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Milwaukee Bucks add Craig Robinson as VP — you may have heard of his brother-in-law, Pres. Barack Obama

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Craig Robinson might be Michelle Obama’s brother, but don’t let that overshadow his credentials as a former player, coach and businessman.

The Obama Family Watches U. Maryland v. Oregon State Basketball Game Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On Monday, the Bucks announced the hiring of Craig Robinson (not that one) as their new Vice President of Player and Organizational Development, a role meant to help the Bucks better develop their young talent personally and professionally, both now and into their post-playing days.

On paper, the former Ivy League player of the year seems uniquely suited to the challenge: after a star career at Princeton and brief playing career overseas, Robinson later spent a decade as a successful trader and investment banker before returning to basketball as an assistant at Northwestern and head coach at Brown and Oregon State. In short, he has the sort of diverse pedigree as a player, coach and businessman that would seem to make him uniquely qualified to show basketball players what it takes to make it in life — both on and off the court.

Oh, and did we mention Robinson is also the brother of Michelle Obama and brother-in-law of a certain President of the United State Barack Obama? Yeah, Robinson is also that, which necessarily makes him an even more interesting addition to the Bucks’ organization — especially considering that Obama has mused about the possibility of joining an NBA ownership group after he leaves office in January 2017.

Here’s the details of Robinson’s new gig courtesy of the Bucks’ press release:

"Player development is instrumental to the success of our players on the court and their valuable impact in the community," said Bucks co-owner Wes Edens. "We strive to equip every member of our organization with the tools they need to find personal success beyond basketball. As we continue to build a world-class franchise, we’re thrilled to have someone with Craig’s experience and character join our team and help our players reach their full potential on and off the court."

Robinson will oversee the development and implementation of programs that support the professional and personal growth of players through education, mentorship, business and community efforts that align with the mission and goals of the Bucks organization.

"It’s so important to surround our young players with talented and experienced people that can help mentor and guide them through the different stages of their careers," said General Manager John Hammond. "Craig has an impressive set of qualifications that we feel will be beneficial to our players and our entire organization. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to the Bucks family."

A Chicago native, Robinson was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year at Princeton University where he graduated with a degree in sociology. After a brief professional basketball career overseas, Robinson returned to his hometown to get his first experience as an assistant coach at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He left the sidelines to pursue a graduate degree in finance (M.B.A.) from the University of Chicago and went on to a career in finance and banking.

Robinson returned to the hardwood in 1999, joining Northwestern University as an assistant coach until he was named head coach at Brown University in 2006. After a two-year stint at Brown, he was named head coach at Oregon State University (2008-14) where his 93 wins made him the fourth-winningest coach in program history.

As noted, Robinson seems exceptionally qualified to take on this kind of hybrid role, but it’s the Obama connection that will of course make this of some national interest as well. I probably don’t need to tell you that Obama is the biggest hoops junkie to inhabit the Oval Office, and ironically his pick-up playing with Robinson served as an early test in his courtship with the First Lady.

Of course, Obama’s connections with the Bucks also go well beyond Robinson’s new role. Owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan are big ticket Democratic fundraisers, Obama has met with the team on at least two occasions, and Milwaukee is just a 90-minute drive from Obama’s hometown of Chicago. So if Obama does opt to pursue a role with an NBA team, the Bucks make as much sense as any franchise, and the benefits for the Bucks would be something of a no-brainer, too. Ex-presidents tend to be useful allies in anything, and that’d be especially true for an ownership group navigating the business, social and political challenges of rebuilding a large chunk of downtown Milwaukee — especially in light of Milwaukee’s broader challenges as a city.

And as for the basketball side of things...well, is there a more compelling figure you could drop into an NBA free agent pitch meeting than Barack Obama? No matter what your politics might be, having Obama on board in any capacity would elevate the Bucks’ perception around the league, a task that Lasry, Edens and Dinan have made a top priority since buying the club in 2014. For now, adding Robinson hopefully takes them another step further in the right direction — irrespective of his brother-in-law’s future.