Interview With Pat O'Brien, Mike Krzyzewski, and Quinn Buckner of CBS Sports
NCAA Basketball Championship
Mr. O'Brien. Good evening, Mr. President. How are you?
The President. Fine, Pat, how are you?
Mr. O'Brien. I'm fine. It sounds like you're having a nice time back there watching the game.
Your thoughts, sir, on the first half?
The President. I can't hear you, I'm sorry.
Mr. O'Brien. That's okay, that happens.
Your thoughts on the first half, sir?
The President. Well, I think that it's a—I'm glad we're just one point behind. We made a lot of unforced errors, and as you were saying, UCLA had very quick hands. They played great defense, and I'm looking forward to an exciting second half.
I think that our team and their team—it's a wonderful game so far. But you've got to give it to UCLA. They played great defense, and they got a lot of very good shots on offense. And I think that's why they're a point ahead.
Mr. O'Brien. I know you've tried to watch a few of Arkansas' games this season. Do you have any fingernails left? The games have been such nail-biters throughout the tournament.
The President. Yes, they always give us a lot of thrills. Basketball is exciting enough on its own, but they give us a little extra every game. We try to have a cardiologist at every watching party that we have. [Laughter]
Mr. Buckner. Mr. President, Quinn Buckner. Did you fill out your brackets this year?
The President. Did I what?
Mr. Buckner. Did you get a chance to fill out the brackets at the beginning of the tournament?
The President. No, I didn't, and I wish I had. But I would have been wrong on all accounts except I expected these two teams to be in the finals. Otherwise, there were a lot of surprises along the way.
Mr. O'Brien. Mr. President, we know you're very athletic and earlier this week, on Friday I think, you were in Haiti. And we have some film, a tape of you shooting buckets out there on the grass with some of our good troops down there. And there you put up a bank shot. I don't know if you called it or not. [Laughter]
The President. You've got to call that one. [Laughter]
Mr. O'Brien. Then you shot around at Arkansas State with Arthur Agee, from the documentary film "Hoop Dreams." And Mike Krzyzewski, who you rooted against last year, is going to go over your form on this. He's going to telestrate your form.
Mr. Krzyzewski. Well, if you don't mind——
The President. This is his chance to get even. [Laughter]
Mr. Krzyzewski. Mr. President, I'm sure you're accustomed to some criticism, so I'm going to critique you. [Laughter]
Here's Mr. President in the lane. He's not worried about 3 seconds. Good form. But he doesn't want to show that he's just an inside player; he goes outside. [Laughter]
And now he's in the outside. Watch that form. Take a look at his hand and the release. [Laughter]
Mr. O'Brien. Very good, Mr. President.
Mr. Krzyzewski. It's a very delicate release. And he puts it through.
Mr. O'Brien. What do you think, Mr. President?
Mr. Krzyzewski. That's not bad. What do you think?
The President. I think the feet were on the floor. [Laughter]
Mr. Krzyzewski. You know, quite honestly, sir, what did you take away from your visit with Arthur Agee today?
The President. Well, he's a remarkable young man, you know. And I—what I took away from it is, here's a young fellow that made up his mind he was going to make something of his life and try to live out his dream. He's committed to continuing his education until he gets his degree. He still wants to play pro basketball. But whatever happens to him, he's going to have a good life. And I hope that "Hoop Dreams" and I hope that Arthur Agee both serve as a kind of an inspiration to kids all across this country who are growing up in very hard circumstances. They can make it. They can be something. And I'm very grateful that he came down to Arkansas to go to college. He's a terrific young man, and I wish him well.
Mr. O'Brien. Mr. President, I know you're also very grateful that the baseball season will begin here at the end of April. I know you followed it very closely.
The President. You bet.
Mr. O'Brien. Would you like to throw out the first pitch at the end of April?
The President. I sure hope that I can do that. I'm looking forward to it. And I think it's going to be good for the country to get baseball back on track. I still hope they can get together and actually work out these differences. We don't need a cloud hanging over baseball for another whole season. And they ought to be able to do it. They're not that many people, and there's lots of money there. They can figure out how to divide it and give us the sport back.
President's Golf Game
Mr. O'Brien. Well, with the Masters coming up, Mr. President, I have to ask you, how many mulligans do you get when you play golf with your friends? [Laughter]
The President. Well, it depends, but I try not to take any anymore—maybe one off the first tee. [Laughter]
Mr. O'Brien. Okay, good for you. Good for you.
Mr. President, thank you. It's always a pleasure to talk hoops with you. Thank you for watching. We'll see you down the road.
The President. Thanks. Keep your fingers crossed. Bye-bye.
NOTE: The interview began at 8:34 p.m. The President spoke by satellite from Juanita's Restaurant in Little Rock, AR.
William J. Clinton, Interview With Pat O'Brien, Mike Krzyzewski, and Quinn Buckner of CBS Sports Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/221780