Friday, November 5
Excerpts from Clinton on The Dan Patrick Show
 
 November 5, 1999

Here are excerpts from President Clinton on ESPN Radio's The Dan Patrick Show appearance on Nov. 4, 1999.

Q (Dan Patrick): What are you doing with all those jerseys that you get when teams come to the White House?

THE PRESIDENT: Believe it or not, I save them all because I'm such a big sports fan. And when I get out of here, I'm going to put them all together and decide whether to either display them or take turns wearing them. But I actually save them all.

Q: Have you put one on in the White House and maybe tossed a football or played basketball in them?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, I shot a few baskets with a Kentucky jersey they gave me.

Q: Now, what's the one event you would want to go to that you haven't been to, sporting-wise?

THE PRESIDENT: I'd like to go to a Super Bowl, and I'd like to go to a college championship, now that the new football system is in.

Q: You haven't been to the Super Bowl?

THE PRESIDENT: Never. I've watched a lot of them, but I've never been to one.

Q: You know what? You can come with ESPN this year; it's in Atlanta. I'd be more than happy . . .

THE PRESIDENT: I've never been. You know, I have seen some great events. I went to the NCAA championship game in '94 (Arkansas played), and that's the only time I've ever been to that. And then I saw the women's World Cup finals this year when we beat China with the overtime, with the kickoff at the end, which was stunning. It was one of the most exciting athletic events I've ever seen in my life.

Q: Have I said anything stupid on SportsCenter that maybe you wanted to criticize or critique me? Because you can. You get critiqued all the time- feel free, you can take a shot at me.

THE PRESIDENT: No, I don't think so. I think as long as I'm in office, I should be criticized, but not return the favor. (Laughter.) Everybody in America gets to criticize the President; that's part of the privilege of being a citizen.

Q: Set the scene in the White House when you're watching SportsCenter.

THE PRESIDENT: When I'm watching it?

Q: Yes, like where are you and . . .

THE PRESIDENT: Oh, all right. Well, I watch it all the time, you know. I'm either in the kitchen, where Hillary and I and Chelsea, when she's home, we have our meals in a very informal atmosphere in the kitchen when there's no one else there, or I'm upstairs in what's called a solarium, it's up on the third floor, and it's a big kind of sunny room. And I watch TV there at night, especially when my brother-in-law or someone else is staying with us. Normally, I'm watching SportsCenter either around dinnertime when I come in, or late at night when I come in from an event and I'm sitting and visiting with other people.

Q: Who is the number one athlete of all time, in your mind? The SportsCentury countdown of the top 50 athletes-who would you vote for, number one?

THE PRESIDENT: Ooh.

Q: Now, I know you released kind of a top ten-maybe it was a top five-but if you were going to single out one athlete, who would it be?

THE PRESIDENT: I believe the athlete in the 20th century that made the most important contribution was Jesse Owens, because he won the multiple Olympic gold medals in the face of Nazi Germany and against Hitler's racial theory. So I think he was both a great athlete who had to show an extraordinary amount of personal courage, and he did something that was of profound significance at the time. I think the most talented-physically talented athlete that I ever saw play, I think it would be a toss-up for me between Michael Jordan and Willie Mays.

Q: See, it's hard to go wrong. Once you get up to that stratosphere, that if you pick out somebody and-I always thought Jackie Robinson, to me, signifies greatness as an athlete and what he overcame.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Well, let me say, if you asked me who I thought made the greatest contribution to baseball, I'd have to say Jackie Robinson because he broke the color line and because he did it in a way-because he was a great player who was also a great human being. There's almost no way to go wrong here, but if you asked me who I think was the most-had the most stunning athletic attributes in my lifetime, I'd have to say Jordan and Mays are the ones that I've physically witnessed. If you ask me -- and I think Jackie Robinson, what he did was important. But I guess I would have to say the reason I picked Jesse Owens is because he did it up against Hitler.