Bored basketball stars to suit up for "The Obama Classic Basketball Game"

When Barack Obama does vary his golf-golf-and-golf again free time routine, it’s often to play a pick-up game of basketball. Everybody knows this because, once, he busted his lip, and that little dust-up made headlines.

Combine in your thoughts his affinity for the sport, his demonstrable commitment to his own reelection and the disappointing lack of an NBA season this year and it won’t be particularly surprising to learn that his always-creative campaign team has come up with a way to capitalize on all of that for BHO’s benefit. They present: “The Obama Classic Basketball Game,” an admittedly brilliant way to satiate starved fans and cram the campaign coffers a little fuller.

The Huffington Post reports:

With scant press attention, the Obama for America campaign has set up what it is billing as “The First Ever Obama Classic Basketball Game” to take place in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 12. The game will feature a who’s who of basketball stars, ones who are either retired or have no apparent start date for their season. The list of confirmed attendees, as provided by the campaign, include:

Ray Allen – Carmelo Anthony – Chris Bosh – Vince Carter – Tyson Chandler – Jamal Crawford – Kevin Durant – Baron Davis – Patrick Ewing – Derek Fisher – Rudy Gay – Blake Griffin – Tyler Hansbrough – Dwight Howard – Juwan Howard – Antawn Jamison – Dahntay Jones – Brandon Knight – Kevin Love – Jamal Mashburn – Cheryl Miller – Reggie Miller – Alonzo Mourning – Dikembe Mutombo – Chris Paul – Quentin Richardson – Doc Rivers – Steve Smith – Jerry Stackhouse – Amare Stoudemire – Tina Thompson – John Wall – Russell WestbrookLike actual games, the more you’re willing to pay, the better seats you get. But in this instance, the ticket prices double as campaign donations. According to a disclaimer on the Obama campaign website, the first $5,000 of a contribution goes to the Obama Victory Fund 2012 ($2,500 which is designated for the primary election, the next $2,500 for the general election). If a donor chooses to give more — and the website offers that option — he or she can sign over a check for as much as $30,800. That contribution goes to the Democratic National Committee.

Apparently, on the night of the event, the players will essentially be volunteers for the Obama campaign, as they won’t be paid. Their talent, evidently, is not considered an in-kind donation. As an Oklahoma City Thunder fan, I’m a little heart-broken that KD will be among the hoops stars at this event — but, then, he has tweeted that he’s bored by the lockout and, given the circumstances, it would be a little hard to turn down an invitation to play in a prominent game named for the president of the United States, whoever he might be. But that’s the extent of my excuse-making. Heartbreak persists.

Honestly, I’m just a little bummed nobody on the right side of the arena thought of this first. What cool, creative campaign fundraisers do any of the Republican candidates have planned? A slick event like this couldn’t hurt any of ’em. Maybe it’s just that Republicans shy away from displays in their own name? George W. Bush has hosted a sports tournament before — but it couldn’t have been more different than a self-aggrandizing affair that takes advantage of an unfortunate situation of corporate-vs.-player greed. Still, in an election cycle, maybe a little Republican self-aggrandizing — provided it’s done with flair — is exactly what we need.