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He wore a dashiki and George W, the president’s son and a future occupant of the Oval Office, spoke slowly as if Hodges might not understand English. “Where are you from?” “Chicago Heights, Illinois,” Hodges answered, amused at the way in which W’s excitement at meeting the famous Bulls, which had him “bouncing around like a kid” at his father’s workplace, had disappeared into startled incomprehension. Phil Jackson, the Bulls’ coach, informed the president that Hodges was the Bulls’ best shooter. On a half-court set up on the South Lawn, Authentic Chandler Parsons Youth Jersey Hodges drained three-pointers from 24 feet. He hit nine in a row, his white dashiki swirling gently around him. As they left the court, Hodges told the president he had written him a personal letter. Did Bush reply to the letter? “He never did,” Hodges says, calmly. “I wonder sometimes if he got past page one. I wonder if he even read it? When I was researching my book I got in touch with the George Bush library to get the original copy. The lady there loved it. She was like: ‘Oh, this is a great letter. You actually gave this to the president?’ I said: ‘Yeah, and I got in lots of trouble for it.’” Hodges did not mind that his letter was leaked to the media in 1991. But it made him a marked man. He remained with the Bulls and, the following year, emulated Larry Bird by becoming the only other player in NBA history to win three successive three-point contests at the all-star weekend – showcasing his skill in sinking long-range shots. Hodges won $20,000, and asked his fellow Bulls to join him in each pooling a similar amount from their vast earnings to help local communities. His team-mates avoided the invitation, saying they would need to clear it with their agents. Authentic David Lee Youth Jersey Hodges was disappointed, because “I envisioned the Chicago Bulls making history in the most meaningful way. We also had a basketball player [Jordan] whose popularity exceeded that of the pope. If the Bulls spoke in a collective voice during the golden age of professional basketball, the world would listen.” In his absorbing book, Hodges stresses how he tried repeatedly to persuade Jordan to “break with Nike and go into the sneaker business for himself, with the aim of creating jobs in the black communities”. Jordan argued he was not in a position to take control while he was tainted by, allegedly, saying: “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” The veracity of that quote might be hazy, but Jordan, unlike Hodges, clearly avoided political engagement. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, such a force in the NBA in the 1970s and 80s, said Jordan chose “commerce over conscience”. On 29 April 1992, with the Bulls cruising through the play-offs, the Los Angeles riots broke out after the four LAPD officers were cleared of all charges resulting from their savage assault on King. That same day, Jordan scored 56 points against the Miami Heat. Asked to comment on the King verdict, Jordan said: “I need to know more about it.”

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