First Person Account of the Obama Sports Classic
It's the week after I participated in the Obama Sports Classic fundraiser and I am still on a high. That day - August 22nd, 2012 - definitely goes on my Top 5 Life Experiences list.
We met at the Grand Hyatt hotel in the Regency Room to check in, receive a gift bag and film a Pro-Obama campaign ad. After the athletes filmed their segments, we all boarded a bus headed to Chelsea Piers where Obama supporters paid up to $5,000 to participate in a Fantasy Clinic followed by an autograph session.
Now, paying $5,000 for a basketball clinic may have made some of you squint or even say "WHAT," but check out the roster: Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Patrick Ewing, Penny Hardaway, Kym Hampton, Juwan Howard, Sheryl Swoops, Kyrie Irving, Alonzo Mourning, Vince Carter, Dawn Staley, Etan Thomas, John Wall, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Steve Smith, Allison Feaster, Austin Rivers, Chandler Parsons, Nick Collison, Dahntay Jones, Brandon Knight and Harrison Barnes....WOW!!!
The bus took us back to the hotel to shower and change for a reception and dinner with the President. This $20,000 per person dinner was held at the Lincoln Center and was hosted by the NBA Commissioner David Stern and NBA All-time great Michael Jordan. After we dined, the President gave a very entertaining address, sprinkled with several basketball analogies. When he finished, he graciously took an individual photo with each one us. (I will post mine when it arrives from the White House)
We all got back on the bus and traveled to an event space at the Jazz at Lincoln Center. This was the private shoot-around with the President and fifteen "BALLER SUPPORTERS". I was told these individuals paid $75,000 each, to participate. We were broken into six teams and the President was on team #1. His jumper was off last night and his team scored the least amount of points in the contest. Team #2 (Carmelo Anthony's team) took it all, and yes, MELO delivered!
Melo challenged President Obama to a rematch and because my stroke was on, I played on the President's team!!! We fell short by three baskets because Melo and his team were on fire. It was a lot of fun but I must admit, the highlight of it all was getting high fives, hugs and a couple of "cordial" kisses on the cheek, from the President...I'm screaming!!!
As I look back over the day, I would have paid for those experiences (if I had it like that) and all of the athletes were genuinely engaged. We all took photos, signed every autograph and engaged in conversation. We even played some defense, blocked some shots, and had to burst a few bubbles...so stay in your lane!