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News » Obama watches Wizards beat Bulls


Obama watches Wizards beat Bulls


Obama watches Wizards beat Bulls
WASHINGTON (AP) - Caron Butler implored the officials not to start the game until a certain special spectator reached his front-row seat.

Obama watches hoops


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"We weren't aggressive. We took poor shots. We were out of sync," Chicago coach Vinny Del Negro said.

The Wizards, meanwhile, were having a great ol' time.

"Clearly, having the president here, having the buzz from the crowd, it all kind of led into a good feeling," Washington interim coach Ed Tapscott said. "And you feed on that."

Butler pumped his fist in Obama's direction after one 3-polinter by teammate Nick Young. JaVale McGee rose high above the rim to slam in Butler's alley-oop pass, then raised his hand to his forehead and saluted Obama.

"We were thinking about it before the game — something to do — and I just came up with that," McGee said.

When Obama got up to leave with just under 4 1/2 minutes left, Washington was ahead 103-86. Seconds later, Butler's 3-pointer made it a 20-point margin.

Obama applauded politely for both teams, and slapped high-fives a couple of times with a rather enthusiastic fan who was wearing a T-shirt with the commander-in-chief's likeness and sitting a couple of rows behind him.

While the president wasn't exactly leaping out of his seat to pump his fists for the Bulls or argue any calls with the referees, everyone knew which team had his support.

"We all know that he's from Chicago. That's the only reason why he's here tonight. I have no problem with that," Jamison said. "You can't convert him overnight. Eventually - he's here for four or eight years - we can be his second-favorite team."

The president left his courtside seat with 47.8 seconds left in the first half to make a visit to Wizards owner Abe Pollin's suite. Obama returned to his seat by the court in the second half.

Thanks to the president's connection to Chicago, the Bulls spent some time at the White House on this visit to Washington - a perk usually reserved for championship teams - and even were given something of a pep talk by Obama.

Obama, the first president at a Wizards game since Bill Clinton on Jan. 19, 2000, is a tried-and-true fan of the sport who plays pickup games regularly. His brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is the men's basketball coach at Oregon State.

Tapscott sounded pleased to finally have a basketball enthusiast at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

"It's terrific for us that he'll be the 'First Fan' of the NBA," Tapscott said with a wide grin. "If I can get him to help us recruit free agents, that'd be terrific. I better check to see if there are any rules against that."

Notes: The Bulls spent about three hours visiting the White House on Thursday, including a 15-minute visit with Obama. "He actually knew who a couple of us were. A couple of us - me being one of the couple," Bulls G Lindsey Hunter said. ... A pregame moment of silence was observed in memory of former Bulls player Norm Van Lier and former Bulls coach Johnny "Red" Kerr, who both died Thursday.


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: February 28, 2009

 

 
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