Barack Obama likes Julius Erving, Chisox
Barack Obama played basketball with and talked to Stuart Scott of ESPN last week in North Carolina, an interview that will debut on the 6 p.m. Monday SportsCenter.
Obama has a chance to become the best basketball player in the history of the U.S. Presidency, although let's face it: Lincoln was just born too soon.
Click below for excerpts, in which Obama talks about Dr. J. and beer-swilling, cutesy Cubs fans.Barack Obama: My favorite player when I was a kid was Dr. J. He had those old Nets shorts with the socks up to here. Those Converse Dr. J's, that was the outfit then.
Stuart Scott: If your vice president had to be an athlete, who would you pick?
Obama: Well, I'll tell you what. I'm a Chicago guy, so I'm thinking Walter Payton. Sweetness. That guy had durability -- he could block as well as run. Michael -- doesn't lose, and, since I haven't won the presidency yet, that wouldn't be a bad teammate to have. I'd just keep on feeding him and figure he'd hit the last shot.
Scott: Because of human rights issues, there was a loud cry for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Summer Games. If you had been President, faced with that, what would you have done?
Obama: Well, I said very early on that I don't want Olympics to be overly politicized. But, when a host country is violating human rights, I think we have to say something. It would have been an appropriate statement for the President to say that, I will not go to the opening games unless we have seen some progress on the issue of Tibet. If all of us are silent all the time, then human beings all across the globe are being silenced and being oppressed in ways that I don't think captures the Olympic Spirit.
Scott: Congress played a vital role through its hearings, and baseball union and players union into more frequent testing for performance enhancing drugs and stricter penalties. When you were watching the hearings, what did you think of them?
Obama: I love baseball. Baseball is America's pastime. I'd like to see the baseball Commissioner handle this without Congress being involved. We've got a lot of stuff on our plate.
Scott: If the Cubs and the White Sox both make it to the World Series?
Obama: I would be going.
Scott: Who would you root for?
Obama: Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren't watching the game. It's not serious. White Sox, that's baseball. Southside.