NEW ORLEANS — This is the only sign I saw in Texas’ fan section on Thursday night:
Glad they’ve let that whole Mark Ingram thing go.
(SI.com’s Joe Lemire — who’s sitting beside me in press row — checks in a with a Tourney Blog guest post …)
NEW ORLEANS — Regardless of what happens to Texas in the NCAA tournament, Dexter Pittman may be going to the White House this summer.
A presidential invitation is an honor typically reserved only for the national champions, but Pittman, Texas’ senior forward, has been contacted by First Lady Michelle Obama’s staff about possibly traveling to D.C. after the school year to discuss “Let’s Move,” her initiative to fight childhood obesity.
The 6-foot-10 Pittman weighed 390 pounds during his senior season at Rosenberg (Texas) High, but with great self-discipline and helpful guidance from team trainer Todd Wright has lost nearly a hundred pounds, checking in now at under 300. As the story of his personal transformation has been told in the media — even on this site last March — hundreds of overweight children and teenagers have contacted Pittman for advice on how they, too, can get in better shape.
“I’ve read about the program [Obama] is trying to launch, and I’m very excited to help,” Pittman said Wednesday at New Orleans Arena.
Pittman said the connection was made because a good family friend knows Reggie Love, President Obama’s personal aide and a former Duke basketball player.
The grid of photos before-and-after photos below show just how far Pittman has come: The two on the left were taken in June 2006, just prior to the start of Pittman’s freshman year, and the two on the right were taken in October 2008, as he entered his junior year.