Blood is thicker than “Thibs.”
Former President Barack Obama, a noted fan of Tom Thibodeau when he coached Obama’s hometown Bulls, made the Knicks into a punch line this week.
Obama’s Knicks’ jab clearly was a reaction to the club’s treatment of his brother-in-law and former Knicks executive, Craig Robinson, who appears prominently in the former president’s new memoir.
While appearing on the “Desus & Mero” show, Obama mentioned he had seen the clip of the hosts fumbling around awkwardly on the court with Sen. Cory Booker.
“Let me just say that I saw some of the footage of y’all with Booker,” Obama says in an early clip of the show that will air Sunday. “I’m just saying, here’s the good news: Looks like y’all could play for the Knicks.”
It was an undisputable dig at the woebegone franchise and a little surprising considering Obama’s past allegiance to Thibodeau, its new coach.
“Obviously he’s a great president, a big Bulls fan, and so I’ve always enjoyed him,’’ Thibodeau said when asked by The Post if he was surprised at Obama’s crack. “I thought he did a great job as president and we’re going to have to work on making him a Knicks fan, that’s all. All our players in the league have great respect for him. So we’re going to work on getting him to shift from being a Bulls fan to being a Knicks fan.”
Robinson, the Knicks’ former player development director, left the franchise in August to take on the position of director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches after seeing the writing on the wall in the Leon Rose administration.
The Knicks, according to sources, weren’t high on Robinson’s performance after he was hired by his former Princeton teammate, Steve Mills, whom the Knicks fired in February.
The knock on Robinson was the former Oregon State coach’s on-court approach wasn’t hands-on enough with the young players. Robinson tried to develop them through taking the young guys out to dinner on the road and making them feel part of a family.
The Post has reported Robinson and GM Scott Perry disagreed strongly over how to use the G-League to develop their young prospects.
Robinson was in favor of sending players such as Dennis Smith Jr. Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox to the G-League for extra playing time. Perry thought it best they remained with the big club.
Obviously, Obama, a noted basketball aficionado, sided with Michelle Obama’s brother.
Thibodeau, though, didn’t seem to be taking the dig personally.
“We can’t worry about what other people think,’’ Thibodeau said. “The important thing for us is to focus on what we can control, what we think, how hard we play, how smart we play, how together we play. We have great fan support. I was here when it was great. I grew up as a kid and the Knicks were great. I know what that’s like.
“I think when a team wins the fans enjoy it. So we have to give the fans something to be proud of. That’s what we’re striving towards.”