Barack Obama, a die-hard basketball fan, could never hope to beat LeBron James in a game of one-on-one. But his high school basketball jersey bested that of “The Chosen One” at an auction this past weekend.
Obama’s 1978-1979 No. 23 Punahou School jersey sold for $192,000 at Juliens Auctions, according to USA Today.
That breaks the record that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James set in 2019. LBJ’s jersey that he wore during his celebrated stint at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, that was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated, fetched $187,500 last year.
During the 78-79 season, Obama helped the Honolulu school win a Hawaii state basketball championship, the newspaper reports.
Though Obama did not continue his organized basketball pursuits while attaining his Ivy League undergraduate and law degrees, the love for the game has not dissipated over the years.
Much later, Obama famously hosted multiple pickup games with former NBA and collegiate stars at the White House between 2009-2017.
Subsequently, Obama developed close relationships with several marquee hardwood stars, most prominently King James and the late Kobe Bryant.
In fact, Obama played a key role in helping James attain his fourth NBA title. After enraged players boycotted the NBA playoffs after Jacob Blake was shot in his back seven times by a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer, Obama called and spoke personally with James.
Obama convinced James and the others to end the boycott while continuing to speak out against social injustices and police brutality. King James and the Lakers went on to win the 2020 NBA championship over the Miami Heat in six games. James also captured his fourth MVP Award to match his number of individual titles.