WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama took a break from politics Friday to sit courtside at a basketball game between his hometown team Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards.
Obama’s been on a winning streak in politics, but that didn’t help his Bulls.
The president pumped his fist and grinned when the Bulls scored some of their points. But he was largely subdued, clapping politely, with his Chicago team losing for much of the game. Obama left the match early with about four minutes remaining — and his hometown team trailing about 17 points.
Though he has called himself a fan of the Bulls, Obama got a hearty welcome from Wizards fans when he arrived at the Verizon Center. Officials slightly delayed the game, waiting for his entrance. Once he entered, fans gave him a standing ovation and flashed their cameras.
Obama sat courtside across the court from the Wizards in seats that are usually taken by season ticket holders. White House senior adviser David Axelrod chose his seat in another section right before Obama entered.
Once the game was under way, Obama chatted much of the time with a Chicago friend, and shook hands with fans as they passed in front of him. He stayed in his courtside seat for most of the game, but he left with 47.8 seconds left in the first half to make a visit to Wizards owner Abe Pollin’s suite. Obama returned to his seat by the court in the second half.
Obama got up to leave with just under 4 1/2 minutes left, not staying to endure the 113-90 final score of the winning Wizards.
Obama had already welcomed the Bulls into town Thursday, when the team visited him at the White House and presented him with a jersey.