WASHINGTON -- President Bush is commander in chief, yet on
Wednesday he turned and saluted Emeka Okafor, the 6-foot-10-inch
former center for the University of Connecticut men's basketball
team. "Yes, sir," Bush exclaimed.
The president greeted Okafor, who is bound for the NBA, and
other members of NCAA winter championship teams at the White House.
Enthusiastic fans turned the East Room into a cheering hall for
Connecticut's men's and women's basketball teams, the University of
Minnesota's women's hockey team and the University of Denver's
men's hockey team.
"Maybe now is the moment that I should admit that I was born in
Connecticut," said Bush, who was born in New Haven.
Representatives from each team presented the president with a
jersey. Two were emblazoned with the No. 1. One had a "43"
because Bush is the 43rd president. The last one, presented by the
University of Minnesota, had "04" on the back, a reference to the
president's re-election campaign.
Bush also singled out a hockey player from the University of
Denver, Lukas Dora, a native of the Czech Republic.
"Where are you Lukas?" Bush asked, prompting the player to
"They tell me, he talks a lot on the ice," Bush said. "He's a
talkative guy. But he uses unique English to confuse the opponents.
Kind of sounds like the strategy I use at the press conferences."