Guy Who Elbowed Obama in the Mouth Got a Souvenir Out of It

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President Barack Obama (R) walks to his car with Secret Service Agents after a game of basketball with friends and aides on November 26, 2010 at Fort McNair in Washington, DC. Obama is holding a piece of gauze to his lip after he was injured during the game. Obama got 12 stitches in his lip after the game with Reggie Love and members of his family. White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gave the following statement: "After being inadvertently hit with an opposing player's elbow in the lip while playing basketball with friends and family, the President received 12 stitches today administered by the White House Medical Unit. They were done in the doctor's office located on the ground floor of the White House." The medical unit that treated Obama used a smaller filament than typically used, which increases the number of stitches but makes a tighter stitch and results in a smaller scar. Obama was given a local anesthetic while receiving the stitches.
Photo: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

After almost three years of public silence, Reynaldo "Nice Guy Rey" Decerega has finally delivered a dramatic retelling of the time he elbowed Barack Obama in the lip during a pickup basketball game, requiring stitches for both men. "He was crowding me," Decerega explained to the Boston Globe, taking care to note it was "solid defense," not dirty play from the president. "So I swung the ball from my left side to my right side," he continued, comparing the immediate aftermath of the contact to "a car accident" and "almost an out-of-body experience." After writing an apology note to the White House and proceeding to lay low, Decerega received a framed triptych of photographs from the moment — "Him guarding me, me swinging through, and then him holding his mouth" — along with an inscription: "For Rey, the only guy that ever hit the president and never got arrested. Barack." He was not, however, invited to play again.