Obama Meeting with Lakers Next Week

Published December 9, 2010

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama will meet with the NBA champion L.A. Lakers next week, according to a White House official. It's not clear, though, that the basketball-loving president will shoot hoops with Kobe Bryant and his teammates.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement later Thursday.

Obama has frequently emphasized community service in his comments to champion sports teams visiting the White House, or joined them in activities like making gift packages for the troops. This time, though, instead of meeting at the White House the president and the Lakers will participate in a community service event together in the D.C. area, the official said.

Bryant and teammates Pau Gasol and Derek Fisher were among those present in August when Obama gathered some current and former NBA superstars for a private game. Obama plays basketball often but had to get his lip stitched up a couple weeks ago after another player elbowed him.

The Lakers won their 16th NBA championship in June by beating the Boston Celtics. They'll be in the District of Columbia to play the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, Dec. 14.

Written by ERICA WERNER, Associated Press

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