Kobe Bryant has met Barack Obama enough times that when asked how many times he had met the president he had a hard time remembering exactly if it was four or five. Whatever, it was one more after Monday when the Lakers did the traditional “champions meet the president” thing in a nontraditional way at a community service event.
Kobe is comfortable with the Commander and Chief. And the president is a basketball fan comfortable enough to talk some trash back at Kobe, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles.
“Derrick Rose may have your number,” President Obama lightheartedly jabbed at Kobe Bryant as the team posed for a photograph after presenting the president with an autographed replica 2009-10 championship banner, like the one that hangs at Staples Center.
“I said, ‘If he calls that number, I’ll be sure to pick up after the fifth ring,'” Bryant quipped back — referring, naturally, to the five championship rings he has….
“I want to congratulate coach Phil Jackson on earning his 11th NBA championship ring,” President Obama said. “It was his fifth championship ring with the Lakers, which I should point out is still one behind the six he won with the Chicago Bulls.”
As the president stood on stage with the team behind him, he heard a voice interject, “Not for long.”
“Kobe said, ‘Not for long,'” the president said with a laugh.
Love that. Not many people talk smack to the president. With impunity. Although with a third quip there is the chance the Secret Service wrestles him to the ground.