” he said.
As for his own game, Obama said people don’t let him win just because he’s the president because if they did, they would never hear the end of it.
“I will talk about folks just to make sure they don’t take it easy on me,” he said.
Going forward, the president said he hopes “every year” to welcome his hometown Chicago Bulls to the White House as NBA champions.
“It hasn’t happened yet, but it will happen,” he told Simmons.
“I’ve got another five years here,” a confident Obama said, despite the upcoming presidential election. “Somewhere along the line, my Bulls are going to come through here.”