President Obama represents many firsts for America. But besides being the first African American president, he occupies another seminal position: Obama is the first “basketball president.” Obama very publicly does his brackets every year for the NCAA Tournament and is a big time Bulls fan. Hey, he lived in Chicago during the Michael Jordan era — what’s not to love? The president reminded people of his hoops amour by showing up for opening night at the United Center, watching LeBron James and the Cavaliers fall just short of his beloved Bulls in a possible playoff preview.
The US has had countless golf presidents. JFK played golf, liked to sail and, of course, played some famous friendly family football games. Nixon was an avid bowler, installing bowling lanes in the White House. Woodrow Wilson played college baseball (at Steph Curry’s alma mater, btw). Teddy Roosevelt was a sportsman, but ironically the great conservationist favored sports that these days get Midwestern dentists in trouble. Eisenhower played football at West Point. Reagan swam. Gerald Ford won two national football championships at Michigan. But Obama is indisputably the first basketball president — odd, really, since the game was invented here and has been around since the 19th century. The left-handed Obama played in high school, and pick-up hoops is still his game of choice. (Yes, the president plays a lot of golf, but then so does Michael Jordan, who’s sort of known for basketball…) The smart money is on a future first soccer president — perhaps one of these women?