In honor of the presidential inauguration this week, I was inspired to dig up this old Sports Illustrated article of President Clinton from their March 21, 1994 issue...shortly before Hogs made their glorious run through the NCAA's. (Note to people who hate politics: this will likely be our last presidential reference for awhile, unless Barack Obama decides to try out as a walk-on for the Razorbacks...which might actually be a good thing for us.)
For you youngsters reading this, it's hard to explain how mind-blowing this article was at the time. First of all, the notion of Arkansas' own Bill Clinton being leader of the free world was still a fairly novel concept. But more importantly, it was the Razorbacks' first time on the cover of SI since that epically awesome picture of Sidney Moncrief in 1978. Back in the dark days before the Internet, being on the front of SI was pretty much the biggest thing going in sports, so this was a sign that Nolan, Corliss, Scotty and crew had finally arrived in the eyes of the national media (although we all know they still weren't getting any respect).
The article itself is full of great little anecdotes, but here are a few of the high points:
* The sight of Bill Clinton, who was never afraid to pander to his audience to win votes, being direct and putting it all on the line with his Arkansas fandom (which just shows you where his priorities were - in a good way).
* The most powerful man in the free world gushing over having met Al Dillard. Of course, Boris Yeltsin and Tony Blair never hit 12 three-pointers in a game, so it starts to make more sense when you think about it in that context.
* Clinton gives some major props to Dwight Stewart, proving that his bball insight is extremely keen.
* Interesting fact: he was the first sitting president to attend a basketball game. Crazy!
The spring of 1994 was a heady time to be an Arkansan...definitely check out this article if you're looking for a fun little trip down memory lane.