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Obama has election night dinner with family after basketball tradition

President Obama made phone call to a volunteer Tuesday.

Jason Reed/REUTERS

President Obama made phone call to a volunteer Tuesday.

CHICAGO -- President Obama had dinner on Election Night with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Malia and Sasha, who flew after school from Washington with their maternal grandmother, Marian Robinson.

They were joined at the Obama home in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood by Michelle’s brother, Craig Robinson, and his family; the president’s sister, Maya, and her family; and nieces and nephews.

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As they ate, preparations for Obama’s speech continued at sprawling McCormick Place, the largest convention center in North America. Thousands of reporters and broadcast crews began writing early stories and setting up equipment, while surrogates tested the sound system with rehearsed introductions of the president and his family.

Earlier in the day, after conducting a string of interviews for television stations in swing states, Obama joined staff, friends, and former professional players for a pickup basketball game at a West Side gym.

The game, an Election Day tradition for the president, included Education Secretary Arne Duncan; Reggie Love, the president’s former personal assistant; Marty Nesbitt, one of Obama’s closest friends; and former Chicago Bulls players Scottie Pippen and Randy Brown.

According to Alexi Giannoulias, a former Illinois state treasurer and 2010 Democratic US Senate nominee who played in the game, Obama’s team won by about 20 points.

Obama was the “player-coach” of his team, which included Giannoulias and Pippen. Each team had five players plus substitutes, and referees called fouls over four, 12-minute quarters.

“It was a lot of fun,” Giannoulias said. “We won. I scored more points than Scottie Pippen, which was my dream come true.”

Obama, he said, “played very well,” although he did not say how many points the president scored.

Brian MacQuarrie at macquarrie@globe.com
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