Today marks the final day of President Barack Obama’s presidency. As GQ noted in an excellent oral history, part of Obama’s legacy besides, you know, policy, is that he is the best basketball-playing president ever.
Obama loved basketball — watching it, following it and especially playing it.
GQ reported that Obama held regular pickup games with his staff and cabinet. He also played pickup with current and former NBA stars like Scottie Pippen, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, James Harden and Kevin Durant because what the hell is executive power if you’re not going to wield it to hoop with the best players on earth anyway?
There were dozens of juicy anecdotes from GQ’s oral history. One of my personal favorites was Obama blocking former Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar’s shot and what happened afterward.
“He stuffed me pretty good one time, and his photographer took a picture,” said Salazar, who served as Secretary of the Interior from 2009-13. “And then he photographed the picture and he sent it to me.”
That is delightfully disrespectful. Obama, who also reportedly told Knicks center Joakim Noah he had “the ugliest shot I’ve ever seen,” seemed to have a friendly competitive streak in him.
Read the rest of GQ’s oral history for more on that, the time Obama drilled a jumper on live TV to one of his adviser’s dismay and how an errant elbow once caused him to get 12 stitches.
You can check it out here.
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