Barack Obama’s presidency is winding down, which means it’s time for some speculation about what he could do after leaving office. The idea of him owning an NBA team has been floated, which makes sense because he’s a massive basketball fan. He told Bill Simmons in a November interview with GQ that being an NBA owner is a fantasy of his. Now, it could become a reality. Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, said this week that the president has thought about it.
Earnest said Wednesday that the president, well known for being a big fan of Chicago sports teams, has “discussed” being part of an ownership group for an NBA franchise. Earnest added that Obama would pursue the opportunity “potentially … under the right circumstances.”
President Obama’s NBA fandom is well documented. He was offering fire takes about the Finals on Twitter just like the rest of us, dropped a Kobe-esque “Obama out” at the end of his speech at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner last month, and weighed in on the Stephen Curry-Michael Jordan debate. He also showed up at the Bulls’ season opener against the Cavaliers back in October.
These days, NBA teams are going for close to a billion dollars on the open market, so Obama wouldn’t have enough money to buy a team outright. But he could serve as the figurehead of an ownership group with financial backing behind it, like Magic Johnson does with the Dodgers or Jay Z did with the Nets until he had to sell his stake to become an agent. It’s hard to imagine a much better recruiting tool a team could have in its arsenal for free agents than the ability to get Obama in a room to make the sales pitch.