Category Archives: Obama and Basketball

VIDEO: Obama on ESPN for Womens NCAA Tournament

Earlier this week ESPN unveiled President Obama’s bracket for the NCAA Mens Basketball Tournament. Earlier today they officially did the same for his bracket for the Womens Tournament.

You can also find his entry in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge. Will it do as well as his Mens Tournament bracket currently is which finds itself in the 99.9 percentile at the moment.
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For the 3rd straight year President Obama has filled out NCAA Tournament brackets for ESPN. 

ESPN College Basketball analyst Andy Katz (you can find his blog post here) was at the White House yesterday to host the segment for SportsCenter and the other ESPN platforms. The video is embedded below. Two years ago he correctly picked UNC to win the NCAA Tournament. Last year his pick of Kansas got knocked out in the second round.

You can find Obama’s brackets for both the Mens and Womens tournaments on the White House website. He will appear on SportsCenter again tomorrow morning with Doris Burke to unveil his Womens Tournament bracket. Earlier today on Sportscenter John Buccigross and Doug Gottlieb said that Obama’s signed bracket from two years ago is displayed in the ESPN cafeteria. I’ll post my bracket at some point between now and tip off on Thursday. Really struggling with it this year and coming out with a lot of chalk results and that is why I am not really surprised that Obama is going with the four #1s

Obama’s Mens Tournament Bracket for ESPN

Obama’s Womens Tournament Bracket

From ESPN’s SportsCenter earlier today. 

ESPN has entered Obama’s bracket as an entry into their Tournament Challenge. How well will he do? In a usual year I may have criticized Obama for going chalk with his bracket but in talking with other college basketball fans most of us are coming out with brackets very similar to his.
Andy Katz has had some nice exclusives with Barack Obama over the past few years.

Neil Best of Newsday pointed out, it is worth noting that Obama picked Kansas to win it all again. They are the only one of his Final Four teams that doesn’t play in a battleground state. Reid Wilson noted earlier today that one of Obama’s first round upsets is Marquette over Xavier (the alma mater of Speak John Boehner). I am not a of over analyzing the bracket from a political angle but sometimes it just can’t be helped.

What I absolutely have to laugh at is those who criticize Obama for filling out a NCAA bracket. A large chunk of the people criticizing him are probably in a office pool of their own. Just take a look at this clip from Fox “News”.

Just because Obama spent a small part of his day with ESPN we are to believe he is not paying attention to what is going on in the world? That sentiment is even more ridiculous when Obama asks people to donate to help the victims in Japan as part of his segments on ESPN. How many people do you think Obama reached out with that message by going on ESPN? I just don’t understand the people who act as though just because he is the President he shouldn’t do anything “normal”. I always point people out to this (and this).

One of the things I wanted to do on the show was, as people are filling out their brackets — this is obviously a national pastime; we all have a great time, it’s a great diversion.  But I know a lot of people are thinking how can they help the Japanese people during this time of need.  If you go to usaid.govusaid.gov — that will list all the nonprofits, the charities that are helping out there.  It would be wonderful for people to maybe offer a little help to the Japanese people at this time — as they’re filling out their brackets.  It’s not going to take a lot of time.  That’s usaid.gov.  It could be really helpful.

That is what Obama told ESPN about the events that are unfolding in Japan. What more do people want him to do? Do you have a problem with Obama filling out a bracket? Let me know here.

Houston Chronicle takes a look at just how hard it is to predict the NCAA Tournament. ESPN also takes an interesting look at the NCAA Tournament. I honestly had forgotten that it has been nine years since a #15 beat a #2.
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Obama plays favorites, picks all No. 1 seeds to reach NCAA men’s, women’s Final Four – The Washington Post

Obama plays favorites, picks all No. 1 seeds to reach NCAA men’s, women’s Final Four – The Washington Post

For the 3rd straight year President Obama has filled out NCAA Tournament brackets for ESPN. I am guessing the clips will air tomorrow on ESPN. I will post the videos when they become available. Two years ago he correctly picked UNC to win the NCAA Tournament. Last year his pick of Kansas got knocked out in the second round.

I’ll post my bracket at some point between now and tip off on Thursday. Really struggling with it this year and coming out with a lot of chalk results and that is why I am not really surprised that Obama is going with the four #1s.

Earlier today ESPN’s Andy Katz was spotted in the White House Briefing room by Sam Youngman of “The Hill” who is a big Kentucky Wildcats fan.
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Congratulations to the UConn Huskies

Hats off to the UConn Huskies. They have just won the 89th straight game the school has played. This win moves them past the UCLA teams of the 70s who won 88 straight under coach John Wooden.

There will be a lot of people who will try to knock down the significance of this run because this is womens basketball but 89 games is 89 games. There are people who act as though this is still Womens College Basketball from a decade ago when UConn and Tennessee were the only two dominant teams. Schools like Baylor, Duke, Stanford and even Rutgers have taken a huge step forward since that time. When UCLA put together their streak they were in the middle of winning 10 championships in 12 years. Where was the elite competition for them? Why doesn’t anyone ever mention that? Why don’t people discount their streak because they were so much better then the competition? I don’t care whether it is at the NBA level or you are playing Tic Tac Toe. Winning 89 straight times is impressive. I agree completely with Coach Auriemma’s take on this.

I root for Rutgers but UConn has been the elite team in the Big East Conference for an extended period of time but there is no way not to be impressed by this streak. Credit to NBC Nightly News for sending Ron Allen to cover the story (I’ll post the clip when I find it).

Question to those who are trying to downplay this streak, when was the last time you successfully did something 89 times in a row? For his part, speaking shortly after the game Coach Auriemma said he did not want to be compared to UCLA and John Wooden.

Stanford was the last team to beat them (back on April 6th 2008), the two meet again on the 30th. During his post game press conference Coach Auriemma receive a call from Barack Obama.

Just how long was this streak? Last time UConn lost a game, George W. Bush was still President, the iPad hadn’t been invented and Brett Favre hadn’t played a NFL game for a team other then the Packers. The last time UConn lost a game no one outside of Alaska knew who Sarah Palin was (those were the days!).

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LeBron James returns to Cleveland

It is one of the most highly anticipated yet meaningless December basketball games in recent memory. Tonight, LeBron James will “take his talents to Cleveland” as a member of the Miami Heat.

As I said at the time, I have no problems whatsoever with the three of them deciding to team up. I was in the minority and didn’t really have a problem with the concept of “The Decision” prime time special. I also seem to be in the minority as far as their 2010-11 season is concerned. So many people have already written this team off. They are hovering around the .500 mark but why are people forgetting that the season isn’t even a quarter of way done yet? Would people really be shocked if they went 48-15 the rest of the way? This team has more than enough time to put together a good season and have a great playoff run.

I am not a Miami Heat fan, as a matter of fact I despise Pat Riley and never really liked Alonzo Mourning. I am a Raptors fan who lost Chris Bosh to this team. Yet, I find myself rooting for this team just because everyone else isn’t.

Even Barack Obama was asked about tonight’s game. 

How will the Cleveland crowd react tonight? Lets just hope they take somewhat of a high road and not embarrass their city. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see them boo LeBron all night long for the rest of his career (Vince Carter still hears boos in Toronto) but don’t disrupt the game. Keep your expletives to yourselves and don’t humiliate yourself on national television.

How will LeBron react tonight? He could go a long way towards calming things down today if he doesn’t come out in a confrontational mode. He needs to just let his play do the talking or it could get really ugly tonight. Who knows, if he goes off for 50 points tonight in a masterful performance he might even get some of the crowd back on his side. Regardless of the crowd reaction LeBron MUST act like the better man or he will face a major backlash from the media and possibly the fans around the league. He can not let the crowd get under his skin. LeBron James will either drop 60 points on the Cavs tonight or go 2–19 from the field. There is no middle ground.

There will be a heavier security presence tonight at the Q. How ugly do some in the league think tonight will be? The Heat travel plans for this have been kept secret.

In Cleveland, LeBron is now known as “Queen James”

Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is on twitter. Looking forward to read what he has to say tonight. He did make a plea to the fans,

CavsFans: Remember 2 most import things 2nite: 1. That City, Fans, & all of us be our ‘finest’ w/eyes of world watching. 2. We get the WIN!

Who can forget his letter to Cleveland when LeBron left? 
Sports Illustrated provides a flashback to some recent “homecomings.” How about these pictures from Cleveland?
Any predictions for tonight? ESPN’s Streak for the Cash asks if LeBron will have more points tonight then the  Cavaliers will have field goals. I certainly would not rule that out as a possibility. It will be the first time this season that I will tune in to the start of an NBA game. The game tips off shortly after 8 PM Eastern on TNT. 

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Obama needs 12 stitches after being hit in lip

I’ve written about Barack Obama’s love for basketball in the past. He squeezes in a couple of hours of basketball on a fairly regular basis. While playing today he got elbowed in the face and received 12 stitches as a result of it. 


The White House released a statement today from the man who elbowed him. Rey Decerega, who works for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute said, 

“I learned today the president is both a tough competitor and a good sport. I enjoyed playing basketball with him this morning. I’m sure he’ll be back out on the court again soon.” 

The injury should make for interesting late night fodder in the next week. What is the over/under on the number of comedians and pundits who will question if Mr. Decerega is a Republican? Obama himself will surely make a joke about this when he meets Congressional Republicans next week.  


The Associated Press posted a picture of Obama putting a ice pack on his lips



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Baracketology 2010

If you missed it on ESPN about 20 minutes ago they revealed Barack Obama’s NCAA Mens Tournament bracket. Just like they did last year, ESPN posted a PDF of Obama’s original bracket too.

Barack Obama did correctly pick UNC as the National Champions last year.

Make sure to watch the video from today’s segment.

The President will return to ESPN Friday morning during the 9 AM Sportscenter to talk about his Womens tournament bracket with Doris Burke. ESPN did put up his Womens Tournament bracket already though.

Are there any good NCAA Tournament related books out there that are worth a read? I’ve heard good reviews of the Larry Bird/Johnson book “When the Game Was Ours“, has anyone out there ready it? Same applies to “When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball by Seth Davis?

If you play NCAA Mens or Women Bracket Challenges on Yahoo or ESPN get in touch with me. I am running groups on both.

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When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball When the Game Was Ours


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Barack Obama and the NCAA Tournament

Barack Obama’s love of sports is well documented. The man is a genuine fan and not a phony celebrity sports fan. As is well known by now, Basketball is his favorite sports. ESPN announced today that the President will return to their network tomorrow for the 2nd straight year to reveal his bracket. ESPN entered his entry last year into their online Tournament Challenge. He will also be on ESPN on Thursday to reveal his Womens Tournament Bracket with Doris Burke.

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Barack Obama at the Duke/Georgetown Game

Everyone knows that Barack Obama is a big sports fan. Everyone also knows that he is an even bigger basketball fan. I have written about it in the past. This afternoon a large contingent from the West Wing (the real one….not the TV show) made the short trek to the Verizon Center to catch Georgetown/Duke from courtside.

We see politicians and celebrities all the time pretend to be sports fans but it really is nice to see some genuine ones come along. This isn’t Martha Coakley being a fake Red Sox fan. This isn’t even Whoopi Goldberg pretending to be a New York Giants fan.  There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that this man loves his sports.

Obama didn’t show much rooting interest on the sidelines but I was fully expecting him to be rooting for the hometown Hoyas. Everyone remembers Coach K. attacking the President last year when Obama picked Duke arch rivals University of North Carolina to win it all. His personal aide, Reggie Love is a former Duke basketball player. His Communications director Dan Pfeiffer is a former Hoyas’ player (didn’t actually step on the court though). The President actually went to the broadcasting table to join CBS broadcasters Verne Lundquinst and Clark Kellogg for a little play by play. The President brought his funny with him too. When Kellogg mentioned his Ohio State team beating Obama’s brother in law Greg Robinson, Obama quickly shot back saying that Ohio State should not be bragging about beating an Ivy League (Princeton) team! Obama also told Clark Kellogg (who he called the best color man in the business) that he was coming after his job in “three or seven years”.

The President was joined at the game by Vice President Joe Biden, Personal Aide Reggie Love, Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer, Advisor David Axelrod Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and the Vice President’s son Hunter. I’m sure there were other people present too but these were the people I saw.

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