Obama's Title in Jordan Film Gets a Laugh

But director has his reasons for labeling him 'former Chicago resident'
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2020 12:01 PM CDT
Obama's Title in Jordan Film Gets a Laugh
In this 2016 photo, President Obama laughs with Michael Jordan before presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

ESPN began airing its 10-part Michael Jordan documentary Sunday night, and one small moment from The Last Dance drew a bit of attention online. When Barack Obama appeared in the film, the chyron described him only as "Former Chicago Resident," notes People. Sites such as BuzzFeed and Vulture also took notice at the jokes in circulation, like this one: "my new goal in life is to meet the person who decided Barack Obama would be 'Former Chicago Resident,'" tweeted one viewer. It turns out that Obama wasn't the only former president to get that type of treatment: When Bill Clinton appeared, he was labeled only as "Former Arkansas Governor."

So what gives? Richard Deitsch of the Athletic reached out to director Jason Hehir, who explains that the labels were no accident. It's all about relevance. Obama's "organic connection" to Jordan is that he watched the NBA legend play when Obama lived in Chicago. (Years later, Obama would present Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.) As for Clinton, he appeared in the film to talk about Scottie Pippen, who played high school basketball in Arkansas. "If Bill Clinton says 'I was governor of Arkansas when Scottie Pippen was in high school and I saw [Scottie] play,' that's organic to the story and much more interesting." (More Barack Obama stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.