Election Day tradition: Game of hoops
FILE/President Obama plays basketball with personal aide Reggie Love and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in May 2010.
November 6th, 2012
05:25 PM ET

Election Day tradition: Game of hoops

In keeping with an Election Day tradition, President Obama took time out of his day to get in a game of hoops at a gym near his home in Chicago. The game, organized by the president's former personal aide Reggie Love, took place at the Attack Athletic facility about ten miles from the Obamas' house in the Kenwood neighborhood.

Among the players, former Chicago Bulls Scottie Pipen and Randy Brown and former Illinois state treasurer and 2010 Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias. Giannoulias gave few details over Twitter of the game and later talked to a reporter in the president's travel pool.

According to Giannoulias, Obama was the player-coach of his team of five and his team won by "like 20", with a score of "like 102, 105, 108 or so to 80-something." Each team had substitutes and referees were present to call fouls.

“It was a lot of fun,” Giannoulias said. “We won. I scored more points than Scottie Pippen, which was my dream come true.”

He also said the president "played very well" but declined to say how many points he scored.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Obama friend Marty Nesbitt, the president's brother-in-law Craig Robinson and White House chef Sam Kass were also among the players.

The tradition of playing basketball on Election Day has been a staple of the president's routine since the Iowa caucuses in 2008. He didn't play on the day of the New Hampshire primary and Hillary Clinton won so he's made it a priority of playing on every Election Day since.


Topics: 2012 Election • Arne Duncan • Basketball • Reggie Love
Obama camp taps NBA, NFL stars
October 8th, 2012
06:11 PM ET

Obama camp taps NBA, NFL stars

Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama's campaign is tapping into some athletic star power in three new web videos meant to encourage sports fans to register to vote for the president.

In the latest video, titled "The Greatest" and posted Monday, basketball legends speak directly to the camera against a black backdrop and talk about the definition of "greatness."


Obama and the Lynx
September 18th, 2012
02:07 PM ET

Obama and the Lynx

WHITE HOUSE (CNN) – President Obama welcomed WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx to the White House to celebrate their championship season.

The Lynx started the 2011 season being one of the worst team in the WNBA but they went on to win the title by beating the Atlanta Dream last October.

“This team has come a long way to get here. Just two years ago, the Lynx had the worst record in the WNBA. I’m just saying. But they didn’t let it get them down. They got to work,” the president said.

Among the players present at the East Room ceremony were rookie star Maya Moore, veterans Rebekkah Brunson and Lindsay Whalen. Seimone Augustus, the Finals MVP after averaging nearly 25 points a game, presented President Obama with a Lynx jersey with his name on it.

The president told the team that he admired the team for all their accomplishments but mainly for being good role models for his daughters.

“You don’t see them on Sports Center doing stupid stuff. They play the game the right way. They compete fiercely, but they’re good, great sportswomen,” Obama said. “And so they’re just wonderful examples for my daughters and my niece, and for so many parents I think we all feel really, really great about what the WNBA has accomplished, but what this team in particular has accomplished.”

Topics: Basketball • Women
Presidential 'shoot around' at Obama Classic to raise $3 million
August 22nd, 2012
04:11 PM ET

Presidential 'shoot around' at Obama Classic to raise $3 million

President Obama heads to New York City on Wednesday night to participate in the long-awaited Obama Classic,  a basketball fundraiser with current and former NBA and WNBA stars. Originally scheduled during the 2011 NBA lockout when basketball fans had nowhere to see their favorite players play, the event was canceled after the lockout was resolved and rescheduled for this summer.

As part of the event, the Obama campaign raffled off a dinner with President Obama hosted by basketball legend Michael Jordan. The two will be joined by other participants in the evening's basketball game including Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Kyrie Irving, and Alonzo Mourning. Including the winners of the campaign's fundraising raffle, approximately 120 people will attend the dinner and tickets cost $20,000 per person. After the dinner the president will join in what the campaign is calling a "casual" shoot around with some of the players.

Earlier in the day there will be two separate fundraising events with some of the players that will not include the president. The first is an autograph signing where approximately 400 people paid $250 for a chance to meet some basketball legends, and the second is a skills camp where about 100 people paid $5,000 per couple to get lessons from professional ball players.

All told the campaign is expecting to raise close to $3 million.

Topics: 2012 Election • Basketball • Campaign • Fundraising • President Obama
New 'Obama Classic' fundraising contest: Play with NBA stars, dine with Michael Jordan
President Barack Obama jokes with Chicago Bulls players Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. The President played basketball with friends, college and professional basketball players, before an audience that included wounded warriors and White House mentees at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., August 8, 2010.
August 7th, 2012
03:57 PM ET

New 'Obama Classic' fundraising contest: Play with NBA stars, dine with Michael Jordan

After losing the monthly fundraising battle in July for the third straight month, the Obama campaign is rolling out a new money-raising gimmick to encourage its supporters to pony up donations.

In an email sent out on Tuesday, Obama for America announced that future donors to the president’s reelection campaign will be automatically entered into a lottery for the chance to play basketball with current and former NBA and WNBA stars at the rescheduled Obama Classic. The winner will also get a dinner with President Obama and NBA legend Michael Jordan.

Originally organized during the 2011 NBA lockout, the Obama Classic was an exhibition game scheduled for last December at a time when basketball fans had nowhere else to turn to watch their favorite players. When the lockout was resolved at the end of November, NBC stars and Obama Classic organizers Vince Carter, Baron Davis and Chris Paul sent out an email announcing that the game was being postponed until summer 2012. FULL POST

A kiss is just a kiss
July 17th, 2012
01:23 PM ET

A kiss is just a kiss

Do you ever wish you had a chance to do something over? Well last night at the USA men's basketball ball game against Brazil President Obama got that chance.

During the first half of the game the Obamas were featured in the arena's "Kiss Cam" but they didn't kiss. The crowd, unhappy that they had been cheated out of a first couple smooch, booed their dissatisfaction.

The president had the chance to make it right when near the end of the game the "Kiss Cam" came back to the couple. This time, with daughter Malia egging them on, the president and first lady gave the crowd what they wanted, a big ole kiss.

Topics: Basketball • Michelle Obama • Olympics
POTUS honors Tennessee's Pat Summitt
University of Tennesee women's basketball Coach Pat Summitt will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
April 19th, 2012
03:16 PM ET

POTUS honors Tennessee's Pat Summitt

Calling her an "inspiration" President Barack Obama Thursday announced former University of Tennesee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. The honor comes just a day after Summitt announced she would step down as coach to Tennesee's Lady Vols and eight months after revealing her diagnosis with early-onset Alzheimer's.

"Coach Summitt is an inspiration – both as the all-time winningest NCAA coach, and as someone who is willing to speak so openly and courageously about her battle with Alzheimer's. Pat's gift has always been her ability to push those around her to new heights, and over the last 38 years, her unique approach has resulted in both unparalleled success on the court and unrivaled loyalty from those who know her and those whose lives she has touched. Pat's coaching career may be over, but I'm confident that her work is far from finished. I look forward to awarding her this honor," the president said in a statement announcing Coach Summitt's recognition.

Coach Summitt took her Lady Vols to eight national championships and 1,098 wins–the most in major-college basketball history.

The Presidential Medal of freedom is presented to individuals "who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors," according to a White House statement.

Coach Summitt's work off the basketball court, on behalf of Alzheimer's patients through the Pat Summitt Foundation, was also recognized in Thursday's White House announcement.

Other recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom will be announced in the coming weeks according to the White House. A ceremony honoring them will take place sometime later this year at the White House.

Topics: Basketball • President Obama • The Buzz
POTUS congratulates the Wildcats
April 3rd, 2012
06:08 PM ET

POTUS congratulates the Wildcats

He may have not picked Kentucky to win the Big Dance, but he did call Kentucky Coach John Calipari to congratulate the Wildcats on their 2012 NCAA championship last night. According to a readout of the call released by the White House, the president said "it was a great game to watch" and was impressed by the team's class and dignity.

He also spoke with the Final Four MVP Anthony Davis, who like the president is a native of Chicago. Davis scored only six points but he had 16 rebounds and 6 blocks in last night's 67-59 victory over the University of Kansas.

The president had the UNC Tarheels beating Kentucky in his March Madness brackets. UNC lost to number 2 seed Kansas last weekend. This is the eighth national championship for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

The Wildcats will make an appearance at the White House some time in the next several months.

Topics: Basketball • NCAA
Obama's teaching moment – bracketology
President Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron watch the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers take on the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils in the first round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament ,
March 14th, 2012
10:43 AM ET

Obama's teaching moment – bracketology

Finally...the president's NCAA bracket has been revealed!   Mr. Obama has North Carolina, Kentucky, Ohio State and Missouri in the Final Four.

As part of the kick off to March Madness, the president and British Prime Minister David Cameron attended a first round game in Dayton on Tuesday night.  On Wednesday morning, they were still talking hoops at the official welcoming ceremony for the prime minister at the White House.

"The storied relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom is steeped in tradition and last night as president I shared with the Prime Minister a uniquely American tradition of bracketology.  March Madness," said Mr. Obama.  "He has learned to appreciate one of our great national pastimes.  His team has told me he has decided to install a hoop at Ten Downing Street."

The prime minister responded with thanks "for the lesson last night."  He added, "I will leave America with some new words:  ally oops, brackets, fast breaks.  And who knows?  Maybe that hoop will be installed in Downing Street after all."

Topics: Basketball • President Obama
A Maverick moment
January 9th, 2012
02:33 PM ET

A Maverick moment

President Obama celebrated his favorite sport today when he hosted the Dallas Mavericks in an East Room ceremony.

Due to the shortened NBA season, the team wasn't scheduled to be in Washington to play the Wizards so they made a special trip to DC to see the president.

The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Miami Heat last June, taking four out of six games in the finals,  to win the NBA Championship. It was only their second title in franchise history.

"This is a special group. Last season they called themselves the Bad News Bears because from the very beginning nobody gave them much of a chance. People said that Jason Kidd was too old, and I will say that this is the first time I've been with some world champions who are my contemporaries," the President said.

Jason Kidd is 38 years old compared to the president, who is 50.

President Obama also predicted that next year the Chicago Bulls would be the guests of honor. "I told them that, you know, it's too bad that next year it'll be the Chicago Bulls here, but they said I shouldn't be so confident."

All but one member of the Mavericks were present. Guard Delonte West told reporters after the Mavericks victory on Saturday night that he was being "banned from the White House." West had a high-profile arrest with a weapons charge in 2009.

"I'm going home to D.C., I'm just not allowed to go to the White House," West said. "That's what happens when you make bad decisions in your life. You can't go to the White House."

United States Secret Service spokesman Max Milien says that West was never denied access to the White House. In fact, his name was on the list with the rest of the team  members to be at the White House. "I'm not sure who advised him to not come, but it was certainly not the Secret Service," Milien told CNN.

Topics: Basketball • President Obama • The Buzz