The Chicago Bulls have something that even the U.S. Congress doesn’t have -- presidential approval.
President Obama sat courtside at Chicago’s season opener against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, witnessing what may just be a preview of the 2016 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. And in a sideline interview with TNT’s David Aldridge, Obama praised the new-look Bulls. After firing defensive-minded head coach Tom Thibodeau in May, this year's Bulls are looking to pair a dynamic young backcourt in Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler with offensively minded first-year coach Fred Hoiberg.
“I think [the team is] very promising,” Obama said Tuesday. “[Hoiberg is] opening up the offense a little bit. The question’s going to be whether they can hang onto the defense with the new offense.”
“You’ve got Butler, you’ve got Rose, you want to make sure that they can get into the paint and do what they do creatively,” he continued. “… I like how Derrick’s playing right now and Butler has been a terrific young player.”
Obama saw a typically efficient offensive performance from LeBron James, a valiant attempt at a performance from the temporarily one-eyed Rose and, most important, a hell of a defensive performance when it mattered most from Bulls big man Pau Gasol.
After James skipped down the lane with the clock winding down and the contest on the line, Gasol got his 7-foot frame in the way of No. 23’s potentially game-winning shot, blocking his layup attempt and ultimately saving Chicago’s win.
A longtime Bulls fan, Obama approved.
Despite Chicago’s disappointing finishes in recent years, Obama told Aldridge that he is “feeling optimistic” about his team’s chances this season, adding that he’s thankful that the Bulls are in the less-competitive Eastern Conference, where they won’t need to compete as often with the likes of the Golden State Warriors, the San Antonio Spurs and other championship-caliber Western Conference clubs.
“That’s a tough lineup,” Obama said. “I wouldn’t want to be battling it out over [there] -- I’m glad my Bulls are in the East.”
Talk about Obama-care.
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