We have long been fascinated by President Obama's obsession with playing pickup basketball -- and what his game is really like.
So, when Dan Patrick, former "SportsCenter" anchor and host of the eponymous (and terrific) radio show, asked Kobe who Obama's game reminded him of, we were intrigued. (The full clip is at the bottom of this post.)
Bryant first went with a left-handed version of former Nugget Michael Adams - once ranked #4 in a list of the "Greatest Short NBA Players of All Time." "Man, ugly shot, but he could score," Patrick said of Adams.
Bryant then thew out another player --- Nate "Tiny" Archibald, who at 6' 1'' and 160 lbs. was not exactly a giant in the NBA either. Archibald did, however, lead the league in scoring and assists in the 1972-73 season. "I’m sure the president leads the White House games," Bryant said.
What do Adams and Archibald have in common? They were good scorers, hard workers and, well, short. They're not superstars like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird or, well, Kobe. Or giants like Dikembe Mutombo or Wilt Chamberlain.
Obama himself has drawn comparisons between his game and that of Tiny Archibald. As our colleague David Maraniss wrote in 2012, Obama modeled his game after Archibald. "As a teenager growing up in Hawaii, he dreamed the big hoops dream," Maraniss wrote. "He had posters of the soaring Dr. J on his bedroom wall. A lefty, he practiced the spin moves of Tiny Archibald."
Bryant was on Patrick's show as part of the White House's press to get basketball fans to sign up for health care during March Madness. Bryant said he got a call from White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough asking him to help out.
Bryant also gave Obama another compliment -- sort of -- when Patrick asked if Obama could make his team, the Lakers. "Yes," said Bryant, who said he was driving down the 405 freeway in Los Angeles and would otherwise be listening to "Magna Carta" by Jay-Z. "It's more of a sign of respect of the skill that the president possesses."
Bryant told Ellen DeGeneres in 2012 that Obama "talks a lot of trash" on the basketball court. Obama and Bryant playfully tussled at a Boys and Girls Club in Washington when Obama, a die-hard Bulls fan, told Bryant that Bulls point guard Derek Rose might have Bryant's number. “If he calls that number, I’ll be sure to pick up after the fifth ring," Bryant told Obama.