In his new memoir, Barack Obama reveals that he had to give up coaching his daughter Sasha Obama’s basketball team, all because fellow parents at her elementary school complained. The former President shares this story in A Promised Land, his new memoir that was released on Tuesday.
Back in 2010, Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama would cheer their daughter on during basketball games at her Washington, D.C., school Sidwell Friends.
Obama and his aide Reggie Love--who previously played basketball on Duke University’s team--began coaching and running practices for Sasha’s team, the Vipers.
“After observing an adorable, but chaotic, first couple of games, Reggie and I took it upon ourselves to draw up some plays and volunteered to conduct a few informal Sunday afternoon practice sessions with the team,” Obama explains in his memoir. “We worked on the basics: dribbling, passing, making sure your shoelaces were tied before you ran onto the court.”
He continues, “And although Reggie could get a little too intense when we ran drills — ‘Paige, don’t let Isabel punk you like that’ — the girls seemed to have as much fun as we did.”
Barack even says that when the team won the school’s league championship, the two of them “celebrated like it was the NCAA finals.”
Unfortunately, their success and ability to continue that celebration was short-lived.
“But of course nothing about our lives was completely normal anymore as I was reminded the following year, when, in true Washington fashion a few of the parents from a rival Sidwell team started complaining to the Vipers coaches and presumably the school that Reggie and I weren’t offering training sessions to their kids, too,” Obama writes in his memoir. “We explained that there was nothing special about our practices. That it was just an excuse for me to spend extra time with Sasha. And we offered to help other parents organize practices of their own,” Obama shares, adding that Love joked that the parents “must think being coached by you is something they can put on a Harvard application.”
The former president goes on to note in his new memoir that it was “simpler for all concerned” for him to return to being a fan of the team and that “given all the time I’d missed with the girls over years of campaigning and legislative sessions, I cherished the normal dad stuff that much more.“
Now, ten years later, Sasha Obama is a sophomore at the University of Michigan and her sister, Malia Obama, is a senior at Harvard University. In a bittersweet turn of events, both Barack and Michelle got to spend a lot more time with their girls this year as they all quarantined together during the pandemic.