March 28th, 2008
01:04 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama will play 3-on-3 basketball to register Indiana voters

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="An Obama supporter will battle the senator on the basketball court."]HAMMOND, Indiana (CNN) - Barack Obama will put his well-reputed basketball skills on the line in an effort to register young voters in this hoops-obsessed primary state, his campaign announced Friday.

Obama's staff is hoping the chance to play a game of 3-on-3 pick-up with the presidential candidate will entice Indiana high school students to register their friends to vote in the state's May 6 contest. Every student that signs up at least 20 new voters before Indiana's April 7 registration deadline will be eligible to be picked to play against Obama in a game the campaign is calling "The 3-on-3 Challenge for Change."

Students who will be 18 by Election Day this November are eligible to vote in the state's primary.

One winning student will be selected for the game, and he or she will then pick two friends to take on Obama's team at their own high school. Obama's squad will include at least one college student who also signs up new voters, but the campaign has yet to determine who will be the third member.

The Illinois senator played basketball in high school, when he was a member of Punahou High School’s 1979 Hawaii state championship team, and he continues to work court time into his campaign schedule.

Obama was described as "fiercely competitive" on the court in an examination of his hoops prowess last year by the New York Times. A more recent Sports Illustrated story written about Obama's game before the Iowa caucuses heaped praise on the senator's easy jump shot.

The contest was announced Friday by former NBA player Calbert Cheaney, the Evansville native who was named the state's Mr. Basketball in 1989 before going on to play for Bob Knight at Indiana University, where he became the Big Ten's all-time leading scorer.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (48 Responses)
  1. AllStar!

    I'm convinced of his brilliance. This is exactly the type of innovative thinking, creativity and athleticism we need in the oval office. Not ashamed to say I think I love this guy!

    Inspiring '08

    March 28, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  2. Eddie

    Awesome. Great way to get youth involved!

    March 28, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. steve

    Wow that is a great way to get young people in voters.That is great news!
    Obama '08

    March 28, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  4. christian

    they must televise it

    March 28, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. Joeann Prioleau

    I would love to see the 3 on 3 match with Senator Obama. I hope it gets some air time.

    We are finally going to get a President who delivers a basketball into the hoop as well as delivers a great speech.

    March 28, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. Sara

    Great idea! OBAMA 08'

    March 28, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. AllStar!

    Hey Hillary, keep ideating!!! I'm sure you'll come up with something... Oh, I've got it... How about a Bocci tournament?

    GO O!

    March 28, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  8. Hillary 08

    WE don't need OR want hommie for Preident!!!!!!!! Obama go back to your Zoo Keeper!

    March 28, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  9. The Austrian

    I've got to admit, this is pretty cool. I can't say I'd vote for any of the leading candidates right now, but Obama's display of real down-to-earth qualities and willingness to play some ball with the locals is impressive.

    I hope it will be broadcast live.

    March 28, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  10. Terrence W

    This is a cool idea. It show humanity, not just some tight suit in Washington. If you are about the future, you gotta be willing to engage the future (young people) personally. This is good for the morale of the election. Everyone is so uptight. Way to go, Obama.

    Who got next? Hillary? Bill? McSame?

    March 28, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |

    now that's what politics should be about...get everyone involved

    March 28, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. Mike Jones

    The third person on Obama's team will be Reggie Miller. When the game is over, Reggie will do the choke sign like he did to Spike Lee in New York.

    March 28, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. OMG

    Totally awesome ...and hopefully, a lot of fun! What a great way to lighten up the campaign a bit from all the sniping and bickering!

    Go Obama....a great idea!

    March 28, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  14. Edwards

    Way to go...yes we can...Here in PA we love you Obama


    March 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  15. Pamela, Sacramento

    Way to go Obama!!! Rise above the political non-sense. You are a focused political professional and the only candidate that is truly thinking outside the box. Yes, engage our young Americans. It would be a shame to lose their current support and attention.

    President Barack Obama 08!!!!

    March 28, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |



    March 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  17. rose, texas

    is obama bringing wright 2. that should help him don't u'l think. hillary fight 2 the prayers r with hillary.. hillary all the way don't drop out , all those that want u 2 drop , would they do it if they were running. of course not.

    March 28, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  18. Jason from Kansas city

    Interesting tactic! Maybe Hillary can compete in a Pepper eating contest!

    March 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Vivacious

    Obama, you are so great with young people and very inspiring for our country. We just love you and is preying everyday that our democractic party all will come together and support your candidacy. You are truly a uniter!

    Vote Obama!

    March 28, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. Emmanuel, MA

    Obama/Bloomberg '08

    March 28, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  21. Marcy,Florida

    Well anything to take the focus off of his relationship with his pastor.
    Who cares. By the way, is Obama going to visit Pastor Wright in his new 1.6 million dollar home that his church just gave him?

    McCain/Romney 08

    March 28, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  22. He Says She Says

    "You are too young and stupid to understand politics, so I'll get you to vote for me because I play basketball. If you dont' vote for me, I won't let you sit at my table at lunch."

    March 28, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  23. Cody

    Hoodwinking, bamboozling, and shim-shamming at it's best.

    Lets get the "need the new next now" generation to play some hoops and vote for someone in the NBA.

    Wait! What? Exactly!.

    Pay no attention to the left hand pulling the wool over your eyes while the right hand dribbles and waves.

    March 28, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
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