WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama is joining NBA legend Michael Jordan and an array of basketball stars to raise money for his re-election campaign later this month.
The Obama campaign is planning a fundraising "shoot-around" and dinner in New York on Aug. 22 featuring several NBA stars, including Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, John Wall of the Washington Wizards and others. Jordan, who played for the Chicago Bulls, Obama's favorite NBA team, and NBA Commissioner David Stern are co-hosting a $20,000-per person fundraising dinner with the president later in the day.
Obama is a longtime basketball fan who regularly plays pickup games with friends and aides. His campaign held a fundraiser last February at the Orlando-area home of NBA player Vince Carter, who is also involved in the New York events.
The campaign is holding a "shoot-around" with players at New York's Chelsea Piers sports complex, including Anthony, Rondo, Wall, Paul Pierce, Kyrie Irving, Joe Johnson and former NBA centers Patrick Ewing and Alonzo Mourning. WNBA stars Sheryl Swoopes and Dawn Staley are also participating in the event, which will cost $5,000 for a parent and child or two people to have a "shoot-around skills session" with the players. A $250 donation provides an autograph session with the players.
Obama's campaign plans to raffle off the chance for grass-roots supporters to attend the events.
A similar "Obama Classic" basketball event planned for last December was postponed after team owners and players reached a labor deal following a lockout.