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.

The NBA curated a section of 17 former champions to watch the finals opener, including Bill Walton, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O’Neal.

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.

Turns out, the technology allows for the virtual fans sitting near one another to exchange pleasantries.

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.

MORE: Everything we learned about the Lakers-Heat Finals after Game 1





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