Obama envisions LeBron with Bulls

Updated: May 15, 2010, 9:12 AM ET
By Melissa Isaacson | ESPNChicago.com

Include President Obama as another Chicago Bulls fan rooting for LeBron James to move to Chicago.

"He doesn't want to tamper," senior adviser to the president -- and former Bulls season-ticket holder -- David Axelrod said. "But as a Chicago fan, the president thinks LeBron would look great in a Bulls uniform."

James, whose Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated from the playoffs Thursday by the Boston Celtics, becomes a free agent on July 1. Many believe he could be headed to the Bulls.

The president, a former U.S. senator from Illinois and state senator from Chicago, never has shied away from his sporting roots. He frequently wears his Chicago White Sox cap; has attended a Washington Wizards victory over the Bulls last season; and also hosted the Bulls on a tour of the White House.

And Obama just couldn't resist slipping in some trash talk when the Los Angeles Lakers visited the White House following their 2008-09 NBA title.

"I'm especially excited to meet Coach Phil Jackson, the 'Zen Master,'" Obama said. "I've been a fan of Coach Jackson's ever since his days running the triangle offense in Chicago. I want to congratulate him on his 10th NBA title, the most in history, but I do want to point out that six of them came with the Bulls."

Later, Obama playfully taunted Magic Johnson as he re-enacted Michael Jordan's "spectacular move" from Game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals when Jordan, in midair, switched the ball from right to left hand before laying it in.

"[The Lakers] won the first game, so they were feeling cocky ... [John] Paxson was hitting all those shots ..." Obama said.

Obama also filmed a video tribute to Johnny "Red" Kerr for the beloved Bulls announcer's retirement ceremony in February of 2009. Kerr, who died of cancer just 16 days later, cherished the moment.

"Back at the house, we had TiVo'd it and Dad was watching it smiling, watching the tribute from the president," said Johnny's son, Matt. "I said, 'Pretty cool,' and Dad looks at the TV and says, 'Thanks, O.'"

Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com.

Melissa Isaacson

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Melissa Isaacson is a columnist for espnW.com, ESPN Chicago and ESPN.com. The award-winning writer has covered Chicago sports for most of her 31-year career, including at the Chicago Tribune before joining ESPN in 2009. Isaacson has also covered tennis since 1986.