Obama the real MVP of NBA Finals Game 2

Fans go crazy for former president

By Doug Criss, CNN
Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama waves to the crowd during Game 2 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena on June 2, 2019, in Toronto.

(CNN) - Chants of "MVP" breaking out in an NBA arena are pretty common this time of the year.

And sure enough, the chant erupted Sunday night during Game 2 of the NBA Finals, while the Golden State Warriors battled the Toronto Raptors up in Canada.

But the chant raining down from the stands of Scotiabank Arena in Toronto weren't for Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard or any other player on the court.

They were for the ex-president sitting courtside.

Former President Barack Obama received a standing ovation and heard the MVP chants from the crowd when he was shown on the arena's video screen and later introduced during the game. Obama, who was seated next to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, briefly stood up and waved.

Obama is a noted basketball fan, and his love for the game was on full display during his two terms in office. His picks for the NCAA's basketball tournaments became something of a yearly televised ritual. He delighted in meeting championship basketball teams at the White House.

That even continued after he left office. In January, Obama met with the Warriors in Washington after the team opted to skip the traditional White House visit because of ongoing disagreements with the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, President Trump.

The former president has also been a vocal supporter of the NBA's planned professional basketball league in Africa that will feature 12 teams from several countries across the continent. The league will debut next year, and will be referred to as the Basketball Africa League. It will include teams from several African countries, including Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia.

As for the Warriors, they beat the Raptors,109-104. The best-of-7 NBA Finals series is now tied at one game a piece.

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