The ultimate goal of every NBA player should be to win as many championships as possible, but that hardly means one is superior to another because he’s won more titles. Basketball is a team game, after all, and the league’s best individual talent finishes a season without that collective crowning achievement more often than not. Just like Kobe Bryant’s legion of fans like to “Count The Rings!” to prove Mamba’s supremacy, though, President Barack Obama apparently does – or did? – the same to strengthen his basketball beliefs.
Reggie Love, a former Obama aide and 2001 NCAA National Champion with Duke University, recalls a running discourse between he and the President that began on the campaign trail in 2007. Below is an excerpt of Love’s new book, Power Forward: My Presidential Education, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:
I’ll never forget the night I got an email from the future president of the United States consisting only of Tony Parker’s stat line.
I typed an email back to Barack Obama: “Those are good numbers. But it was against a weak team.” Then I added Chris Paul’s stats…
It began with that back-and-forth during the 2007 NBA playoffs. Who was going to be right? The debate went on for years. After Paul, a Los Angeles Clippers guard, won the All-Star Game MVP in 2013, Obama reluctantly conceded, though Parker’s collection of four championship rings with the San Antonio Spurs may make the president’s case for him a little better than mine for Paul.
Paul has clearly usurped Parker in the point guard hierarchy in recent years despite the latter winning his fourth championship last June. And that process began in 2007 when a 21 year-old Paul, then with the New Orleans Hornets, nearly led his undermanned team to a playoff birth and did just that the subsequent year. For a time in the late 2000s and early 2010s, Paul was the undisputed top floor general in the game despite not having won a title.
He’s still without a championship in 2015, of course, but that doesn’t keep Paul from belonging in the “best point guard” debate. Like Obama eventually admitted to Love, CP3’s track record of brilliant statistics and string of playoff appearances pretty much speaks for itself. Even if he’s not the best player at his position anymore, Paul is still elite – lack of rings be damned.
But winning the big one matters more to some NBA followers than others, and it’s safe to say Obama is likely that type of fan. Given this clever quip during last month’s State of the Union Address, we shouldn’t exactly be surprised, either:
What do you think?
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