Barack Obama, notable basketball aficionado, will host the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday to honor their 2008-2009 NBA championship. The president has made room on his docket to entertain coach Phil Jackson, the team and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson in the Palm Room for the first NBA tour at the White House since Obama's inauguration.
"Regardless of who's in office and what your political affiliations are, it's still an honor to meet the person running the country, and it's something I'm definitely looking forward to," Lakers guard Derek Fisher told reporters last week.
The Lakers are not first-time guests at the White House. In 2002, they were invited to join President George W. Bush after winning three straight titles.
Obama made time to watch all of the NBA Finals last year, and even predicted the Lakers to beat Orlando in six games (although it only took them five). He already congratulated Jackson for his unprecedented 10th championship as a head coach, saying that he was excited to meet Jackson, who he has been a fan of since he coached the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s.
The admiration is clearly mutual. Jackson donated $2,300 to Obama's primary campaign in 2007, the maximum amount allowable under federal law. Other public Obama supporters in the 2008 campaign for office include Fisher, Luke Walton, Jordan Farmer and Kobe Bryant.
Knowing Obama's love for pick-up games or knowing that his daughters Malia and Sasha took to the court for some hoops practice on Sunday, maybe the Lakers will get in some practice at the White House courts before meeting the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night at the Verizon Center. Obama has challenged cabinet secretaries and congressmen to friendly games and famously played on the morning of Election Day. The first family even had Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James christen the new court.
Since taking office, Obama already has hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Phillies for their championship achievements.
Next to be penciled into the tight executive agenda … the New Orleans Saints or Indianapolis Colts?
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