Video: Barack Obama Explains How Gary Payton Made Michael Jordan Play Like Kobe

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2019

TORONTO, ONTARIO - JUNE 02:  NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and former President of the United States, Barack Obama look on prior to Game Two of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on June 02, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama was in Scotiabank Arena on Sunday night for Game 2 of the NBA Finals. As he explained after the game, it was his first time seeing the Finals in person since 1996:

USA TODAY Sports @usatodaysports

In the house for Game 2, former President Barack Obama discussed the last time he attended the #NBAFinals. https://t.co/SPtaEunel7

That series was famous for pitting Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Gary Payton against one another as the Chicago Bulls faced the Seattle SuperSonics. Chicago took it in six games, winning its fourth of six titles in the 1990s, but Obama praised Payton's effort against arguably the greatest of all time.

"Payton actually was one of those guys who could guard Jordan," he said. "You look at Michael's percentages in the Finals, he got the points, but he took a lot of [shots]. He looked more Kobe-esque."

Jordan averaged 27.3 points per game in the series but was held to 41.5 percent shooting from the field and 31.6 percent from three-point range. Considering he averaged 33.4 points per game in his playoff career, the defensive effort on him certainly deserves praise.

It was at least enough for Obama to take notice.

Perhaps in 20 years, a future president will get a chance to talk about the time they saw potential Hall of Famers Stephen Curry, Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green or Klay Thompson compete in Game 2.