Sunday, July 14, 2024

Former President Barack Obama hugs Dawn Staley, says he’s proud of South Carolina coach

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South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley received a warm greeting from former President Barack Obama at the USA Basketball 50th anniversary reception on Tuesday night in Las Vegas.

In a video posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, Staley and Obama embraced, before Obama said “I’m so proud of you” and pointed to Staley, to which she replied, “I’m proud of you.”

In the second video, Staley tells Obama “we want Michelle for four years.”

On X, Staley captioned the post “If he isn’t the coolest man on earth ….. @BarackObama thank you for your inspiration and leadership still. Now please let us borrow @MichelleObama for just 4 short years! First Gentleman is a good look for you!”

Obama surprised the crowd and delivered a 10-minute speech about representing the country on the Olympic stage, mentioning how big of a basketball fan he is. Staley was among the many former Olympians, Hall of Famers and current Olympians in attendance. Cheryl Miller, Sheryl Swoopes, Maya Moore, Nancy Lieberman and Staley headlined the list of many successful women’s basketball players there to celebrate.

Staley played in three summer Olympic games, in 1996, 2000 and 2004. In March 2017 Staley was named coach of the USA Basketball women’s national team through the Tokyo Olympics, where she coached the United States to a seventh straight Olympic gold medal. Staley also was the 2018 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year.

Former Gamecocks star A’ja Wilson will represent South Carolina at the 2024 Olympics in Paris later this month on the USA women’s basketball team.

20/20 A’JA: Former South Carolina basketball star A’ja Wilson has first 20-20 game of WNBA career

Lulu Kesin covers South Carolina athletics for The Greenville News and the USA TODAY Network. Email her at and follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @Lulukesin

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