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File this one under, “Oops.” In a new profile for New York magazine, Barack Obama’s former chief strategist and fellow Chicagoan David Axelrod explains how a gift for the President’s 50th birthday backfired thanks to none other than iconic hoop star Michael Jordan.

A few years ago, when Obama turned 50, Axelrod thought up a perfect gift for his boss in the form of an autographed poster from the Chicago Bulls superstar. As a guy with political connections, Axelrod pulled some strings and got in touch with MJ to make it happen. When the gift came back though, there was a glaring mistake.

To Barrack: you still owe me dinner. Wishing you well, Michael Jordan.” That’s right, Michael Jordan misspelled Obama’s name.

“I gave it to the president, and he said, ‘I can’t put this up, he misspelled my name!’” Axelrod told the magazine. “So I said, ‘Fine, I’ll take it.’ ”

When the topic got brought up to Obama himself in a recent interview he took the high road while shrugging off the mistake.

“You know what, Michael will always have a place in my heart,” Obama said, according to Sporting News. “The joy that he gave all of Chicago. He’s actually an early supporter. I think I may have been the first publicly acknowledged contribution he made politically.

“He talks trash on the golf course, I understand even though he’s never played with me…He’s a pretty hyper-competitive guy. Obviously, somebody wasn’t giving him the proper spelling of my name. I’m going to forgive him for that because I have six [NBA] championship memories [with the 1990s Chicago Bulls] that will never go away.”

Meanwhile, it sounds as though Axelrod held onto one of the most unusually rare pieces of sports/presidential memorabilia we can think of.


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Obama ‘Pardons’ Michael Jordan For Spelling His Name Wrong Because He’s Jordan  was originally published on