The president sat courtside at the Carrier Classic, where No. 1 Duke beat Michigan State 67-55. First lady Michelle Obama and Medal of Honor recipient John Baca sat near the president, who talked with people sitting near him and signed some autographs -- but declined to join in a crowd wave when it reached his section in the second half.
At one point, the president gave a live interview on ESPN. At another, the game was stopped for a flag lowering ceremony.
Former NBA great Magic Johnson, on hand as a Michigan State alumnus, said the experience was a thrill.
"This is like a bucket list situation for me," Johnson said. "Just wonderful."
After the visit to the carrier, the president took off in Air Force One for Hawaii and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.