Obama, Gasol star as virtual fans in Game 1 of NBA Finals

Published October 1, 2020, 6:13 PM

by Carlo Anolin

The virtual fans during Game One of the NBA Finals on September 30, 2020 in Orlando, Florida at AdventHealth Arena. (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)

Former US President Barack Obama and Lakers great Pau Gasol were among the virtual fans who graced the star-studded courtside during Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

Obama extended his gratitude to the 40 first-time poll workers, which consist of NBA greats and fans, and spoke about the importance of voting in the upcoming US election next month.

Current president Donald Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are vying for the highest political seat.

“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,” the 44th US President said in a video posted on his Twitter account.

“And hopefully, all NBA fans will appreciate you when they see those shorter lines at the polling places.”

Meanwhile, Gasol paid tribute to his late teammate and pal Kobe Bryant by wearing a No. 8 Black Mamba Lakers jersey.

“We love that jersey, @paugasol” the Lakers tweeted, accompanied by a black heart emoji.

Joining Obama and Gasol in the Michelob ULTRA Courtside virtual fan seats were NBA champions Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Manu Ginobili, Pau Gasol, Ray Allen, Robert Horry, Robert Parish, Shaquille O’Neal, Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce.

Together with the poll workers identified by “More Than a Vote,” the virtual fans witnessed the Lakers win Game 1 of the NBA Finals 116-98 against the Miami Heat.