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Obama's Presence at Verizon Center Creates Quite a Stir

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By Ivan Carter
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 28, 2009

The presence of President Obama at last night's game against the Chicago Bulls threw some extra buzz into the crowd at Verizon Center. It's no secret that Obama loves his basketball -- he played in high school and still regularly plays in pickup games -- so it could be argued that he's the first president to be a die-hard fan of the sport, something that is not lost on Wizards interim coach Ed Tapscott.

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"I think it's terrific for the NBA," Tapscott said. "He's a big fan obviously. He has basketball in his family (Oregon State Coach Craig Robinson is Michelle Obama's brother). He's the first fan of the NBA. . . . I doubt that this will be the last time he comes to a game."

Obama also earned cool points for watching the game from a courtside seat rather than a luxury box. The game's tip-off was slightly delayed as he entered the arena from a corner tunnel before taking a seat directly across from the Wizards' bench.

He waved as the crowd gave him an ovation and chatted casually throughout the game with the fans sitting on either side of him, but also paid close attention to the action on the court.

Obama is from Hawaii and became a Bulls fan while living in Chicago, but none of the Wizards said they had a problem with that.

When asked whether he planned on talking a little trash to Obama for his Bulls allegiance, forward Antawn Jamison vigorously shook his head to indicate no.

"Nah, I'm not going to trash talk the president," Jamison said. "He can do whatever he wants. Maybe we can gradually win him over to our side."

Up Next: Saturday at Milwaukee 8:30 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980

Monday vs. Atlanta 7 p.m. Comcast SportsNet, WTEM-980


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