January 25th, 2010
06:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: NBA coach is a 'Zen master'

President Obama greeted the Los Angeles Lakers at the White House Monday.

President Obama greeted the Los Angeles Lakers at the White House Monday.

Washington (CNN) – Can legendary NBA basketball coach Phil Jackson teach Congress a thing or two about teamwork? A certain basketball aficionado seems to think so.

At a White House event Monday, President Obama asked Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson for a little help on the teamwork front. He described Jackson, who coached the Lakers to the 2009 NBA championship, as the "Zen master."

"I was hoping that, coach, you were going to bring some books for Republicans and Democrats in Congress, maybe to get them to start playing like a team together," said Obama, an avid basketball player. "Coach is famous for passing out books and helping people get the job done."

Jackson is known for giving his players books to read before they travel for away games. Last week, as the Lakers prepared to spend eight games away from home, Jackson handed out Obama's "Dreams from My Father" and his own book "Sacred Hoops," among a handful of other titles to his players, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Filed under: Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Biased

    Small, practically not noteworthy and subtle – yet notice how he always makes it appear as "republicans" have to be named first as if they are the worst. Democrats will rush and say they are of course the worst, however it wasn't republicans who shut out democrats after the committee hearings, not the republicans who denied even any slight amendment that might have been a bipartisan effort, or republicans making deals with Landrieu, Nelson and the labor unions. So, it appears that Obama will or is intentionally missing anything out of Brown's win and will continue to forge ahead as if all his problems are because of republicans. Oh what hopes and dreams we had for him and how quickly they have gone up in a puff of smoke.

    January 25, 2010 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  2. Big Joe

    Here's a suggestion in getting them to work together, President Obama. Actually listen to the Republicans and don't ignore everyone of their suggestions by being partisan like you have been doing.

    January 25, 2010 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. Jeremiah

    Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the U.S.....seeking advice on working as a team from a NBA coach. Wow. When the pres starts seeking advice from a NBA coach, that means he is clueless as a leader.

    January 25, 2010 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. Jeremiah

    Does it seem like Obama is just more interested in meeting celebrities and sports stars then actually leading? So excited we have another winner in office.

    January 25, 2010 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Steph

    Even Phil Jackson can't help the Republicans learn to play well with the others in DC...the Republicans have said they want our country fail so they can be the next "great white hope".

    January 25, 2010 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. RCasson

    As a Los Angeles resident and Obama supporter, this is a great article to read.

    Thanks CNN.

    January 25, 2010 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  7. Beantown Bill

    Uhhh maybe he called him that because it's his known nickname in the NBA? Clearly whoever wrote this article doesn't watch basketball.

    January 25, 2010 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  8. scott winter haven

    Next book-"How to be a One Term President by Ramming Socialism Down the Throats of Americans".

    January 25, 2010 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  9. Albo58

    Now there is one thing we can say about this President: he HAS united a lot of us...in opposition to his flaccid diplomacy, massive tax & spend economics, and Cap & Trade madness!

    January 25, 2010 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  10. Bobby Jones

    Just to make it clear, Phil Jackson has long been known as the Zen Master, and it's not something that Obama himself coined, which is what I feel like the article title and content implies.

    January 25, 2010 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    this isn't a real story. phil jackson has been known as the "zen master" ever since he was a coach in chicago. obama was just a big enough fan to know that. it isn't a new nickname.

    January 25, 2010 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Sue

    So this is how OBOMBa handles the economy. Partying with his mates. He is useless, and does NOT work for the PEOPLE, just for his wanna be buddies.

    January 25, 2010 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Patriot

    President Obama has it all wrong! We don’t want hand outs. We want opportunity. The opportunity to grow and prosper. We need programs that support the hard working people that have made this country great. We need programs that help individuals start business and grow the economy. We need programs that support those of us willing to work hard educating ourselves to keep competitive in the global market. Get back to the core of this country. Hard work! Not hand outs! The present course will lead only to the demise of this once Great Country. Stop nurturing complacency!

    January 25, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Independents might be a better team than Republicans because they are young, educated and innovated. Republicans consist of a bunch of groucy old men who are still using the playbooks of yester years and don't want to move into the 21st Century.

    January 25, 2010 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  15. Michael from Ventura

    As a LAKERS fan and an OBAMA fan, this was a nice article away from all the hate, fear and smear-Hopefully the right won't go there on this one, but I have my doubts. If the President sneezes, they're all over it.

    January 25, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  16. Fitz in Texas

    It's been Obama and his team (Reid and Pelosi) up there in Washington that's prevented the Republicans and Democrats from playing like a team. No one to blame here on this one but Obama and his administration.

    January 25, 2010 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. all the news that's fit to omit

    And you Barry are just known as a ZEN DISASTER.

    Ya bary, we voted for Brown in Mass because we were mad at Bush and just love you.

    One and done and you can go "run some ball" all you want.

    January 25, 2010 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  18. RM

    What President Obama doesn't realize is that Coach Jackson teaches the Lakers how to play as a team in order to beat the opposition. Obama has forgotten that the Republicans are the opposition. He needs to learn how to play hardball and get his agenda through. He needs to work through his delusion about bi-partisanship. It's clear to anyone with eyes and ears that the Republicans are only interested in one thing: a return to power. They will obstruct anything Obama attempts to do. The sooner Obama understands this, the sooner he can consult Coach Phil on a meaningful strategy for getting the Democrats in Congress to work as a team, instead of bickering among themselves like the petty lobbyist clones that they appear to be.

    January 25, 2010 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. Larry S

    There is a big difference between Jackson and Obama . . . Jackson is a leader and Obama is only a talker.

    January 25, 2010 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. Joe

    CNN you do know EVERYONE calls Phil Jackson the Zen Master.

    January 25, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  21. Lisa Amols

    I feel that President Obama is staying focused on why he wanted to be President of our country, and continues to be creative and positive in his ideas and attitude. His solutions will not be quick fixes. He is trying to appeal to an idealistic American intellect that he hopes exists, even if the media and general public often come off as narrow minded and short-sighted. I continue to trust in and support his goals for our country and the Planet.

    January 25, 2010 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  22. MatthewDetroit

    Thats right Barack lets get you some help in sports....

    Lets make sure you pick your NCAA brackets correctly again....

    Cant run a country but sure can shoot the rock, play ball, shoot hoops, watch sports, be concerned about all the junk in the media but NOT spend the time worried or concerned about the country...

    Great President.... maybe we should give him a leave of absence and make sure he has time to pick his brackets...

    January 25, 2010 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. in AK

    obama ha been a president for a year and still doesn't know the word "teamwork"? so pathetic!

    January 25, 2010 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  24. DAVID

    wow.... obama informs us of something that has been known by basketball fans for years..... your a little late superstar....

    January 25, 2010 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  25. phoenix86

    A good coach fires even good players who don't contribute to teamwork. Does Obama now plan to force Pelosi, Reid, Rangle, Waxman, Kerry, and Murtha from their leadership posts, or is this just another empty speech?

    January 25, 2010 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |