In anticipation of today's White House visit and meeting with President Barack Obama, I thought I'd post some videos I shot last Tuesday with various Lakers talking about the expedition. We'll start with Derek Fisher, whose clip begins with a fantastic exchange between him and CBS/KCAL 9's always impeccably dressed Jim Hill. Those suits he's always wearing during broadcasts? That's what he's always wearing off-camera, too. I mean, literally EVERY time I've ever seen Hill, the man is in a suit (as Brian, the L.A. Times' Broderick Turner and I discussed during a recent PodKast). A one-song muse for ZZ Top, if you will. This consistency didn't escape Fisher, who completely ignored Hill's initial question to give the broadcaster's jacket a feel.
"What is that, tweed," asked Fish as a smile crept across his face. "I like it. I like it. It's like, 12:30 in the daytime."
From there, a conundrum was examined. "Mr. President" is the proper way for NBA players to address the free world's leader, but how does Obama refer to fellow-Prez Fisher (Player's Association)? "Probably not as Mr. President," noted the point guard. "I'll probably have to tell him what my name is." Well, I seriously doubt that, between Obama's rabid hoops love and the attention Fisher gained campaigning on his behalf. It's a meeting Fisher is looking forward to, while noting he and his mates "have a lot of business to take care of" before and after the White House visit.
This being Kobe Bryant's fourth championship, then by definition, it's also not his first time getting a tour of the Pennsylvania Avenue chateau. But Obama does happen to be the nation's first African-American President, a huge moment in history, which makes the whole experience new and different for Bryant. "For us to be the first NBA team to show up there, it's special in its own right," said the Mamba.
This clip really puts into perspective how long Phil Jackson has been coaching and how successful his run has been. The man has visited White House during administrations led by Bush the elder, Bill Clinton, Bush the young 'un, and now Obama. If the White House opened its doors to championship CBA teams, he'd have gotten a meet and greet with Ronald Reagan, too.
Very funny line from Phil about what to expect on the trip: "There's nothing we're going to learn out of it. We're not going to go to Lincoln's bed room and spend the night there."
As the only Laker not getting a ring, Ron Artest wasn't bitter or jealous, instead hoping the dude he replaced, Trevor Ariza, gets "to take a picture with the President." We also get a great look into the unique mind that is Ron Ron's. Artest said he was "not that excited to meet" Obama, since he just comes off like "a regular person." A regular person who happens to double as the President of the United States, and Artest "donated to the cause" (Obama's campaign). I asked if he'd ever contributed in a past election. Nope, but "this one had a rock star appeal to it." So basically, Obama is a "regular guy" and a "rock star."
You gotta love Artest's stream of consciousness.
In addition to these videos, be sure to check out additional comments about the White House trip from Fisher, Jordan Farmar and Lamar Odom, courtesy of the always informed Mike Trudell of the Lakers.com basketblog.