When Michelle Obama — then Robinson — first brought home a guy named Barack, her brother, Craig Robinson, wasn’t sure what to think. He liked him, but he wasn’t fully confident about his plans for the future. They were ambitious — crazy ambitious.
“When we first met, and he came over for the first Thanksgiving, I figured I’m gonna do the brother-in-law thing and take him to the side,” Robinson told his sister on the Michelle Obama Podcast. “‘Hey man, dad's not here, what do you think you're gonna be doing for your future?’ And he was like, ‘Well, I would love to try this political thing,’ and I was like, ‘Oh, really, like, so... what do you want to run for mayor, or for alderman?’ And he’s like, ‘You know, eh, maybe more... a little bigger than that, so, maybe I’d run for Congress, or, run for the Senate. Or maybe even run for president.’ And I was like, ‘Shhhh shhh man, you don’t want to say that too loud around here, folks’ll think you crazy!’”
Robinson’s opinion of his sister’s boyfriend was especially significant, because their father, Fraser Robinson, had died in 1991.
“What you thought of him, was important to me,” the former first lady said.
She needn’t have worried.
As Robinson explained, he was completely won over by Barack’s performance on the basketball court.
“So we have this pickup game, and, when you play pickup basketball, a lot is based on integrity. Because you have to call your own fouls, there are no referees,” said Robinson, who played and coached the sport for decades. “And there’s always that guy who, acts like he’s a good dude, until, he has to make his own calls, and he’s callin’ fouls all the time, well Barack wasn’t that guy, and that was good to see, that was the first thing. The second thing, is, he could actually play a little bit. He wasn’t lying about that he played, about how good he was.”
Robinson saw that as proof of his “authenticity.”
The Obamas married in October 1992, after three years of dating. Barack was elected to the Illinois Senate four years later. He went on to win election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, and by 2008, he and Michelle were in the White House.
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