Game 1 of the NBA Finals took place on Wednesday, and the Los Angeles Lakers came away with a dominating win over the Miami Heat. There were several special guests in attendance as virtual fans, but the one that stood out was former President Barack Obama, who had a front and center seat for the contest. The 44th president was there to not only support the NBA, but he also wanted to show support for first-time poll workers.
"I am honestly not the main event tonight but I wanted to come on to give a shout-out to all the folks who are volunteering as poll workers in this upcoming election," Obama said. "It can be a thankless job, it’s not one of those things you think about, but it is absolutely vital for our democracy and I appreciate you. And hopefully all NBA fans will appreciate you when they see shorter lines at the polling places."
Always look forward to watching the NBA Finals––and tonight I had the chance to thank a great group of first-time poll workers with @morethanavote.October 1, 2020
Obama continued: "Democracy doesn't work if just a few people do it — that’s like playing with half the team. But it's only that way if people aren’t participating. If people get involved then we get the best of us and that’s what I’m hoping is gonna happen." Obama was sitting next to Basketball Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal. Other notable NBA stars in attendance were Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Isiah Thomas, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Ray Allen, Robert Horry, Robert Parish, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce, according to PEOPLE.
Obama and the former NBA stars got a chance to see the Lakers run past the Heat 116-98. Anthony Davis stood out for the Lakers as he scored 34 points with nine rebounds and five assists. After the game, Davis talked about playing in his first NBA Finals series of his career.
"I just wanted to come out with a lot of energy," Davis said. "You know, be aggressive on the offensive glass. Playing in a dunker's area, when [LeBron James] and [Rajon Rondo] and AC [Alex Caruso] get in the paint, they got easy dump-offs. And not settling for too many jumpers, just being able to play in the paint and dominate the paint area." Game 2 of the NBA Finals will tip-off on Friday at 9 p.m. on ABC.