By Hans Nichols, Bloomberg News
President Barack Obama assembled what he called his own basketball â€dream team,â€ calling in retired basketball greats Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing to help him raise more than $3 million for his re-election.
Jordan, who led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association championships, co-hosted a dinner in New York for 120 people who paid $20,000 each to attend.
â€œWe are in the fourth quarter, weâ€™re up by a few points, but the other side is coming strong and they play a little dirty,â€ Obama said. â€œNobody knows better than Michael that, if youâ€™ve got a little bit of a lead and thereâ€™s about seven minutes left to go, thatâ€™s when you put them away.â€
Obama is raising campaign cash as Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and allied groups entered August with more money to spend than Obama and the Democrats.
Along with Ewing, who played most of his career with the New York Knicks and was Jordanâ€™s teammate on the U.S.â€™s 1992 Olympic â€œDream Team,â€ the dinner at the Lincoln Center included current NBA stars such as Carmelo Anthony of the Knicks and Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat along with Penny Hardaway and Alonzo Mourning, who are retired. NBA Commissioner David Stern also attended.
After dinner, Obama participated in an informal shoot- around with the NBA players and other guests, according to campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki. That portion of the evening was closed to the media.
â€œHeâ€™s not taking any one-on-one game tonight,â€ Jordan said in introducing the president.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he didnâ€™t know if the president has been practicing his shot, though he did play a game last weekend.
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