The extra Secret Service members are in full attendance at the United Center, in anticipation of President Barack Obama’s attendance at the NBA’s season opener between the Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers.
No president in recent memory has attended the NBA’s tipoff game, but considering Obama’s diehard allegiance to his hometown Bulls and his being in town, it’s an easy hike to get down to the United Center tonight.
“He loves the game of basketball,” Cavs forward LeBron James said. “I think we all know that. It's an honor for me to be a part of a venue and a spectacle where the president would like to come and watch.”
It’s not James’ first time playing in front of the President, a huge NBA fan in general, but it’s the first time President Obama will see James play in Chicago. It hasn’t been revealed where President Obama will be sitting but while in Washington D.C., he usually has sat courtside as opposed to a suite.
“I played in front of him in DC, on the Olympic team we played Brazil here in America (in 2012) and he was able to grace that game,” James said. “He came into the locker room and things of that nature. It's great to represent the country and play the game that I love.”
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Cavaliers coach David Blatt said he can’t remember if he’s coached in front of President Obama before but considering he coached in Israel for a number of years, he felt it necessary to say this isn’t the first time he’s been in front of heads of state before.
“I've been in front of presidents in other parts of the world,” said Blatt, while acknowledging how ‘cool’ it is. “But of the United States, yes.”
Bulls coach Fred Hoiberg was a little more excited about the possibility, with his mind being squarely on his first official game as an NBA coach.
“Yes, very honored to see him. That’ll be cool,” Hoiberg said. “It’ll be great for our guys to see the President in the building.”
When someone mentioned to Hoiberg there would be a President, a “King” (James’ nickname) and a “Mayor” (Hoiberg’s nickname), he replied with an easygoing quip.
“I’m pretty low on the totem pole on that one,” he said.