CORONADO, Calif. -- Soaking in one of the most spectacular settings of his time in office, President Barack Obama pledged an unwavering commitment to veterans Friday from the deck of an aircraft carrier doubling, for one night, as a gleaming basketball court.
The president's patriotic message to the military crowd, while welcomed, was secondary to the scene itself. The players from two storied basketball programs, No. 1 North Carolina and Michigan State, competed aboard the USS Carl Vinson in the open air, in the dusk of a perfect San Diego evening.
Basketball star power was on hand in the form of Magic Johnson and James Worthy, former teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers and alums of Michigan State and North Carolina, respectively.
The first-ever Carrier Classic gave Obama a chance to honor troops and pay tribute on the 95,000-ton Navy warship that buried Osama bin Laden's body at sea. For the hoops-loving president, topping it all off with a college basketball game played outside and on water was surely unforgettable.