President Obama: “Well, it’s funny, the mythology of sports is just — it’s deeply embedded in us. I remember I visited Iraq as a senator, and I think at that point I had already started running for president, but I can’t remember. Anyway, they invited me to go into this gym, and there were like 3,000 of our troops there. And somebody just handed me a ball and said, “Come on, Mr. President, take a shot.” And I said, OK, and I shot it and swished it from the 3-point line. And the amount of excitement that those folks had was surprising to me.
But I think it just sort of reminded me of the kind of bond that sports creates in people. People — for all our differences politically, regionally, economically — most folks understand sports. Probably because it’s one of the few places where it’s a true meritocracy. There’s not a lot of BS. Ultimately, who’s winning, who’s losing, who’s performing, who’s not — it’s all laid out there.”