All eyes in the basketball world are on Chicago this weekend as the city hosts NBA All-Star Weekend. Three of the game’s most talented youngsters — Zion Williamson, Luka Doncic, and Trae Young — got a surprise of a lifetime when they were greeted at an NBA event by former President Barack Obama.
Actors, musicians, and throngs of celebrities will be flocking to the city for the weekend, but it was Obama who left the players starstruck, with Williamson calling it one of the best experiences of his life. According to ESPN, the impromptu meeting took place this morning when players from the Rising Stars game were handing out school supplies to students.
Featuring first and second-year players, the game is comprised of a USA team and a World team. The young athletes were stuffing backpacks with pens, notebooks, and various school supplies and giving them to children, who took the opportunity to ask the professional athletes questions.
About 15 minutes into the event, a stir started in the crowd as Obama started to make his rounds. He took the time to introduce himself to every player, student, and volunteer in attendance.
Obama then made his way to Williamson and Young, who were beside each other handing out backpacks. The 44th U.S. president’s love for basketball is well-known, but the Hawks guard did not expect him to be so knowledgeable.
— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) February 14, 2020
“It was crazy being able to stand next to him, talk to him,” Young told ESPN. “He basically knew everything about my season, my game. I was definitely asking him a lot of questions. He was just like a regular person.”
The first-time All-Star added he was impressed with how down-to-earth Obama was.
Williamson was shocked to hear the former president reference specific games and plays he’s made this season. He even mentioned the rookie forward’s time at Duke, but the NBA rookie admitted he “kind of zoned out after that.”
Struggling to put the meeting into words, the New Orleans Pelicans forward stopped just short of calling it the most memorable moment of his life.
“I don’t want to say it is number one right now because the draft might be one, but this is definitely top two,” the budding superstar said.
Obama to Luka: Don’t listen to J-Kidd when it comes to shooting.” pic.twitter.com/xeV6s984Hs
— Brad Townsend (@townbrad) February 14, 2020
Doncic, who is making his first All-Star game appearance alongside Young, was sitting down, eating at a table with former Dallas Maverick Jason Kidd when Obama approached him, per Mavs Moneyball. The two slapped hands and shared a quick embrace.
Obama then made a joke about Doncic ignoring any shooting advice from Kidd, who was known as a pass-first point guard.