President Obama Talks Jeremy Lin, NFL Concussions; Predicts Chicago Bulls Championship
While the Republican presidential hopefuls are slugging it out across the country in various primaries, President Obama is seemingly in relaxed mode. Relaxed enough to sit down with ESPN’s Bill Simmons and talk sports.
By now we all know the president to be a huge sports fan but Simmons goes in-depth with Obama and brought out a few interesting tidbits. As you already know, the New York Knick’s Jeremy Lin and President Obama are both Harvard alums. What you may not have known is that Obama was aware of Lin’s abilities well before the general public.
Asked about being the second most famous Harvard grad, Obama replied to Simmons “And I knew about Jeremy before you did, or everybody else did, because Arne Duncan, my Secretary of Education, was captain of the Harvard team. And so way back when, Arne and I were playing and he said, I’m telling you, we’ve got this terrific guard named Jeremy Lin at Harvard. And then one of my best friends, his son is a freshman at Harvard, and so when he went for a recruiting trip he saw Lin in action. So I’ve been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while.”
On how close he came to being involved in the talks between the NBA and the NBA Players Association to end the NBA lockout, Obama assured that he was confident both parties would work it out: “My whole theory — it’s the same way with the NFL lockout. If you’ve got billionaires on one side and millionaires on another, you guys can figure out how to divide some money up. And ultimately they did. And it was the right thing to do. And what’s been encouraging is to see how fast the sport has bounced back. And with Jeremy Lin and the Heat and all the unbelievable young players that are out here right now, I think this sport is as popular as it’s ever been.”
Simmons and Obama also spoke about concussions and former Chicago Bear Dave Duerson who committed suicide last year. His family is now suing the NFL. ”I actually knew Dave Duerson,” Obama said. “[I] used to see him at the gym sometimes, and [he] couldn’t have been a nicer guy. And when you think about the toll that NFL players are taking, it’s tough.
Now, the problem is, if you talk to NFL players, they’re going to tell you that that’s the risk I take; this is the game I play. And I don’t know whether you can make football, football if there’s not some pretty significant risk factors. Part of the problem is just the speed and the size of these guys now is — you watch the old tapes from the ’50s and the ’60s”
The entire podcast can be heard here.