The 2020 NBA Finals are officially underway as the Los Angeles Lakers handled the Miami Heat in a 116-98 victory in Game 1 on Wednesday night. While millions of fans around the world tuned in to watch the league's best players face off for an NBA championship, a strong contingent of stars were in attendance to witness the festivities as well. Virtually, that is.
However, one star reigned supreme over the title winners: the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama.
Obama, sitting directly in the middle of the virtual fan bleachers with the champs, appeared to be giving a speech to those in attendance. To the fans watching from home, it wasn't clear if he was actually speaking to anyone in particular.
Why is President Obama giving a speech as he watches this game?— Chris Herring (@Herring_NBA) October 1, 2020
.@BarackObama cutting ads and giving speeches during the commercials— Bakari Sellers (@Bakari_Sellers) October 1, 2020
Turns out, the technology allows for the virtual fans sitting near one another to exchange pleasantries.
When you're a virtual fan, you can talk to other virtual fans in your section. (Shoutout all my Australian friends who were in my section when I was a virtual fan during my Bubble quarantine) https://t.co/TdJQaRVLlx— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) October 1, 2020
So, what exactly did Obama have to say?
Among the virtual fans for Game 1 were 40 first-time poll workers, part of the NBA's efforts to connect fans with nonpartisan voting resources. Players began wearing warm-up shirts with the word "VOTE" before the conference finals and will continue wearing them for the remainder of the season.
LeBron James, who finished Game 1 with 23 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists in the Lakers' win, made sure to show his appreciation to Obama and his speech following the contest.