- While president, Barack Obama briefly coached his daughter’s elementary school basketball team.
- The experience was cut short after other parents started complaining, according to his new memoir, “A Promised Land.”
- “I cherished the normal dad stuff,” Obama wrote. “But of course, nothing about our lives was completely normal anymore.”
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While president, Barack Obama also had a stint as a basketball coach that was cut short after parents started to complain.
In his new memoir, the former commander-in-chief shares the story of when he helped train his daughter Sasha’s rec league team with his aide Reggie Love, who also used to be a college basketball coach. The book, “A Promised Land,” hit stands Tuesday and offers an inside look at Obama’s time at the White House.
Obama recalls sitting on the bleachers and watching Sasha’s team, called the Vipers, with former first lady Michelle when he decided to take over their game strategy.
“After observing an adorable but chaotic first couple of games, Reggie and I took it upon ourselves to drop some plays, and volunteered to conduct a few informal Sunday afternoon practice sessions with the team,” he wrote. “We worked on the basics: dribbling, passing, making sure your shoelaces were tied before you ran on to the court.”
“Although Reggie could get a little too intense,” he continued, “the girls seemed to have as much fun as we did.”
The practices paid off, as the girls then went on to win the league championship, Obama explained, to which he and Love “celebrated like it was the NCAA finals.”
Yet the following year, Obama decided to stop training sessions because parents from a rival team voiced issues with his role.
“We explained that there was nothing special about our practices. That it was just an excuse for me to spend extra time with Sasha. And I offered to help other parents organise practices on their own,” he wrote, detailing how Love mocked that “they must think being coached by you is something they can put on a Harvard application.”
“But when it became clear that complaints had nothing to do with basketball… I decided that it would be simpler for all concerned, if I went back to just being a fan,” Obama added.
Sasha was seven when she moved into the White House in 2008, with her sister Malia, who was 10. The two spent a large portion of their childhood in the spotlight during Obama’s presidency. Sasha is now a sophomore at the University of Michigan and Malia is a senior at Harvard.
“Given all the time I’d missed with the girls over the years of campaigning and legislative sessions, I cherished the normal dad stuff that much more,” Obama wrote. “But of course, nothing about our lives was completely normal anymore.”