Friday, May 29, 2009
Aldridge And Obama
This time of year, most players in the NBA who aren't lucky enough to still be involved in the playoffs are catching up with their families and friends. And at a little over a month removed from the regular season, some guys are back in the gym preparing for a season that is still almost six months away. When it comes to the NBA, there really is no offseason.
So how is LaMarcus Aldridge spending his free time? Well, he's working out a little bit in Dallas and doing some light traveling in between. Oh, and he's also spending a little time with the leader of the free world.
Aldridge was invited to attend a fundraiser in Beverly Hills hosted by none other than President Barack Obama. LA, who's a bit more socially-minded than people give him credit for, jumped at the chance to chitchat, shake hands and have a picture taken with the first Black president in United States history.
"My agency told me about it," said Aldridge. "They said I'd have a chance to spend a few moments and get a picture with him, hear him speak for about 15 or twenty minutes. When they told me about it, I really wanted to do it. So they did what they had to do to get me in."
And at no small expense. Reports had tickets to the gala costing anywhere from $1,000 to $15,000, but the price wasn't enough to keep Aldridge from the opportunity of meeting one of the most powerful and influential people in the world.
"He came out and talked for about 15 minutes," said Aldridge. "He’s a very powerful speaker; a great guy. He talked about how he had made mistakes, but that he was trying to learn something from those mistakes. Kind of the same things we talk about."
The notion that Obama could admit to flaws in his young administration seemed to resonate with Aldridge.
"To meet Obama and to hear him speak and to hear other people share their views about Obama was cool," said Aldridge. "He talked about trying to be a better person by learning from the things that he had done wrong, talking about things we can do to put this country in a better position."
Before setting down for a buffet dinner at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Aldridge talked with President Obama for a few minutes, wherein the conversation turned to what it often does for professional basketball players: height.
"We talked a little about basketball and our season," said Aldridge. "When I got a chance to talk to him he was standing by one of his bodyguards, who was a pretty big guy. Not as tall as me, but definitely taller than Obama. He looked at me, looked at his bodyguard, then said, ‘This is how I feel every day.’
"I got to talk to him for a few minutes, but there were a lot of people to talk to. Guys like Jaime Foxx, the guy who created YouTube. There was a whole different caliber of people there."