Mentions and Quotes

This are a collection of media mentions and quotes that are 1) about Baller-in-Chief.com, 2) using the phrase “Baller-in-Chief”, 3) quoted interview comments and perspectives by Baller-in-Chief editor Claude Johnson, about President Barack Obama and basketball, or 4) quotes mentioning or about Baller-in-Chief editor Claude Johnson.

Wall Street Journal

“The fact that he isn’t playing [basketball]…is a metaphor for those people who think he’s gotten soft, backed off of his promises, sold out,” says Claude Johnson, Baller-in-Chief’s founder and owner of Black Fives Inc., a basketball merchandising firm in Greenwich, Conn. “When President Obama goes back to basketball, that will be a sign that we haven’t lost the original guy.”
The Wall Street Journal

Things Insular

“Baller-in-Chief.com is an essential resource for the sport of basketball as it relates to the 44th president. No matter how trivial, if it happens and it involves Obama and the word basketball, Baller-in-Chief is there.”
Martha’s Vineyard Gazette/Things Insular Blog

Sirius 98

“So, I would say he’s no slouch and obviously the term ‘Renaissance man’ is quite applicable here, and we now welcome him to the program, Claude how are you today?”
— Sirius Radio (“Under Score” with Sarah Meehan on Sirius 98)

Sirius 98

“When those films and clips and photos of him started coming out and he’s actually playing and he’s got a crossover and he’s got a move and he’s got a jumper then it made a lot of folks on both sides of the basketball ideal come to life.”
— Claude Johnson on Sirius Radio (“Under Score” with Sarah Meehan on Sirius 98)

Sirius 98

“He combined all those elements — the fundamentals as well as the showiness, as well as the streetball aspects of it, the grittiness of it — and I think that captured a lot of people’s imaginations, right there.”
— Claude Johnson on Sirius Radio (“Under Score” with Sarah Meehan on Sirius 98)

Sirius 98

“You see what Obama’s doing. He’s using basketball to network and have relationships and get to know people and then also know them off the court, and so that gave me inspiration for a whole ‘nother level of reasons to play. And so when he came out playing ball, it made me go to the gym and instead of just playing and afterward saying ‘See you later’ or not even talking to the guys you’re playing with — ’cause half the time you never saw them before and you’re never gonna see them again — now you say, ‘What do you do?’, “Where do you live?’, ‘What’s up with you?’, ‘What are you tryin’ to accomplish?’, ‘Where are you at?’ And that right there is camaraderie and it builds and it makes people wanna come back and have some kind of connection. So I think, yeah, it added a new element that people like us, our age or maybe even younger, had maybe never even thought of before.”
— Claude Johnson on Sirius Radio (“Under Score” with Sarah Meehan on Sirius 98)

Foreign Policy

“Hat tip: The indispensable Baller-in-Chief”

— Foreign Policy Magazine

Tweed/Ogilvy

“For those of you who are not yet convinced about President Obama’s ability to influence and his passion for basketball, there is a blog, Baller-in-Chief, that reports all the basketball happenings and interests of President Obama.”
— Tweed/Ogilvy Entertainment

Western Australia Today

“Golf has seen its day as the sport of choice amongst Washington’s power brokers, with anyone who is anyone in the American capital dusting off their college basketball skills in the hope of being invited to shoot hoops with the “Baller-in-Chief”, President Barack Obama.”
— Western Australia Today

ESPN

“There’s a blog devoted to his on-court exploits called Baller-in-Chief.”
— ESPN

ESPN

“The invites to play with the Baller-in-Chief have been scarce. Mostly friends and staff — the old Chicago crew.”
— ESPN

Bloomberg News

“Basketball is a game where you have to bump into other people,” said Claude Johnson, 49, whose blog “Baller-in- Chief.com” links to articles about the president and his love of the game. Johnson said reaction to the site has been “explosive.” Though an average player in high school, Obama had a solid longshot, earning him the nickname “Barry O- Bomber,” he said. Johnson said basketball has helped Obama connect to young people and has shaped his character.

“The world is analogous to a pick-up game of basketball,” Johnson said. “Since you never know whose side you’re going to be on the next time around, you’re not interested in destroying teammates.”
— Bloomberg News

NPR

“Claude, you started this website, Baller-in-Chief, a baller is someone who plays pickup basketball, you did some research and you say this is the first president to have such a strong interest in basketball, I’m gathering that that’s not the only thing that helped you identify with him, I mean there’s a lot that you have in common, you are also mixed race, your father is from the South Side of Chicago, your family lived out of the country for a while in Congo, tell us more about Obama through that filter of basketball and mixed race for you.”
— NPR (“Here and Now” with Robin Young)

NPR

“There’s a strong ability to identify and to find yourself on the basketball court because it’s colorblind, you become friends with folks that identify with you strictly based on your skills and abilities, so when I was growing up — and I’m sure this was the case for Barack Obama, and he’s pointed it out in his book — you have to make a choice sometimes of ‘am I black, am I white?’ To white people you’re not white enough, to black people you’re not black enough. It can get very confusing. So I think for me it’s always been a place and a way of creating a world for myself where I could fit in.”
— Claude Johnson on NPR (“Here and Now” with Robin Young)

Wall Street Journal

“Here you have a laced-up professional off the court — a ‘white’ persona — who throws behind-the-back passes and busts crossovers,” Claude Johnson, founder of the website Baller-in-Chief.com, tells Sports Illustrated’s Alexander Wolff.
— The Wall Street Journal

Sports Illustrated

“Ask whom he resembles, and an array of answers comes back. Claude Johnson, founder of the website Baller-in-Chief.com, sees the elegance and even temper of San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker.”
— Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated

“Here you have a laced-up professional off the court — a ‘white’ persona — who throws behind-the-back passes and busts crossovers,” says Johnson. “You’d think he’d have a basically stiff game, like Tim Duncan’s, but no, he’s showing up at a North Carolina practice or playing ball with [NBA guard Chris] Duhon. So the guy on the street says, ‘Whoa, he’s got a little game!’ It’s part of his appeal.”
— Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated

“If he’d been in organized ball, it’s very possible he’d have gotten the whole thing out of his system,” Johnson says. “He might say he’s better now than he ever was, but there’s pathos there. You’re still trying to prove you’re good enough to start on your high school team. In basketball you’re continually trying to prove yourself, and in pickup even more so, because there is no record. You can’t say, ‘Oh, I’m 19-1.’ It’s all on you.”
— Sports Illustrated

Sports Illustrated

“While working on the piece for this week’s SI about how basketball made Barack Obama who he is, I made sure to ask people I spoke with — from Obama’s high school coach back in Hawaii; to brother-in-law and Oregon State coach Craig Robinson; to pickup buddies in Chicago; to Baller-in-Chief.com webmaster Claude Johnson – who the 44th President of the United States most plays like.”
— Alexander Wolff, Sports Illustrated

“Obama will be ‘Baller-in-Chief.’ He will install a basketball court in the White House. He will resuscitate the visibility and cachet of the sport, inspiring a generation of kids to take up the game.”
— The Sporting News

Tom Joyner Morning Show

“I guess I want to one day be able to get a tour of the White House and look at their court or even maybe get a chance to play ball with Barack Obama. I think I’m the guy that made up that term ‘Baller-in-Chief’ because we were able to get the URL for it and now we have a website. I’m to try to not so much promote that as to just have that be a useful resource for people who want to see ‘Barack and basketball’ as an inspiration for them to go out and play ball or just be athletic.”
— Claude Johnson on The Tom Joyner Morning Show