Sports

Barack Obama's most memorable sports moments

On Friday morning, the whistle will blow on the Barack Obama presidency when the title of POTUS is officially transferred to incoming U.S. commander in chief Donald Trump. An avid sports enthusiast, Obama may just go down as one of the sportiest presidents in American history.

Looking back at the POTUS' brushes with the sports world

Throughout his tenure as U.S. president, Barack Obama has hosted countless sports figures at the White House, and present the Medal of Freedom to more athletes than any Commander in Chief in history. (Getty Images )

On Friday morning the whistle will blow on the Barack Obama presidency when the title of POTUS is officially transferred to incoming U.S. commander in chief Donald Trump.

An avid sports enthusiast, Obama may just go down as one of the sportiest presidents in American history.

We take a look back on some of the most memorable sports moments of the 44th president:

Go hard or go home

It's no secret that President Obama loves the game of basketball. During his first term in office, the president converted the White House tennis court into a basketball court, ensuring he would be able to play as often as possible.

Fiercely competitive, the outgoing POTUS has been seen shooting around with college basketball teams during their visits to the White House. He has even invited members of staff and NBA players to pickup games and reportedly said he would refuse to invite any athlete back if they didn't go hard on him. 

Not just a b-baller 

While basketball might be the out-going president's first love, he has proven he can hang in other sporting spheres as well. Like presidents before him, he has been bowling in the White House bowling alley, he's been golfing with Golden State Warriors Steph Curry, and even played ping pong with former British Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to the U.K. 

Just another sports fan

Throughout his tenure, Obama has been seen on the sidelines at a number of sporting events and even served as coach on his daughter Sasha's basketball team.

He made headlines last year when during his historic visit to Cuba he attended an exhibition game between the Cuban national team and the Tampa Bay Rays, accompanied by President Raúl Castro. 

The U.S. president was even caught on the "Kiss Cam" with the first lady while attending a U.S. men's basketball team game against Brazil in Washington in 2012.  

President's big pitch

In 2009 Obama became the first U.S. president in 33 years to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the MLB all-star game. Taking the mound at the game in St. Louis, the president boldly sported a Chicago White Sox jacket in support of his hometown team. Luckily, his potentially controversial choice in allegiance was overshadowed by his now infamous fashion failing "dad jeans."

POTUS picks

Throughout his presidency, Obama filling out the NCAA basketball bracket for ESPN became an annual tradition. While his track record has not been great, having predicted only one winner in 2009, he has come close, picking teams that made it to the fourth round in 2011, 2012 and 2014. Last year he chose Kansas, which made it to the final four before being illuminated by eventual winner Villanova.

Champions in the 'House'

White house visits by championship teams is an American tradition. Olympic medallists, NCAA winners and professional sports champions have all made their way to the executive mansion to receive congratulations from the president.  

Most recently on Monday the World Series champion Chicago Cubs paid him a visit, presenting Obama with a Cubs jersey fittingly endowed with the No. 44, for the 44th president.

Outfielder Dexter Fowler took the meeting a step further, bringing the POTUS a custom pair of Jordan brand sneakers which he showed off on his Instagram account.

Medal of Freedom

Throughout his eight years in the presidency, Obama has awarded the Medal of Freedom to 12 athletes — more than any other U.S. president in history. Regarded as the greatest civilian honour, some of the recipients during the Obama tenure have included baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial, the late legendary women's college basketball coach Pat Summitt, and most recently NBA great Michael Jordan.

Moved by the honour, the six-time NBA champion seemed to get emotional during the ceremony, almost bringing the "crying Michael Jordan" meme to life.

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