You can agree or disagree that President Barack Obama knows more than most people when it comes to foreign policies or national budgets and will probably be the first person alerted to a nuclear attack but— on a podcast recorded earlier this week —the country's number one basket fan said he he knew about about Jeremy Lin long before Linsanity struck.
In an interview with ESPN's Bill Simmons, the President told him he knew Lin would become a star.
"I knew about Jeremy before you did, or anyone else did, because Arne Duncan, my Secretary of Education, was captain of the Harvard team," Obama said. "And so way back when, Arne and I were playing and he said, 'I'm telling you, we've got this terrific guard named Jeremy Lin at Harvard.' And then one of my best friends, his son is a freshman at Harvard, and so when he went for a recruiting trip he saw Lin in action. So I've been on the Jeremy Lin bandwagon for a while."
Suddenly, Obama sounds less like the Leader of the Free World and more like Cliff— the know-it-all mailman— on "Cheers."
Duncan does know the game and was the MVP in last week's Celebrity Game at the NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando.
"What's interesting is the fact somehow folks were missing it in practice," said the Harvard-grad Obama about Lin. "It's a terrific story. He's seems like a wonderful young man. And, look, it elevates this great game all around the world."
The President also revealed that he, and former top-aide Reggie Love, a former-Duke player, used to pass notes to his daughter's basketball coach during games— until she finally let them run practice.
Call it bi-partisan coaching.
"You want them to win so bad," he said. "And when they run a play and it works— you're just ecstatic. And a couple of heartbreaking losses and you're just feeling terrible. But they're wonderful."
Kind of like The House and Senate voting on his health plan.
Obama said he is such a huge basketball fan, NBA League Pass is on his iPad.
The President also keeps his eye on college basketball. Obama's annual tradition of picking the NCAA brackets live on ESPN is anticipated almost as much as his State of the Union addresses— without all of the hand-clapping.
If the President falls short of being re-elected in 2012, he shouldn't sweat. I'm sure there will be a few NBA teams who could use a scout who was the first guy to spot Lin's talent.
VIDEO OF INTERVIEW