It remains to be seen if President Obama can win the big game in November, but he’s come up victorious this month in another arena — helping coach daughter Sasha’s youth basketball team, the Vipers, to a tournament title.
So said Obama on Monday night during halftime of the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament between Kentucky and Kansas. In a taped interview with CBS Sports analyst Clark Kellogg, Obama offered details of the coaching stint he held during weekends over the winter.
The president said he helped the head coach put the girls through practices.
“There was an end-of-the-season tournament they won — five games in a row,” Obama told Kellogg as they sat in folding chairs on the White House’s basketball court. “I can’t take too much credit for it. What you see is them progressively improving, coming together as a team, running plays, things kicking in that you practice. It’s a great, great joy to watch.”
Obama, who attended the first NCAA tournament game with British Prime Minister David Cameron three weeks ago in Dayton, Ohio, has been talking sports a lot lately. He appeared on ESPN host Bill Simmons’s podcast and talked with Kellogg at halftime of the game in Dayton.
Obama wasn’t at the game in New Orleans on Monday, but the president once again relished his chance to talk about something other than politics.
Coaching Sasha, Obama said, has brought him more joy than he ever felt playing the game himself. Perhaps mindful that he has enjoyed large advantages over his potential Republican presidential opponents among women voters, the 50-year-old Obama told Kellogg he was pleased to see “women’s sports and girls’ sports develop since you and I were kids.”
“I bleed when those girls play,” Obama said. Noting Kellogg has a daughter who played volleyball, he added: “You must have felt the same way.”
During the segment, Kellogg showed clips of Obama beating him in a game of “POTUS,” in which players trade shots until someone misses enough to spell out the acronym for “president of the United States.”
Kellogg asked for a rematch.
“As a general rule, I make sure I retire a champion,” Obama said with a wry grin. “I’m not going out like some of those folks who overstay their welcome. Maybe in my second term, when your knees are a little worse.”