Dec 4, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets small forward Omri Casspi (18) reacts after a play during the third quarter against the Phoenix Suns at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Houston Rockets forward Omri Casspi visited the White House for the first time Thursday evening. President and Mrs. Obama invited Casspi as a representative of Israel to their Hanukkah Reception celebrating the ninth and final day of the Jewish Holiday.
Casspi, who is averaging 9.4 points per game in his first season in Houston, is the first native Israeli to play in the NBA. He called meeting the President a “great honor” via his Twitter. He brought his mother as his date to the event, calling her “the woman of [his] life” and posting a picture of the two of them to Instagram. The Rocket also posted multiple short videos of himself talking with the President at the reception. Though President Obama did not have time for a pickup game, he did make a point of talking to Casspi about the team:
What a great honor. President Obama. http://t.co/emTgCchTID
— Omri Casspi (@Casspi18) December 6, 2013
You can hear President Obama asking about how Dwight Howard is fitting in with the team and congratulating Casspi on his play. He also invites the Rocket to play at the White House, saying, “we’ll have to have you out at the court sometime.” Prior to the visit, Casspi told Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle that he hoped for a last minute game but figured it would not fit in the agenda. As to how much pressure he would put on the leader of the free world, Casspi simply stated:
“I don’t want any Israel-United States drama, more drama. Let him shoot. Let him score. Let him feel good. We need that support.”