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US basketball stars give Obama's playing abilities thumbs up
Chicago | February 16, 2009 4:48:01 PM IST
 
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American basketball stars Steve Nash, Bill Russell and Chris Paul have given President Barack Obama full marks for his playing ability on court, saying his style reflects the same unstoppable confidence that got him to the White House.

"He's got plenty of swagger," Phoenix Suns star Steve Nash said Sunday after watching a clip of Obama playing on CNN's "State of the Union."

"That's that Harvard cool," added Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, referring to Obama's top-ranked law school alma mater.

The New York Daily News quoted superstar Chris Paul as saying it's only natural that the leader of the free world should show some flash on the hardwood.

"You're President - you've already got swag," said Paul, 23, who plays for the New Orleans Hornets.

Obama has been shooting hoops since he was a kid, and the game plays an important part in his life, pals say.

During the campaign, reporters often trailed Obama on trips to the gym and, even now, the commander in chief rarely goes a day without shooting a couple of baskets or dribbling a ball.

Spokesman Robert Gibbs says playing ball helps Obama exercise and relieve stress at the same time.

The NBA stars said they knew Obama played, but seemed surprised at his skill level.

Breaking down a frame-by-frame tape of Obama, Los Angeles Lakers icon Magic Johnson said he liked what he saw - and not just because Obama's the first black President.

"He's smart at the game," Johnson told "State of the Union" host John King, who taped his show in Phoenix, where the NBA held its All-Star Game last night.

"First thing up, he's passing ... always looking for the other man," Johnson said. Good pass there," Russell chimed in.

"He should continue to play. I know it is hard to do with all his responsibilities, but you can tell he loves it. ... We all see this passion for the game," said ," said Grant Hill, who also plays for the Phoenix Suns.

It looks like he won't be quitting anytime soon, as Obama played a game of hoops with his friends at the University of Chicago Sunday. (ANI)

 

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