Being president of the United States of America must be pretty nice. There's the huge salary, free lodging, more suits than a Men's Wearhouse, a couple of jets, a summer home and an armored car that's almost the Batmobile, just to name a few of the many benefits. Throw out the incomprehensibly high stress, constant criticism and daily death threats and it's the perfect job. But the best part about being president is clearly the ability to command an audience with almost anyone in the world.
Barack Obama realizes that special power, and he took advantage of it over the weekend. The man loves him some basketball, so he called up a few of his friends to play a pick-up game for wounded war veterans. No biggie, just a few neighborhood guys coming over to hoop it up with the world's most powerful man. You might have heard of a few of them. From Michael D. Shear at the Washington Post:
Obama, who turned 49 on Wednesday, took to the court for a game with a stunning list of All-Stars, including Grant Hill(notes), Shane Battier(notes), Carmelo Anthony(notes), Chauncey Billups(notes), Derek Fisher(notes), LeBron James(notes), Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Maya Moore, Alonzo Mourning(notes), Chris Paul(notes), Derrick Rose(notes), Bill Russell, Etan Thomas(notes), Dwyane Wade(notes) and David West(notes). (Ed. note: And Joakim Noah(notes), apparently.) The game was closed to the media.
Kobe Bryant(notes) was there but didn't play, according to the White House, and aides provided no details about the game, which took place at Fort McNair in the District, where Obama often plays basketball with friends.
See, just a handful of the NBA's biggest stars, a few champions, and some of its most famous legends just hanging out and playing some hoops. Whatevs. Presidential stuff, duh.
But really, this is so, so awesome. I mean, you can disagree with the man's politics until you are blue — or red, I guess — in the face, but you must admit that having a basketball fan in the White House is good for the sport since it legitimizes these guys as being worthy to hang out with the president. Furthermore, any basketball fan put in the same situation would do the exact same thing. In fact, when I become president in 2020, I plan on doing this on the reg. I'm planning on having Brad Miller(notes) over to play H-O-R-S-E every day, just because I can. So many jumpers from the top of the key, you guys. So many.
Unfortunately, because the game was closed to the media, there are no highlights to be seen. We don't even really know for sure who played. However, there are a few things we know happened without a doubt — Chauncey Billups got very sweaty, Magic Johnson smiled and Obama wore track pants. Throw in Etan Thomas performing slam poetry and you have a pretty good idea of what went down behind those closed doors.