Bismack Biyombo on Barack Obama: 'He has the swag'

JOHANNESBURG -- Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo has described the experience of meeting former US president Barack Obama as "mind-blowing," and complimented the politician's "swag".

The pair met in July in Kenya, at the opening of the Sauti Kuu Foundation's sports and education facility. The foundation is the work of Obama's half-sister Auma Obama, and formed part of Biyombo's trip to Africa for Basketball without Borders.

Biyomobo, who will be captaining Team Africa against Team World in the NBA Africa Game on Saturday in Johannesburg, told KweséESPN that he'd always dreamed of meeting Obama, and was overwhelmed at the opportunity to shoot some hoops with him.

"When they told me I was going to meet him and spend some time with him, I was like, 'This is unbelievable'," Biyombo, who hails from the Democratic Republic of Congo, said on Wednesday.

"When I was with Charlotte, they asked me question to promote me as a player, and they asked me who would like to meet and I said Obama. I like to pick the minds of leaders, to understand how they lead.

"For me to be able to spend time with him, learn about him, it was mind-blowing, and I was very thankful and appreciative of the moment. We focused on the kids, to find a way to improve education in Africa, and he had a very big emphasis on that."

The pair were part of the inaugural game of basketball on the court at the foundation, and Biyombo, at 6ft9in, was impressed with Obama's skills, adding: "It was very exciting to get to shoot some hoops with him.

"I give him a 10 [out of 10], because he has the swag. He has the swag and he has the charisma. You know when you meet somebody and they just have the swag? He has it."

Biyomobo, a charismatic and enthusiastic speaker himself, opened the Basketball without Borders and NBA Africa week at the American International School of Johannesburg, along with basketball luminaries like Dikembe Mutumbo, Swin Cash, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The Hornets man urged the campers, all high-level players from around the continent, to be grateful for the opportunity and to learn as much as they could from the NBA players on hand.

"We cherish everyone who has taken the time to be here, to celebrate. It's become a celebration," he added with a huge smile, "It's just such an exciting event to be part of."