Friday, July 12, 2024

Barack Obama sits courtside in Las Vegas as Team USA’s basketball team win in pre-Olympic send-off

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Team USA‘s Olympic basketball team faced some pressure before their sendoff later this month to Paris, as LeBron James and Co. hooped in front of Barack Obama in Las Vegas

On Wednesday, the 44th US President sat front row at T-Mobile Arena to watch some of the best NBA players in action during the Americans’ 86-72 win. He proudly rose pre-game with his hand on his heart for the National Anthem.

Obama, 62, also posed for a selfie with NCAA champion and South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley. 

‘If he isn’t the coolest man on earth… @BarackObama thank you for inspiration and leadership still,’ she wrote on X. 

‘Now please let us borrow @MichelleObama for just 4 short years! First Gentleman is a good look for you!’    

Barack Obama was in the house for Team USA’s exhibition game against Canada in Sin City

Obama with his hand on his chest for the National Anthem before Wednesday night's game at T-Mobile Arena

The Democrat with Staley - South Carolina's women's basketball coach - before the game

The 44th US President sported a relaxing fit courtside and great NCAA champ’ Dawn Staley

COOL AS ICE: Obama held a drink, unknown to be alcohol, at one point during the first half

COOL AS ICE: Obama held a drink, unknown to be alcohol, at one point during the first half 

LeBron James and Co. comfortably defeated their North American Rivals home soil, 86-72

LeBron James and Co. comfortably defeated their North American Rivals home soil, 86-72 

Obama, who sported a relaxed fit at the basketball game by wearing an untucked, white button-down shirt with light khakis and sneakers, was given a third-quarter ovation when he returned courtside from the halftime break. 

His visit to the USA men’s basketball team went viral on social media for resembling an iconic Key & Peele Sketch from 2014. In the Comedy Central skit, Jordan Peele plays Obama after a presidential address. While greeted by a line of onlookers, Obama formally shakes hands with anxious white fans, while giving hugs and multi-layered handshakes to black members of the audience.

On Wednesday night, the real-life Obama appeared to embody the skit, as a clip on X shows the former president giving casually snappy handshakes, paired with hugs, to Anthony Edwards, Steph Curry, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis. 

After greeting the players, Obama approached the coaching staff with firm and formal handshakes – as the Obama character did with none-black spectators in the skit. 

Obama also posed for a selfie with Staley on the sideline as fans went wild over the moment

Obama also posed for a selfie with Staley on the sideline as fans went wild over the moment

Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, looks on during the game at T-Mobile Arena

Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, looks on during the game at T-Mobile Arena

Devin Booker, of the Phoenix Suns, battles to keep the ball against Shai-Gilgeous Alexander

Devin Booker, of the Phoenix Suns, battles to keep the ball against Shai-Gilgeous Alexander

Joel Embiid drives to the basket against Canada's Kelly Olynyk and Lugentz Dort in the first half

Joel Embiid drives to the basket against Canada’s Kelly Olynyk and Lugentz Dort in the first half

The latter group included Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr.

Obama also sent a message to the players while proclaiming a new title for himself. 

‘It is true I am the Hooper-in-Chief,’ he opened his remarks. ‘I just want to come here to help sent off the soon-to-be gold medal winners. We invented this game and I don’t like it when we don’t win.’ 

The US will face Australia in another exhibition game on Monday before starting its potential journey to win gold with a first group stage game against Serbia on July 28th. 

The Americans will then face South Sudan in their second group game on July 31st before a third one against Puerto Rico on August 3rd. 

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