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Watch Barack Obama Dog On Michael Jordan For 'Space Jam,' Crying Jordan

By Stephen Gossett in News on Nov 23, 2016 3:55PM

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President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former NBA basketball player Michael Jordan Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2016, in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Among all the weighty changes that portend after Inauguration Day, we’re also gonna lose some small presidential pleasures when Barack Obama turns in his keys. One of those minor mercies has been Obama’s dry, well-timed, subtly biting sense of humor—and it was on note-perfect display on Tuesday as the president got some ace digs on a fellow Chicago icon during Tuesday’s Presidential Medal of Freedom Awards.

As he stood in front of the crowd of 21 award recipients—which included Tom Hanks, Ellen DeGeneres, physicist Dick Garwin, and Bruce Springsteen, among others—Obama tossed off this deliciously snarky nugget, reference to former Bulls legend Michael Jordan: “We’ve got innovators and artists. Public servants, rabble rousers, athletes, renowned character actors—like the guy from Space Jam.”

He flashed his golden observational-humor stuff again in introducing MJ, referencing the ubiquitous Crying Jordan. Jordan, he said, is “more than just the best player on the two greatest teams of all time — the Dream Team and the Chicago ’96 Bulls. He’s more than a logo, more than just an Internet meme. More than just a charitable donor or a business owner committed to diversity.”

Jordan, infamously apolitical for so much of his career, released a statement this past July in which he said he “can no longer stay silent” about racial tensions and violence.

He wrote in part:

"I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background," the former Bull said in the statement, "so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers - who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all - are respected and supported."

Obama of course made space for plenty of genuine praise on Tuesday, too. He added eloquently:

“There is a reason you call someone ‘the Michael Jordan of’—Michael Jordan of neurosurgery, or the Michael Jordan of rabbis, or the Michael Jordan of outrigger canoeing—and they know what you’re talking about. Because Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of greatness. He is the definition of somebody so good at what they do that everybody recognizes them. That’s pretty rare."

Still, yesterday reminded us most of how much we'll miss Obama's way with a joke. Well, mostly.