President Obama says watching old Michael Jordan footage inspires him to be a better leader

Obama basketballChip Somodevilla/GettyPresident Barack Obama plays basketball with members of the NBA, WNBA, and Harlem Globetrotters at the White House’s 2011 Easter Egg Roll.

Sometimes when he’s working out in the White House gym, President Barack Obama will turn on the NBA Classics channel to get inspired by some of the finest athletic performances the court has ever seen.

As a Chicago Bulls fan, he’s particularly drawn to games featuring the greatest Bull of them all, Michael Jordan.

“[A] thing that you’re reminded of, watching those old Bulls games, is Jordan had some stinker games in the playoffs,” he tells Bill Simmons in a new “Man of the Year” interview for GQ. “But he would get that out of his mind, and then the next moment comes and he’s right there.”

“He could have a terrible game for the first three quarters and then suddenly go crazy the fourth. Or he might miss a free throw, and then the next play is he’s stealing the ball and hitting the game-winning shot.”

Obama is inspired by Jordan’s control over his emotions in these games. He tells Simmons that Jordan’s leadership style has inspired him when an event like the Ferguson shooting and its aftermath shake the country, or when he makes a political blunder that gets him rightfully criticised by fellow politicians and the media.

“Part of what I try to do — not at the level that Jordan did on the basketball court, but part of what you aspire to as president or any of these positions of leadership — is to try to figure out how to be in the moment, make the best decision you can, know that you’re going to get a bunch of them right, but a bunch of times you’re also not going to get it exactly the way you want it,” Obama explains.

You can read the full interview at GQ’s site.

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