Nike donates $5 million for athletic facility at Obama Presidential Center

former President Barack Obama speaks near a rendering for the former president’s lakefront presidential center at a community event on the Presidential Center at the South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

Barack Obama is no longer president but he is still making history. The planned Obama Presidential Center on the South Side of Chicago will be the first of its kind to ever come equipped with an athletic space that promotes Obama’s beloved basketball as well as overall physical fitness.

Thanks to a $5 million donation to the Obama Foundation from Nike, the athletic facility on the campus of Obama’s presidential library will be a public space designed to highlight the importance of exercise to transform lives, according to Forbes.

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“(Barack) Obama has said it wouldn’t be his presidential center if there wasn’t a place to play some hoops,” Jorge Casimiro, Nike chief social and community impact officer and president of the Nike Foundation, told Forbes. “We wanted to make sure it had a building in the center focused on recreation, play and athletics.”

The athletic center, tentatively referred to as the program, athletic and activity center, will spotlight the “powerful transformative abilities of sport, something that the Nike Foundation and Obama Foundation really believe in,” Casimiro added.

“It is about the transformative power of sport,” Casimiro told Forbes. “It is about coming together, about having a space to run around in and have fun and play, but also a space to have meetings. Both foundations believe people, especially young people, can change the world, particularly through sport. At the end of the day, it is going to be a symbol to the world and visitors about why this is important.”

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The Obama Presidential Center, which will be located near the University of Chicago, is part of a 19.3 acre campus in Jackson Park. Design plans for the athletic center have not yet been finalized.

Nike partnered with the Obamas in 2013 when former first lady Michelle unveiled her “Let’s Move!” campaign targeted at schools, with a five-year, $50 million investment.

In addition to the athletic facility, the presidential campus will also feature a children’s playground and plenty of walking paths and green spaces.

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