Tom Thibodeau Has Influential Fans in the White House

President Obama likes the Bulls coach’s work, and Thibodeau’s hiring was prompted (in no small part) by strong recommendations from some political heavyweights. From the Sun-Times: “Though many observers are surprised at the quick success of rookie coach Tom Thibodeau, Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf was optimistic all along. It doesn’t hurt that Reinsdorf’s optimism was fueled by a glowing stamp of approval from President Obama and his closest team of White House advisers, who had long lobbied for Thibodeau’s hiring. ‘Tom Thibodeau was first recommended to me by [U.S. Secretary of Education] Arne Duncan,’ Reinsdorf said. ‘And that was two years earlier. The Celtics didn’t give us a chance to talk with him until after the playoffs, when they won the championship … When the job was open again, I talked to Duncan several times on the subject, and he still strongly recommended Thibodeau,’ Reins-dorf recalled. ‘So we hired him. Then in July 2010, the White Sox were playing in Washington, and we invited President Obama to come to the game. First, David Axelrod [then Obama’s senior adviser] arrived and said, ‘Thanks for hiring Thibodeau.’ Then a little while later, President Obama came in and the first thing he said to me was, ‘Great hire.’ Isn’t that a beautiful story?'”