Obama’s lip busted in basketball game

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Presidential politics can be a bloody business, but it was a friendly basketball game Friday that gave President Obama a cut on his lip that required 12 stitches.

Playing in a post-Thanksgiving pickup game with visiting family members and personal aide Reggie Love, Obama caught an elbow to the lip. The injury was treated by the medical unit located on the first floor of the White House. Obama was given a local anesthetic. The medical staff used a procedure that required more stitches than usual in an effort to minimize the scar.

The White House did not name the player who bloodied the presidential lip, though in Washington’s hothouse media environment, that name isn’t likely to stay secret for long.


Obama’s brother-in-law is Craig Robinson, coach of the Oregon State University men’s basketball team, which is in town for a game Saturday against Howard University. Though Robinson did not play, his son, Avery, a high school senior, was among the 10 players on the court, according to Shawn Schoeffler, a spokesman for the Oregon State basketball team. The White House did not reveal who else was playing.

The Oregon State players took a tour of the White House and were supposed to meet the president afterward. But because of Obama’s injury, they were greeted by First Lady Michelle Obama instead.

Obama is an avid recreational basketball player whose pickup games are known to be tough.

Love played basketball for Duke University. Players who have competed against Obama say they jockey for rebounds and challenge him when he drives the lane. On the morning Obama accepted the Democratic presidential nomination in Denver, he sat out a game, watching his friends play, a precaution taken to avoid an injury on that important day.

Obama friend Alan King said at the time: “There was a particular concern about not wanting him to turn up with a busted lip.”