Obama makes surprise appearance at NBA event


CHICAGO (AP) – Former President Barack Obama made an unannounced appearance Friday at an NBA Cares event during All-Star weekend in his hometown of Chicago with several of the league’s top rookies, second-year players and coaches.

The event was for volunteers to fill several backpacks with school supplies.

Zion Williamson, the New Orleans rookie and No. 1 pick in last year’s NBA draft, was impressed Obama kept up so closely with his stats.

“For him to have one of the most busy schedules, for him to keep up with all of us, hats off to him,” Williamson said.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for him, just knowing us, knowing our stats. He said ‘career-high 32,” he added.

Williamson had a career-high 32 points for New Orleans in a loss to Oklahoma City on Thursday night.

“Being able to stand next to him, talk to him, he basically knew everything about my game and my season, for him to know all that, it’s pretty cool,” said the Atlanta Hawks’ Trae Young.

Obama shook every hand, stopping to talk to the kids, players, coaches and staff in the room.

“There’s really nothing like it,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s a president, he’s a young president who is really beloved by all of America but in particular the NBA family. He’s so in-tune with our game and it was a great honor to meet him.”

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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