Barack Obama Turns Presidency Into One Big Sports Analogy

President Barack Obama GQ Magazine cover, December 2015 issue (Photo: GQ Magazine)

Barack Obama Turns Presidency Into One Big Sports Analogy

POTUS gets real with Bill Simmons for GQ.

Published November 17, 2015

Barack Obama is the world's most famous sports fan, so you can bet that when he sits down to chat with Bill Simmons, sports will dominate the conversation. 

The former Grantland writer (who recently moved over to HBO) interviewed the president for GQ, covering a range of topics from the bureaucracy of the White House to what he's learned from his daughters about social media. Throughout much of the conversation, Obama used their common language of sports to explain what it's like to be the most powerful — and yet sometimes the most hand-tied — man on Earth.

Obama compares his temperament to football star Aaron Rodgers "in the sense of you can’t be distracted by what’s around you, you’ve got to be looking downfield," he says. "And I think that’s a quality that I have — not getting flustered in what’s around me." 

And rather than read the Art of War to cultivate strategies to deal with Congress, he watches classic NBA games and compares his seven years as president to Michael Jordan in the playoffs. "He could have a terrible game for the first three quarters and then suddenly go crazy the fourth. Or he might miss a free throw, and then the next play is he’s stealing the ball and hitting the game-winning shot," he explains. "Part of what you aspire to as president ... is to try to figure out how to be in the moment, make the best decision you can."

Other revealing tidbits from the interview: Obama shares whose calls he would take if he was on a date night with Michelle Obama, what he thinks are the worst few days of his presidency and why he's building a digital team in the White House.

Read the full story here and watch Obama in his element at the White House Correspondents' Dinner below:

Written by Evelyn Diaz


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