From LeBron James to Jay-Z, there have been plenty of celebrities in attendance at Duke games, but none of them are former presidents. Barack Obama is the latest notable figure to want to see what Zion mania is all about. ESPN’s Rece Davis reported Obama is expected to be in attendance when Duke takes on North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The former president is indeed in the building as the video below shows.
Obama has made no secret about his affinity for basketball. While Obama was president he filled out a March Madness bracket each year. There were regular pickup basketball games at the White House.
Obama won a state title at Hawaii’s Punahou School and went on to play college basketball at Occidental College, per the USA Today. Obama’s former coach Mike Zinn referred to the former president as a “slasher.”
“He was really athletic, ran good, jumped good,” Zinn noted to the Los Angeles Times. “He wasn’t a great outside shooter. In basketball terminology, he was kind of a slasher. He was left-handed. He went left well, didn’t go right that well. He had a nose for the ball, always came up with loose balls and rebounds inside. So if he got 10 points in a game, most of them were probably under the basket. He didn’t hit jump shots from 15 feet or anything like that. He was a good defender, definitely a good athlete.”
Here is a look at one of Obama’s high school basketball photos.
Obama eventually hung up his basketball jersey as he headed to Harvard Law School on his way to beginning his eventual career in politics.
Coach K Refused to Confirm Obama Would Attend the UNC-Duke Game
Duke head coach Mike Kryzewski refused to confirm that Obama was coming to the North Carolina-Duke game. Either Coach K was kept in the dark, or the Duke coach was playing coy with the media.
“I never know who is coming,” Krzyzewski said, per CBS Sports. “I try not to let that be what I’m thinking of. Look, anybody can show up here because it is a bucket list thing. It’s a bucket list just to come to a game in Cameron. But Duke and Carolina at Cameron is one of those great sporting events. So we can expect anything here.”
Obama spent the previous day with Warriors guard Steph Curry in Oakland at the My Brother’s Keeper forum for young men. After joking about Curry’s ankle problems early in his career, the conversation moved to more serious topics.
“We had to be able to say to (minority boys), ‘You matter, we care about you, we believe in you and we are going to make sure that you have the opportunities and chances to move forward just like everybody else,’” Obama said, per the San Francisco Chronicle.
Here is some footage of Obama playing basketball with the North Carolina team back in 2008.