Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s love affair with hoops has been more than documented.
This college basketball season, President Obama has been spotted sitting courtside at a Duke game where he watched superstar forward, Zion Williamson play against the North Carolina Tar Heels.
During Obama’s presidency, he’s checked out a few Washington Wizards games, as well.
The former Senator from the state of Illinois has also been graced the seats at the house that Michael Jordan built, the United Center in Chicago where he checked out the beloved Chicago Bulls.
Hoops is his thing.
CBS Sports analyst, Clark Kellogg, a former standout at Ohio State, who played three seasons in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers played against Obama in a game of HORSE at the White House during a live broadcast before the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
“One of the great thrills I’ve had through basketball,” Kellogg told me.
“To have the opportunity to play against the first African American president in our country and a genuine man and basketball fan. It’s one of the greatest highlights of my journey.”
Obama got the win in the game of HORSE. “I let up,” Kellogg told Fred Ennette of the Unnecessary Roughness Podcast last year.
“I didn’t take it easy, but I started fast, pumped my brakes and then he got the momentum and took advantage of that.”
“There are a few basketball friends right now that still, whenever they see me bring that up and they look at me with disdain and they ask me how did you let that happen,” joked Kellogg.
“And I tell them: ‘You know what? I didn’t let it happen. He earned it and it made for good television and it made for even better television that he won and not me.’”
Clark Kellogg tells me that Obama’s gift is his basketball mind.
For those keeping score at home, Obama is not just a hoops fan.
As per The Postgame’s Jeffrey Eisenband, in the late 1970s, Obama played on both the J.V. and varsity teams at Hawaii’s Punahou School, eventually winning a state championship in 1979.
“He’s clearly a fan and understands the game because he plays it,” Kellogg told me.
“So that comes across immediately. Game knows game. When you have a common ground in an expertise you can tell he was comfortable on the court and talking trash when he got it going.”
During Obama’s presidency, many sports teams have also relished in the opportunity to visit the White House after winning a championship.
The former President loves the game, but here’s the million dollar question: Who does he play like?
“He was really athletic, ran good, jumped good,” former Occidental College head men’s basketball coach, Mike Zinn told the Los Angeles Times in 2008.
Obama went to Occidental for two years before transferring.
“He wasn’t a great outside shooter,” said Zinn.
“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.”
Times have changed. Guess what? 44 now has range!
“I only saw him shoot,” Clark Kellogg told me.
“I hadn’t ever really seen him play other than clips. A smooth left handed stroke with confidence. A great guy to have on your pickup squad, will bring value and hit clutch shots.”