Kevin Johnson, U.S. Conference of Mayors president, center, is flanked by Columbia, S.C., Mayor Stephen Benjamin, left, and Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter at the organization’s 83rd winter meeting Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Manuel Balce Ceneta The Associated Press
Kevin Johnson, U.S. Conference of Mayors president, center, is flanked by Columbia, S.C., Mayor Stephen Benjamin, left, and Philadelphia’s Michael Nutter at the organization’s 83rd winter meeting Wednesday in Washington, D.C. Manuel Balce Ceneta The Associated Press

City Beat

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City Beat

Kevin Johnson introduces Obama: ‘He’s hip, he’s a smooth president’

By Ryan Lillis

rlillis@sacbee.com

January 23, 2015 02:33 PM

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson was introduced before hundreds of games during his professional basketball career. But he said the introduction he made Friday was “the honor of a lifetime.”

Johnson introduced President Barack Obama at the winter meeting of the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, D.C. Before he made the introduction, Johnson mentioned Obama’s singing and comedy appearances, saying “he’s hip, he’s a smooth president.”

The mayor also noted that the president likes to “talk a little hoop (basketball) and maybe even play a little hoop.” As he introduced the president, Johnson held his phone up to a microphone and played the song the Chicago Bulls used during team introductions in the 1990s. Obama, a former Illinois senator, is a Bulls fan.

Johnson’s Phoenix Suns lost to the Bulls in the 1993 NBA Finals. Obama joked, “I would have thought that (song) would bring back bad memories for Kevin.”

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The president then had some nice things to say about Johnson, who is president of the Conference of Mayors.

“Kevin has that flair about him, as he did when he was a professional basketball player,” the president said. “He not surprisingly has brought that flair to his outstanding work in Sacramento, and we’re very, very proud of him.”

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at www.sacbee.com/citybeat.