Mourning, other NBA greats raise millions for Obama, Democrats - The Virginian-Pilot

President Barack Obama welcomed the oversized embrace of some of the biggest names in professional basketball Thursday, raising money from current and former NBA greats and an intimate group of supporters drawn to this weekend's All-Star game in Orlando, Fla.

Obama indulged his NBA habit at the Windermere, Fla., home of Dallas Mavericks guard Vince Carter, where about 70 guests gathered for a $30,000-a-person fundraiser. According to The Associated Press, among those invited were former L.A. Lakers star Earvin "Magic" Johnson, former Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning of Chesapeake and Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The diners – plus a few stars who couldn't attend, such as the Heat's LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh – paid $30,000 apiece. The first $5,000 of each check went to Obama's re-election campaign and the rest to the Democratic National Committee, The Orlando Sentinel reported. Officials estimated it brought in $2.1 million.

James, Wade and Bosh were busy: The Heat played the New York Knicks and overnight sensation Jeremy Lin in Miami. Obama, who has professed an interest in Lin, lamented that he couldn't be at the game, which was won by the Heat 102-88.

"I'm resentful I'm not going to the game tonight. I'm mad about that," Obama joked, according to The Associated Press. "It's not right. It's not fair."

As the president entered the fund-raiser, he and Mark Cuban, the Mavericks' owner, embraced warmly. It was held in Carter's gymnasium, with the scoreboard showing 2012 on the clock and the score tied at 44, Obama being the 44th president.

"It's a nice gym," Obama observed, understatedly. "Vince said he left the other side open in case I wanted to get in a dunk contest with him. I told him I didn't bring my sneakers, so not tonight."

Obama thanked NBA Commissioner David Stern, also in attendance, for resolving the basketball lockout that delayed the start of the basketball season.

"I don't know what I would be doing with myself if I at least didn't have some basketball games around," Obama said.

(Photos: President Obama in 2010 by Alex Brandon | The Associated Press; Vince Carter during a game last week by Tim Sharp | The Associated Press)


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