13 lesser-known facts about Barack Obama
Former US president Barack Obama is currently in South Africa, to deliver the annual Nelson Mandela lecture in Johannesburg on Tuesday.
The lecture is themed: "Renewing the Mandela Legacy and Promoting Active Citizenship in a Changing World".
Over the years, Obama has acknowledge Mandela's legacy in various ways. Last year, Obama quoted Mandela in a tweet about tolerance – which continues to hold the record for the most-liked tweet in the history of Twitter.:
Here are some lesser-known facts about the former US president.
He's an early riser
Like South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa, Obama wakes up before 5:00AM most mornings to exercise. His favourite workout is a game of basketball.
He plays to win at basketball
Experts describe his basketball style as “a floor-spacing role player who doesn't shoot, plays solid help defence, takes charges, and passes well”.
He has acknowledged that he is a master of "smack talk".
"I'm a super competitive guy. I'm good humoured about it. I'm not mean. But if you lose, I will talk about how badly I beat you. Part of the reason was to make sure, people were not wanting to hear it and they would try really hard," he said.
He likes soul, and Eminem
Obama is a hip-hop and soul music fan, and has a popular Spotify playlist. He reportedly used Eminem's "Lose Yourself" to get hyped before his 2016 speech at the Democratic National Convention.
He's a quitter
He stopped smoking in 2011. This is the reason he gave for the decision: “I'm scared of my wife."
He may have smoked more than cigarettes
He takes his vitamins
His daily intake includes a Vitamin D supplement, a medicine (Nexium) to help control acid reflux and nicotine gum to kill occasional tobacco cravings, according to official records. He’s 1.86 meter tall and weighs about 80kg.
He's not a Trump Twitter follower
He is going to be making TV
The Obamas have signed a multi-year, multimillion deal with Netflix to produce original content, which could include a variety of different movies and shows. The content is unlikely to have heavy political themes or focus on the Obamas themselves, but will instead take on "telling the stories of individuals who the Obamas believe can guide viewers to be better citizens," according to the piece. The former president will also publish a memoir with Penguin Random House, but his wife’s book is expected first: in November 2018.
He doesn't believe in hats, mostly
Obama once said: "Here's the general rule: You don't put stuff on your head if you're president. That's politics 101. You never look good wearing something on your head."
But on his first holiday after leaving the White House, he wore a basketball cap – backwards.
He doesn't put much thought into clothes
Obama wore a blue or gray suit nearly every day of his presidency. Efficiency experts believe this was a deliberate choice. They believe that by making a habit of dressing the same each day, he saved time on decision making. This means that he had more mental energy to channel into other pursuits. Wearing a uniform has also been favoured by business leaders like the late Steve Jobs.
Since leaving office, Obama has favoured "dad jeans", which has been widely ridiculed, including in television ads by a UK department store.
He wants Will Smith to be him.
Obama would like Will Smith to play him in a movie about his time in the office. "I talked to Barack about it," Smith said. "He told me that he felt confident that I had the ears for the role."
He likes his vegetables
People like seeing him with children.
Photos of Obama with children remain wildly popular, and there's even a Twitter account and hashtag devoted to it:
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