Former President Obama has a personal connection to both teams

By Eric Todisco
June 03, 2019 11:50 AM
Barack Obama 
Gregory Shamus/Getty

Judging by the crowd reaction, the true MVP of game two of the NBA Finals wasn’t even a player, but rather attendee Barack Obama.

The former president, 57, received a hero’s welcome upon attending the matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.

When the Jumbotron picked up Obama, the entire stadium erupted into celebration, chanting “MVP, MVP” and gave the former president a standing ovation.

An avid basketball fan, Obama sat beside NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and upon arrival, was greeted by Raptors megafan Drake, 32.

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SportsCenter shared a video on Twitter of the former president and the rapper shaking hands with one another, and all smiles in doing so.

When the Raptors failed to defeat the Stephen Curry-lead Warriors, Drake was less than pleased with the results, spotted looking frustrated while sitting on the sidelines as his team came up short, 109-104.

Obama, meanwhile, seemed to stay neutral — but did praise both teams in their performances.

“Both teams play like teams. So their superstars are unselfish and just want results,” he said, according to 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.”

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According to the outlet, Obama has a personal connection to both teams. He entered the arena alongside Raptors team president Masai Ujiri. A native of Nigeria who has directed the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Africa, Ujiri joined Obama in Kenya last year at a basketball-oriented event benefiting a foundation formed by the leader’s half sister.

On the Warriors side, Obama has had a friendship with Curry, 31 over the years, which has included golf outings and the two working together on charity events.

The former president spent the whole weekend in Canada, meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at an Ottawa brewery on Friday.

Although many were expecting Trudeau, 47, to arrive alongside Obama at the game, the Prime Minister opted not to make an appearance.

The NBA Finals move back to Oakland for games three and four as the two teams are tied at one win a piece, currently.

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