( 4UMF NEWS ) President Obama Balls With The Ballers:
President Obama swished and dished in the city Wednesday to net some serious dough at a trifecta of basketball-themed fund-raisers — but a gimpy knee was expected to keep him from playing above the rim.
Obama’s latest trip to the political ATM that is the Big Apple featured cash grabs — more like cash dunks — with NBA stars and a $20,000-per-person dinner co-hosted by the one-and-only Michael Jordan.
The “Obama Classic,” as the $3 million night at Lincoln Center was dubbed, included a $250 per-fan autograph signing and a $5,000-per-baller skills camp.
As Jordan introduced the 44th President at Alice Tully Hall, the NBA legend said their friendship goes back to Obama’s days in the Senate and games of one-on-one during his campaign. His Airness joked that they’re probably too old now for a game of 21.
Perhaps he was right.
The Jumpshooter-in-Chief participated in a private shootaround after dinner, but one of the President’s aides had earlier offered reporters a disclaimer: Obama’s been favoring his right knee recently.
The President said the spotlight was less bright when fund-raising with Jordan.
“It is very rare I come to an event where I’m like the fifth or sixth most interesting person,” Obama told a crowd that included NBA Commissioner David Stern. “Usually the folks want to take a picture with me, sit next to me, talk to me — that has not been the case at this event, and I completely understand.”
Knicks stars of past and present, like Walt (Clyde) Frazier and Bill Bradley, Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony, were there, as was the team’s coach Mike Woodson. So, too, were hoops heroes like Sheryl Swoopes, Alonzo Mourning, Kyrie Irving and others.
“This is my ‘Dream Team,’” the President said.
In his stump speech at the fund-raiser, Obama used a hoops metaphor to underscore his recent back-to-school push to emphasize his positions on education — a drive he’ll take to a handful of swing states in coming days.
He spoke of the need to provide young people with more loans and grants to attend college, so “kids that don’t have a 44-inch vertical, that they can inspire to things that we didn’t dream of.”
Obama also blew the whistle on Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, the GOP Senate candidate who has become a Republican pariah — and created a major distraction for Mitt Romney’s campaign — for his claim that pregnancy is rarely a concern in a “legitimate rape.”
“This is an individual who sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology but somehow missed science class!” Obama said of Akin. “But it is representative of a desire to go backwards instead of forwards and fight fights that we thought were settled 20 or 30 years ago.”