Barack Obama thanks Celtics for Thibs

Updated: March 9, 2011, 10:00 PM ET
By Chris Forsberg | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Poor Boston Celtics. Members of the team got a rare chance to rub elbows with President Barack Obama on Tuesday night and all the leader of the free world wanted to talk about was Tom Thibodeau and the Chicago Bulls.

"He actually thanked us for giving him our guy," Celtics guard Ray Allen said of Thibodeau, Boston's top assistant for three seasons and the defensive architect of the 2008 title team. "He was like, 'How'd you guys let that guy go?' and it was like, 'That's just kind of how it works.'"

Members of the Celtics mingled with Obama on Tuesday night before a fundraiser at the Museum of Fine Arts. Asked what he told the president, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who shares Chicago roots with Obama, joked: "Stop cheering for Chicago all the time."

This wasn't the first confab between Rivers and Obama. Over the summer, Rivers famously sent a phone call from Obama to voice mail when the president called to congratulate him on Boston's title run that ended with a Game 7 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. The two later reconnected, but Obama still busted Rivers' chops Tuesday and Rivers pledged to answer all calls from the 202 area code.

Obama asked Rivers if he needed anything and Boston's helmsman kept his request simple.

"He asked if I needed anything, which, when the president asks you that, you could say a lot of things," said Rivers. "I just told him I'd like to secure a date to see him again. That'd be nice."

Safe to say, the president wouldn't mind obliging, but he's probably hoping to invite Thibodeau & Co. instead.

Chris Forsberg covers the Celtics for ESPNBoston.com.

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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