Delighted Obama raises cash with NBA celebrities

An avid basketball fan, the president also lamented missing Thursday night’s highly anticipated NBA matchup in South Florida between the Miami Heat and the New York Knicks — including the Knicks’ emerging superstar, Jeremy Lin. “I’m resentful I’m not going to the game tonight. I’m mad about that,” Obama joked. “It’s not right. It’s not fair.”

Reveling in his sporting element, President Barack Obama waded into the oversize embrace of some of the biggest names in professional basketball Thursday, raising money from current and former NBA greats and an intimate group of supporters drawn to this weekend’s All-Star game in nearby Orlando.

Obama indulged his NBA habit at the home of Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter where about 70 guests gathered for a $30,000-a-person fundraiser. Among those invited were former L.A. Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Mark Cuban, the Mavericks’ owner, and Obama embraced warmly as the president entered.

The group gathered in Carter’s gymnasium, with the scoreboard showing 2012 on the clock and the score tied at 44, Obama being the 44th president.

“It’s a nice gym,” Obama observed, understatedly. “Vince said he left the other side open in case I wanted to get in a dunk contest with him. I told him I didn’t bring my sneakers, so not tonight.”


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