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Duhon Passes on Inauguration Invite

Barack Obama or practicing with the Knicks? It's a no-brainer. (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)

New York Knicks point guard Chris Duhon is making his last trip to Washington this season, but he turned down the opportunity to attend a huge party being held for a 47-year-old guy Duhon played pickup basketball with in Chicago -- Barack Obama. One of Duhon's best friends is Reggie Love, who is one of Obama's top aides and Duhon's former teammate at Duke.

Love secured the invitation to President-elect Obama's inauguration on Tuesday. But, as he has been doing quite well all season for the Knicks, Duhon passed.

The Knicks don't have a game that day, but the inauguration comes the day before Knicks Coach Mike D'Antoni welcomes his former team, Phoenix, to Madison Square Garden for the only time this season.

"My main focus is to help this team get back to [its] winning ways and give us a shot to get back to the playoffs," Duhon said this week. "I'm going to watch it on TV like everybody else."

Duhon voted for Obama, and was part of Obama's circle of pick-up players at Chicago's East Bank Club. When Duhon played for the Chicago Bulls, he didn't live far from the club and guarded Obama in several full-court games. Duhon said the president-to-be has got game, too. (I recommend you read Alexander Wolff's excellent story in this week's Sports Illustrated, "The Audacity of Hoops," on how the game of basketball influenced Obama's life.)

"He's a point guard out there. He's telling everybody where to go, he's directing. He knows how to pass the ball. He has nice-looking form on his jump shot -- I'm not saying it goes in all the time," Duhon said with a laugh. "He just has fun when he's out there."

Duhon added that Obama loves to run his mouth on the court. "He talks the whole time. He's a colorful commentator while he plays," Duhon said.

Although he won't be in Washington on Tuesday, Duhon said he understands the significance of Obama's swearing-in ceremony. "It's a very historical moment. I'm very excited being able to have an opportunity to know him personally, aside from him being the President-to-be, and that makes it more special for me," Duhon said. "I'm excited for the change, and it should be a good one. I never thought [an African-American becoming president] would happen. I'm fortunate and blessed to witness it. I know he'll do a great job."

By Michael Lee  |  January 16, 2009; 3:16 PM ET
 | Tags: Barack Obama, Chris Duhon  
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Posted by: erniegone | January 16, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Reggie Love a top aide for Obama? I think the correct word is valet. That's someone who carries Obama's shaving kit, breath mints, notebook, etc.

Posted by: bigskells | January 16, 2009 4:23 PM | Report abuse

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