Hard to say who was the most popular guy in the White House Rose Garden this morning: President Obama? Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski? Or Reggie Love?
Love, a former Duke basketball captain and member of the 2001 NCCA men’s championship team, also is Obama’s body man and frequent pickup teammate. He was notorious back in Durham for a shaky shooting percentage. He’s known around the White House as a big-time Blue Devils fan.
And he got the first big applause of the day when he walked onto stage, alone, to adjust something on Obama’s podium before the event started.
“Reggie!” the crowd shouted, and broke into applause.
Later, Obama took a crack at Love’s expense:
“Now some of you may know that my assistant, Reggie Love, used to play for Coach K at Duke... In fact, Reggie was so excited to see his old coach today that I had to make him come out and run some sprint drills just to calm him down,” Obama said.
He went on: “And then Coach and I were both discussing – I play with Reggie now, and when Reggie was playing, Coach said, ‘Don’t shoot!’
“And when he’s on my team, I say to Reggie, ‘Don’t shoot!’ So things haven’t changed.”
Obama made like he was waving down the court at Love. “’Go down in the post, rebound.’”
Still, as the president worked a few minutes later to get into a group picture on stage with the team, a pair of women way back in the audience stood to wave at Love, standing discreetly to the side and under a shade tree. He grinned and waved back.
After the ceremony, local reporters asked the press office about interviews: Will Reggie come out? Can we talk to Reggie?
Alas, Love was back inside the White House with the president, shooting photos with the men’s 2010 World Cup soccer team.
- Barbara Barrett, Washington correspondent, McClatchy Newspapers
David Scott has been with the Observer for 28 years and has written about ACC, SEC and other college sports in the Charlotte region. He covers Wake Forest, South Carolina and college soccer for the Observer and (Raleigh) News & Observer.
J.P. Giglio covers the ACC for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1997, and the Observer.
Andrew Carter covers the North Carolina Tar Heels for the Observer and News & Observer.
Laura Keeley covers the Duke Blue Devils for the Observer and News & Observer. Follow her on Twitter.
Chip Alexander covers the Carolina Hurricanes and college football for the News & Observer, where he has worked since 1979, and the Observer.
Luke DeCock has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist for the Observer and News & Observer in August 2008.
Tim Crothers is an author and former senior writer at Sports Illustrated who is joining the sports staff to write a regular column during the rest of the college basketball season.