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Obama's Basketball Game Like Michael Jordan's, Says Scottie Pippen

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Barack Obama participated in his traditional Election Day pickup basketball game Tuesday with Scottie Pippen, who compared the President's game to Michael Jordan's. | AP

President Barack Obama is flying high. In the days after clinching the presidency, Obama's near-record support from Latino voters and reelection despite a still-sluggish economy have earned him comparisons to Bill Clinton and FDR.

But to Scottie Pippen, the president is reminiscent of a legendary figure from outside the world of politics. According to Pippen, Obama's like Mike.

As USA Today notes, the NBA Hall-of-Famer joined the president in a pickup basketball game that has become an Election Day ritual for the Obama camp. After the results were in, when pundits were assessing the effects of the women vote and higher-than-ever voter turnout, Pippen took the time to analyze Obama's game, which he said shows shades of Michael Jordan.

"He’s got a smooth game," Pippen told

Despite characterizing Obama as "not an overly aggressive player," Pippen said he was impressed with Obama's ability to penetrate defenses. “I thought the lanes opened up when Michael Jordan used to drive," Pippen said. "I used to be like, wow. But when I saw the President drive, I thought they were bringing the whole motorcade through the lane it was so wide.”

Pippen's characterization of Obama's ball skills were much more flattering than those offered by NBA Commissioner David Stern, who criticized the president's tendency toward his left side in an interview with Reuters in October.

"He's not as good as he thinks he is," Stern said at the time.

Stern's assessment is more in line with that of Tucker Max, who attended the University of Chicago and played in pickup games against Obama when he taught in the law school.

"He's not great, but he isn't just out there for show. He can play a little," Max wrote in a blog post for The Huffington Post. "I do remember that he had a good understanding of the game."

"I guess the thing that sticks out most about him is that he was always an adult. If there was some conflict on the court ... he was always a voice of calm and reason," Max continued. "He was an adult before he was a basketball player. He never got wrapped up in the outcome of the game, like some people who play as if its life or death. He tried hard, but never crossed the competitiveness line, he was always under control. I can't ever remember him rattled."

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