LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Noted basketball fan and former President Barack Obama attended Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers as a virtual fan.He was seated in the front row next to former Lakers stars Shaquille O’Neal and James Worthy.
The NBA brought out big names and former champions for its virtual crowd: Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Ray Allen, Robert Horry, Robert Parish, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce.
Obama is a well-known follower of college basketball and the NBA, and during the league’s All-Star Weekend in February in Chicago, Obama met with NBA players on at least two occasions – an NBA Cares event to assist City Year Chicago, which helps students develop the skills and mindsets to contribute to strong communities, and a “fireside chat” with NBA stars Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Love and Chris Paul.
The league has used virtual fans throughout its restart inside the bubble. Among the celebrity appearances, singer Halsey has been a virtual fan for the Lakers.