Former campaign adviser and top aide for President Barack Obama and lifelong basketball fan David Axelrod filled in for David Aldridge on his “Morning Tip” column on Monday, sharing some inside info on the President and his love of basketball.
The Chicagoan tells of traveling to Utah to see Jordan in the 1997 NBA Finals in what became known as the “Flu Game,” talking Bill Russell into granting him a rare autograph, and the time he nearly broke Obama’s nose while playing pickup basketball.
It became a tradition in the primaries of 2008 to organize informal pickup games before televised debates. One day, in Philly, I raked Obama, who was effortlessly streaking past me, hard across the bridge of his nose, sending him sprawling to the floor.
For a moment, I had a horrible vision of the candidate that night on national TV, with black eyes and a broken nose, courtesy of his media consultant. I feared it might be a career-ending injury. For me! But after a few moments on the deck, the future President of the United States popped up unscarred, albeit with some less than flattering comments about my matador defense.
Axelrod also said he is cautiously optimistic about Fred Hoiberg’s first season on the bench for his beloved Bulls, saying the team may have enough for a title run in the 2015-16 season.