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Basketball stars toast avid hoops fan Obama

Last updated on: February 24, 2012 11:17 IST

Basketball stars toast avid hoops fan Obama

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Basketball greats including Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning toasted U.S. President Barack Obama at a campaign fundraising dinner on Thursday that was served on a basketball court in Dallas Mavericks player Vince Carter's palatial home.

Obama said at the beginning of the meal that Carter had challenged him to a dunk contest on the far end of the full-sized indoor court. "I told him I didn't bring my sneakers, so, not tonight," he said.

A campaign official said 70 supporters paid $30,000 each to attend the event near Orlando. It was the third fundraiser Obama attended in Florida on Thursday as he seeks to solidify support in the swing-state pivotal for his November 6 re-election drive.


Image: President Barack Obama (right) is given a jersey from Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks
Photographs: Getty Images

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'Lin's story transcends the sport itself'

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Obama, an avid basketball fan, thanked National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern in his introductory remarks to the dinner for resolving last year's labor dispute.

"Thank you so much for settling the lockout, because I don't know what I would be doing with myself if I didn't at least have some basketball games around," the president said.

Earlier, at a fundraiser Miami, he joked he was "mad" and "resentful" that he could not stay for the evening's Miami Heat-New York Knicksgame. The first half of the game aired on Air Force One during his flight to Orlando.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said last week that Obama had talked about the fast rise of Knicks star Jeremy Lin during a Marine One helicopter ride. "It's just a great story and the president was saying as much," Carney said. "It's the kind of sports story that transcends the sport itself."


Image: US President Barack Obama shoots a basketball
Photographs: Getty Images

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