May 27th, 2010
12:43 PM ET
5 years ago

Coach K gets 'payback' from Obama

President Obama with Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.
President Obama with Duke men’s basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Washington (CNN) - As he welcomed Duke men's basketball team - the NCAA winners - to the White House, President Barack Obama preemptively made light of his pick for last year's tournament - Duke's arch-rival the University of North Carolina Tar Heels.

"Now, I know that all of you remember last year, when I filled out my bracket. I picked North Carolina to win it all. It wasn't anything personal. Just trying to win some money. I was right. Coach K wasn't too happy. He basically told me to stick it. Or stick to my day job, is what he said," referring to Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who was standing next to the president in the Rose Garden.

"And then, this year, he went out with all these guys and he won, so he could come to the White House and crow about it. Payback is sweet, isn't it, Coach? Congratulations on your fourth National Championship at Duke."

This year the president chose Kansas, Kansas State, Kentucky and Villanova to make the Final Four

One thing the two men have in common: some advice they have given to Reggie Love, who used to play for Duke and is now the president's assistant.

"Coach and I were both discussing - I play with Reggie now, and when Reggie was playing, Coach said, don't shoot. And when he's on my team, I say to Reggie, don't shoot. So things haven't changed that much. Go down in the post, rebound," the president said to a roar of laughter from the audience.

Obama also congratulated the team for its improbable win.

"It was, as everybody here knows, an incredible tournament from start to finish - one of the most exciting tournaments any of us have ever seen. The championship game against Butler - the most-watched championship game in more than 10 years - was everything fans hoped it would be. It came down to the final possession. And these guys hung in there and won it all," he said.

Mr. Obama received a Duke jersey and a souvenir copy of the tournament bracket showing the team's road to victory.

"Oh, look at this. That's nice! You know Reggie is going to make me hang this in the Oval Office. Take down Lincoln or something," the president joked.


Filed under: Basketball • President Obama
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. domincanmamaforuhbama

    You are lousy at your day job as well, uhbama.

    May 27, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Republicans is smart in the head area

    Cue idiotic right wing comments about Obama not doing enough about fill-in-the-blank and wasting time and tax payer money blah blah blah blah blah.

    May 27, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    The Cameron Crazies are in the building. LET'S GO DUKE. NEXT YEAR WE'RE GOING TO WIN IT ALL AGAIN.

    DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE DUKE

    May 27, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I love my President! Smart, down to earth, and personable in spite of all the crap that comes his way.

    Stay positive and strong President Obama. We're with you!

    May 27, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. ana

    allllrighty then.....

    May 27, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Angus McDugan

    America may stand a chance of being great again if we can keep Obama focused on basketball instead of matters of the presidency.

    May 27, 2010 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  7. ehwilson429

    Obama knows nothing about sports.
    he's an affirmative action man.

    May 27, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. Tim

    Obviously, Obama knows nothing about tar.

    May 27, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Dean

    Yea boy! I would rather gloat over my pick for selecting the winning team with their coach in the White House than worry about some old oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico.
    I hope you folks like the change Obama brought us.

    May 27, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. leaning right....

    he should just stick to stuff like this, these lil celebrity appearances he's so good at it. its just this running the country thing and a passion for patriotism he's lousy at. oh well I guess we all have our strengths and weaknesses.

    May 27, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Peggy - TX

    I can't help but just like President Obama. I followed him since he was running for the Senate and saw his potential at that time.

    He is sincere, honest and intellectually highly capable. I am Ok with the fact that he can be a bit arrogant, as he certainly has earned that right. His job is difficult in the best of circumstances, but even more so with the nutty-right wing political hacks always trying to bring him down.

    I suspect through, that this unrelenting unpatriotic anti-American effort to damage our President, will in fact, propel him in history to an even greater status as having successfully overcome such negative opposition.

    Also, the inability of the Republican Party to curtail such illegitimate antics is having the effect of eroding any residue of credibility that dying political party has.

    Keep up the good work, Mr. President.

    A whole bunch of us here in Texas love you and appreciate you.

    May 27, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  12. Wow

    Whoopee, real important stuff, while the gulf gets greasier.

    May 27, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  13. Edward

    I'm glad you have time for this crap, Hussein? Did you forget what got you in the big house? Why don't you start taking care of America? Your time is running out!

    May 27, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |