We don’t often see presidents play basketball. They do, after all, have the most important job in the world. But if there was one thing former United States President Barack Obama did, it was get to know several prestigious basketball players who represented the country.
Obama made an effort during his tenure to bond with the likes of Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, Bill Russell, and Maya Moore. In 2010, Obama took advantage of his presidential power to organize a pickup game that not many people know about to this very day.
A secret get-together.
Obama hosted the pickup game in Fort McNair, Washington, just a few miles away from his previous home at the White House. The once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play with these NBA and WNBA legends mentioned above was a private event as the media members of the POTUS were only allowed to lurk in vans park outside of the basketball court.
The 44th president also made sure to take advantage of this moment. Obama requested all players to sign the game ball on the day, which was then auctioned for $99,000 at the Heritage Auctions’ winter sale last week. So yes, that game ball signed by Obama and players like Bryant, James, and Johnson was from a legit secret event that probably will never happen again.
“You’d be hard-pressed to find any sitting president who could set up an impromptu pickup game with Hall of Famers from multiple generations,” Rob Petrozzo, chief producer of the auction company Rally said.
“Our users really respect the greats, and each of the signatures on this ball individually represents some of the greatest to ever do it. Those signatures together, along with the stories about this legendary game and other on-the-court battles that went on during the Obama White House era make this asset one that will likely never be replicated.” Rally added.
A president like no other
One thing that separates Obama from his fellow U.S. presidents was that he was well-liked by many basketball players. This was important for basketball fans because it’s nice to know that Obama appreciated the sport and the NBA and WNBA players who continue to represent American basketball worldwide.
It makes sense why Obama would conduct events like this and make an effort to get together with these superstars. He was once a basketball player who played for his high school team at Punahou School in Hawaii. And until this very day, he continues to stay in touch with several players like James and Chris Paul, especially when it comes to addressing social injustice issues in the United States.