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Friday, April 15, 2011
Derrick Rose recruits President Obama

ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose might have some explaining to do to backcourt mate Keith Bogans after Rose wished for another shooting guard Thursday night.

Rose was speaking to a room full of supporters for President Obama during a fundraiser on Navy Pier.

"We're kind of sad that Obama is doing everything right now, because we need a starting 2-guard for the playoffs," Rose said. "We'll have to deal with it."

It was obviously an homage to Obama's basketball skills rather than an indictment of Bogans, and the president returned the admiration by leading a chant of "M-V-P" for Rose.

"No, I think Keith didn't know I said it," Rose said with a laugh Friday morning. "So that's a good thing.

"It was a lot of fun just being there. He was telling us how much he likes the team and that he's happy for us. He said if we make to the Finals, he's going to be there. So if we make it, he'll definitely be there. I'll make sure I'll hold him to his word."

Joakim Noah also attended the fundraiser.

"It was unbelievable," Noah said. "I really respect the president. He's somebody who I really admire a lot, somebody from a lot of different cultures. Just being able to hear him speak like that in front of a thousand people is pretty incredible."

Rose often has stated his affection for Obama, who is a former Illinois state senator from Chicago and an ardent Bulls fan. The president invited the Bulls to the White House shortly after Obama took office in early 2009.

Rose and Noah were among a handful of NBA players invited to participate in a basketball game for troops at the White House last summer.

"It would be great to have a decent relationship with the president," Rose told ESPNChicago.com in December. "Especially somebody that's from [Chicago], and he's a good guy. It's not like I'm going to harass him or anything because that's not my character. But it would be cool to just hit up the president whenever you want to."

The Bulls open the playoffs on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers.

ESPNChicago.com columnist Jon Greenberg contributed to this story.