Obama Gets Campaign Money from Pro Hoops Stars
WASHINGTON- President Obama’s fundraiser in Orlando Sunday night looked something like an NBA pickup game.
Vince Carter of the Dallas Mavericks hosted the event at the in-home gym in his Orlando mansion; the guests included such notable current and former players as Magic Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Chris Paul and Steve Smith.
Carter’s gym includes an electronic scoreboard on which the clock reads “20:12.” The home and guest scores read “44,” which is Obama’s presidential number.
“This is a nice gym,” Obama said to laughter. “Vince said that he left the other side open in case I wanted to get in a dunk contest with him. But I told him I didn’t bring my sneakers, so not tonight.”
The event showed that not only is Obama a big basketball fan, the sport has become a major source of political and financial support.
The guests, paying $30,000 each, also included NBA Commissioner David Stern and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who haven’t always gotten along but are apparently united in their support of Obama.
“Alonzo (Mourning) and Tracy have been there for me every time I’ve come to Florida,” Obama said. “I could not be more grateful for that. Magic (Johnson) and Cookie, wherever I go in California they’re there for us. Chris (Paul) is helping out on our Fitness Council and allowed me to cross over on him when we played during my birthday.
“He insists that he could have stolen the ball at any time,” Obama said. “But I’m going to still claim it.”
The Obama campaign had planned a basketball fundraiser last year, but it got canceled because of the NBA lockout.
Last night’s event came right before the NBA’s All-Star weekend.
Turning to Commissioner Stern, Obama said: “I just want to say … thank you so much for settling the lockout.
“Because I don’t know what I would be doing with myself if I didn’t at least have some basketball games around,” Obama said. “And obviously we’re looking forward to the All-Star game.”