HoopsHype Barack Obama rumors

November 20, 2012 Updates

David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s chief strategist from his two historical victories and a longtime Bulls season ticket holder, is taking on a new challenge. He hopes to raise $1 million towards finding a cure for epilepsy. And if he does, his trademark look will be gone after more than four decades. NBA.com

But if you don’t recognize the president’s man in his usual spot at center court on the north side of the United Center at the end of this month it may because he doesn’t recognize himself, either. That’s because the Bulls’ No. 1 fan may be without his close friend of more than 40 years, his mustache. And if he is without it, as frightening it may be to family, friends and even himself, Axelrod will be thrilled because it means he’s raised $1 million toward epilepsy cure research. They already are more than halfway there. “It could be a shock to all involved,” Axelrod laughed. “I may have to wear a blindfold as it comes off. It’s something that started off as a lark to make a point in the middle of the campaign that has turned into an opportunity to do some good for a lot of people.” NBA.com

Axelrod now heads to his role as director of the new University of Chicago Institute of Politics, will write a book and do speeches. “And I’ll still be available to the president,” said Axelrod. “He’s not just an old client, but a friend of the last 20 years who will be a friend for life. If he calls me, I’ll always answer.” Though if Axelrod is such a good strategist—and the record says he’s the best—then maybe he can devise something for the Bulls. “There’s going to be good nights and bad nights, but not because they don’t show up,” Axelrod agrees. “For example, (Joakim) Noah looks in great shape, better than any time since he’s been a Bull. His play is reflecting that. So some good things are happening. But every team needs a superstar, and we need ours. We’re all waiting and watching his progress and until then I feel we can be competitive.” NBA.com

November 9, 2012 Updates
November 8, 2012 Updates
November 7, 2012 Updates

In other words, Jordan may have won six championships, but he was oh-for-scoring-political-points during his Hall of Fame career. Jordan -- as the often-related story goes -- chose commerce over politics in 1990 when he refused to endorse Democrat Harvey Gantt, a black U.S. Senate candidate in his home state of North Carolina. "Republicans buy shoes, too," Jordan famously explained. And that was Allen's point: Whereas Jordan avoided politics for fear of alienating potential customers, James could really separate himself by embracing his role as someone who could not only generate opinions but influence them. "It's great to be a basketball player, but to transcend sports is a big responsibility," Allen said. "If he were able to pull that off -- if he wants to pull that off -- I think that would set him apart." CBSSports.com

According to a donor list aggregated by HoopsHype.com, five current NBA players -- Anthony, Hill, Carter, Nolan Smith and free-agent Baron Davis -- donated to Obama's campaign. Jordan was an exception among NBA ownership types who donated to the President's successful re-election bid, putting up $5,000. Even though commissioner David Stern recently poked fun at Obama's basketball skills -- "He’s not that good," said Stern, the noted Democrat who himself donated $5,000 to Obama -- the obstacles that kept Jordan from voicing political opinions during his playing career appear to have been lifted. But the golden rule of sports is to follow the money, and if you do that when it comes to NBA political donations, the league appears just as divided as the country is. CBSSports.com

As for a scouting report on the left-handed Obama, Pippen came away impressed. “He’s not an overly aggressive player, but he takes what the defense gives him,” said Pippen. “He’s got a smooth game. He probably used to be a little more aggressive, but obviously he doesn’t want to get hurt.” That certainly wasn’t going to happen if the defense had anything to do about it. “I thought the lanes opened up when Michael Jordan used to drive,” laughed Pippen. “I used to be like, wow. But when I saw the President drive, I thought they were bringing the whole motorcade through the lane it was so wide.” NBA.com

But running up and down on the basketball court with President Obama was obviously a unique opportunity for Pippen that he will never forget. “It was a very special experience to play ball with the current President on Election Day. That says it all,” said Pippen. “You sit there and wonder what the President is doing on a day like this aside from voting. It was very enjoyable for me and something I’ll always remember. I got to see the President in a relaxed atmosphere—no suit, just one of the guys. It’s a story I can tell my kids and have them look back on.” After they finished playing, Obama approached Pippen and told him, “Hey, I’ve got to get you out to the White House.” Pippen’s response: “For sure, Mr. President.” NBA.com

Micky Arison: Congratulations to President Obama. Time to unite, time to compromise, time to work together to solve the nations problems. Twitter @MickyArison

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