Barack Obama Goes Viral After Wearing 44-Themed Merch To The Duke-UNC Game

Former President of the United States, Barack Obama, watches on during the game between the North Carolina Tar Heels and Duke Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor Stadium on February 20, 2019 in Durham, North Carolina.
Streeter Lecka / Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama showed up to the Duke vs. University of North Carolina basketball game Wednesday night, where he was received in celebrity style. An ESPN Twitter clip shows the former president arriving at Cameron Indoor Stadium in Durham, North Carolina, as the public stretched out their arms to touch Obama’s hands, who worked the crowds while smiling, waving, and shaking hands.

This isn’t why he is going viral, though. Obama made his grand appearance while wearing a black Rag & Bone bomber jacket with the number “44” embroidered on the left sleeve, as GQ is reporting. While speculation of Obama possibly attending the game did circulate on social media for a couple of days ahead of the event, it was definitely his choice of attire that set off a firestorm on Twitter shortly after his arrival.

Marcus Wainwright founder and chief brand officer at Rag & Bone was attending an ice skating event at his kids’ school Wednesday, completely oblivious to the fact the former president of the United States was wearing something he made, the GQ report continued. He woke up today to a slew of messages on his phone.

“Fun to wake up to that,” he told the magazine, adding that Obama “looked pretty f****** cool.”

According to The Hill, social media immediately noticed the former president’s black bomber jacket and its accompanying number “44” stitched on its sleeve in white lettering, a number that, of course, references Obama’s standing as the nation’s 44th president. Some users have even dubbed the bomber jacket the “O-bomber,” the report pointed out.

As GQ reported, anyone can purchase a similar bomber jacket for $595 on Rag & Bones’ website and theoretically have a number embroidered on the sleeve. Wainwright told the magazine he wasn’t expecting Obama to wear the jacket in public, which is why he was so surprised when his phone started blowing up this morning.

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“I hadn’t forgotten about it, but I wasn’t necessarily waiting [for it to appear],” Wainwright explained. “I wasn’t expecting him to wear it in public. I thought maybe he’s wearing it on the weekends or at home. I was hoping that he was wearing it.”

As The Hill pointed out, Obama is an avid basketball fan and frequently attends games. He was seen at the matchup on Wednesday just before tipoff with Secret Security detail just behind him. Other prominent figures who also attended the game included director Spike Lee and Ken Griffey Jr., the report continued.