The 44th President of the United States -- and noted basketball fan -- was on hand for Game 2 of The Finals.
Barack Obama walked through a back hallway of the Scotiabank Arena about a half-hour before tip-off of the second game in the title series between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors.
He sat next to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver across the court from the Toronto bench, getting a loud ovation and "MVP! MVP!" chants when shown on the overhead video screen and introduced in the second quarter.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who wore a T-shirt before the game with a message to encouraging voting, says he wasn’t aware of Obama’s attendance until shortly before he arrived. The coach says Obama’s presence made him think of the Warriors’ first time visiting the White House after their championship in 2015.
Kerr says, “that was quite a thrill to visit there and have the whole team there. It’s a treat to experience that.”
Per multiple reports, Obama was in Ottawa on Friday to speak at an event organized by Canada 2020, a progressive think tank. He took the opportunity on Friday to praise the Raptors and the Warriors for their style of play.
“Both teams play like teams. So their superstars are unselfish and just want results,” Obama said, per The Washington Post. “Lesson Two is both teams draw from talent that is unexpected and international. … If you don’t know where the talent’s going to be, you have to give opportunity to everybody.”
Of course, no visit to a Raptors home game would be complete without some kind of interaction with the team's resident super fan/team ambassador, Drake. The two shared a moment before Game 2 of The Finals tipped off.
Obama 🤝 Drake pic.twitter.com/7fRvo6cdMQ— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 3, 2019
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.