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Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Pippen sees MJ, Obama similarity

ESPNChicago.com

Chicago Bulls Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen said when he saw President Obama drive the lane during his traditional Election Day pick-up game Tuesday, it reminded Pippen of another former high-profile teammate.

Pippen I thought the lanes opened up when Michael Jordan used to drive. ... But when I saw the president drive, I thought they were bringing the whole motorcade through the lane it was so wide.

-- Scottie Pippen
to Bulls.com

"I thought the lanes opened up when Michael Jordan used to drive," Pippen told Bulls.com with a laugh. "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."

Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, the brother of Michelle Obama, said no defender in the game wanted to leave a mark that would be noticed later when President Obama addressed millions of people after winning the election against Mitt Romney.

"He used to get his nose in there and try to get to the rim, but I think in preparation for whatever was supposed to take place last night, he didn't want to have a big, fat lip walking up to the mic," Robinson said on "The Waddle & Silvy Show" on ESPN 1000.

Robinson said he helped his brother-in-law coach the "Pippen-President" team, which blew out its opponent.

Pippen remembers offering advice when he first met the president.

"He said it was a pleasure to meet me and that he had heard good things about me from (a mutual friend)," Pippen told Bulls.com. "I told him, 'Thank you, and I wish you well tonight. But if you want to be a winner this afternoon, you better play with me.' "

President Obama, a longtime Bulls fan, heeded the advice.

"We kind of blew them out," Pippen told Bulls.com. "It should have been worse, but we started messing around at the end. The game was close for a while, but in the third quarter, we opened it up. They tried to get back in it in the fourth, but we kept expanding the lead. It was a good game, fun and competitive."

As far as President Obama's game, Pippen noticed the lack of aggressiveness.

"He's not an overly aggressive player, but he takes what the defense gives him," Pippen said. "He's got a smooth game. He probably used to be a little more aggressive, but obviously, he doesn't want to get hurt."

Robinson said the day wasn't all fun and games.

"It started off extremely stressful," he said. "You couldn't even barely enjoy the pick-up basketball game. You couldn't enjoy a meal you had all day long, and as the returns started coming in it got more stressful, because it started off and it looked like it was going to be a really long night.

"And then as the returns came in and voters started expressing their wishes, it got better and better. I thought we were going to be in for a very long night, and it turned out we were only about 15-20 minutes longer than the first time four years ago."

Chicago is President Obama's adopted hometown, and he was a former state senator from the south side of the city.

Not that anyone needed the advice, but Robinson made sure everyone knew where to get the ball.

"It's what you tell everyone else: Give the ball to Scottie Pippen," Robinson said. "And by the way, Scottie was fantastic. He was just a wonderful person. It was the first time I got a chance to really spend some time with him. And you know, he was just like Scottie Pippen of old. Our team played better because Scottie made sure every single person on our team got open looks and we ended up winning by 20."

The game consisted of five-man teams playing four, 12-minute quarters. Former Bulls guard Randy Brown and education secretary Arne Duncan, who played basketball at Harvard, also played in the game at Hope Athletic Center in Chicago.