President Obama opens up about his role as middle school girls basketball’s First Coach

Everyone knows that President Barack Obama is an avid sports fan and big time pick up basketball player, at least whenever he can cobble out the time to hit the court. What most didn't know before is that he's also a basketball coach … or at least he is one day a week, when he works with a team that includes his youngest daughter, Sasha Obama.

In an interview with ESPN's Andy Katz, Obama spoke about his role coaching a group of 10 year olds from Washington (D.C.) Sidwell Friends School, a private institution which is attended by both Sasha and her older sister, 13-year-old Malia. Obama serves as a co-coach of Sasha's team, which is named the Vipers and includes Sasha and a number of her classmates at Sidwell Friends.

True to form for a dedicated coach, Obama stressed that his daughter and her teammates spend most of their time working on the fundamentals of the game.

"With these girls [practice focuses on] dribbling, passing, making sure that they're not practicing three-pointers since they can barely get the ball to the basket," Obama told Katz.

"Sasha, she's a little bit stubborn, so she might be practicing from [behind the three-point line]. I have to tell her, 'Just work on that shot from the block right there.'"

For President Obama, who has not missed a single Vipers game during the 2011-12 season (according to first lady Michele Obama), the reward has come in seeing the team continue to bond together as it plays through its third consecutive season as a cohesive unit.

President Barack Obama cheers from the sideline during a Vipers game — White House photo/Pete Souza
President Barack Obama cheers from the sideline during a Vipers game — White House photo/Pete Souza

"What was fun, this was basically the third year these girls have been playing together," Obama told Katz. "And to see them all develop, to pick each other up when something's not going well. You can't beat it. Go Vipers."

Well put for a President who says his daughters don't think his involvement in their extracurricular activities is anything out of the ordinary. After all, he's their Dad, and, "This is what Dads are supposed to do. They take it for granted."

As well they should, though they may eventually come to realize just how good at hoops their father once was, whether either Sasha or Malia continue to take up the sport.

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