Obama attends Game 1 of NBA Finals as virtual fan
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Former President Obama, a noted basketball fan, attended Game 1 of the NBA Finals as a virtual fan on Wednesday night.

Obama's video feed was displayed in a graphic that had him in the front row for the game between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers, sitting next to two Hall of Fame members and former Lakers superstars, Shaquille O’Neal and James Worthy.

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He was in the crowd as part of an initiative from Lakers star LeBron James to recruit volunteers to help at polls in Black electoral districts. 

“Always look forward to watching the NBA Finals––and tonight I had the chance to thank a great group of first-time poll workers with [More Than A Vote],” Obama wrote on Twitter. “It’s critical that everybody votes in this election––by mail or in person if you can. Register to vote at http://vote.org/obama.”

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From his virtual seat, Obama said he wanted to take the opportunity to thank poll worker volunteers.

“It can be a thankless job. It's not one of those things you think about,” Obama said. “But it is absolutely vital for our democracy. I appreciate you and hopefully all NBA fans will appreciate you when they see shorter lines at polling places. Democracy doesn’t work if just a few people do it. That’s like playing with half the team.”

“We see you Mr President,” James wrote. “Thank you!!!”

The Los Angeles Lakers forward announced last month that his voting rights organization More Than A Vote would work on drafting volunteers in southern battleground states. The group promises "complete training, PPE [personal protective equipment], and in most jurisdictions, you will be paid a stipend." 

Several states have reported a massive shortage in poll workers this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

At least 10,000 volunteers have reportedly been recruited through More Than A Vote.

ESPN’s Rachel Nichols noted that there were also 40 first-time poll workers in the virtual crowd with Obama.

The former commander in chief has been actively encouraging his supporters to volunteer at their local polling locations before the Nov. 3 election.

"If you're looking for a way to get involved in this upcoming election, sign up to volunteer as a poll worker for early voting and Election Day," Obama tweeted earlier this month. “You can help your community and make sure this election runs fairly and safely."