White House Defends Obama's 'Kobe Bryant' ISIS-Lakers Analogy

During the White House press briefing Friday, Press Secretary Josh Earnest defended President Obama for suggesting that the Islamic State was simply a “JV” that was trying to act like Kobe Bryant.

“There is no question that the Lakers uniforms that were worn – to draw out that analogy a little bit – that were worn by the Al-Qaeda leadership in Afghanistan have been decimated and defeated in Afghanistan,” he said, praising Obama’s leadership in the country.

Earnest defensively noted that many regional terrorist organizations were not a threat but hinted Obama now recognized the threat that groups like the Islamic State pose to the United States.

“There are of course a couple of other organizations that do pose a more substantial threat to the United States and our interests,” he explained.

In January, Obama used the Kobe Bryant analogy to suggest that ISIS was not a significant threat in an interview with The New Yorker.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think [it] is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama said in an interview with David Remnick. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

In his article, Remnick admitted that Obama's comment was "an uncharacteristically flip analogy."


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