President Barack Obama walks to greet people waiting for him on the tarmac as he arrives on Air Force One at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, in New York.

*President Barack Obama was in New York City Wednesday to participate in the long-awaited Obama Classic,  a basketball fundraiser with current and former NBA and WNBA stars.


Originally scheduled during the 2011 NBA lockout when basketball fans had nowhere to see their favorite players play, the event was canceled after the lockout was resolved and rescheduled for this summer.

With a nod to his basketball star host, Michael Jordan, Obama used a sports analogy at a fundraiser in New York on Wednesday to describe the election campaign and his opponents, who he said played “dirty.”

“I can’t resist a basketball analogy. We are in the fourth quarter, we’re up by a few points, but the other side is coming strong and they play a little dirty,” Obama told a group of supporters, saying his team was ahead but had some injuries.

“I’d say there’s about seven minutes to go in the game. And Michael’s competitiveness is legendary, and nobody knows better than Michael that if you’ve got a little bit of a lead and there’s about seven minutes to go, that’s when you put them away.”

Michael Jordan

Also attending the event were Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Kyrie Irving, and Alonzo Mourning. Obama, an avid basketball player himself, joked that Jordan, a former star player for Obama’s hometown Chicago Bulls, and the other players at the event were dwarfing his star power.

“It is very rare that I come to an event where I’m like the fifth or sixth most interesting person,” he said, drawing laughter, after being introduced by Jordan. “Usually, the folks want to take a picture with or sit next to me, or talk to me — that has not been the case at this event, and I completely understand it.”

About 120 people attended the fundraising dinner, dubbed the “Obama Classic,” at a cost of $20,000 a person. After the dinner, Obama threw on some gym clothes and shot hoops with some of the players in attendance.

The campaign was expected to raise close to $3 million from the night.