Reggie Love walked into his windowless office late last week and surveyed the confines. It wasn't exactly an ideal place to work, especially for someone standing 6 feet, 5 inches. A burgundy couch, desk and cabinet took up much of the floor, leaving little room to maneuver.
"The space is small," Love said. "But the real estate is valuable."
Nearly every day, Love takes a right turn out of his office, walks a few steps and opens a door to the most famous office in the world: the Oval Office. Whatever President Obama happens to need once inside, from a copy of a speech to a newspaper, Love gets for him. As the president's personal assistant – a job known as a body man – Love also keeps him on schedule, often deciding who gets the president's ear.
The 29-year-old Love hardly ever speaks on the record. But after the White House announced 12 days ago that he would be leaving his position by the end of the year to attend the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business, he granted an exclusive interview to ESPN's Rachel Nichols, providing a rare glimpse inside the president's inner circle.
Love is almost always by Obama's side, working up to 18 hours a day and often sleeping on the burgundy couch. He carries around a bag filled with anything the president might need in a pinch, like collar stays, Tide stain remover and dental products. Obama has no qualms about flossing his teeth with Love in the room.
"If he had it his way, I think he'd floss in private," Love said, noting how little time the president spends away from his closest aides. "I think the fact that he was comfortable with me is probably a product of, you know, he's beaten down. I've been around for so long."
Tune in Tuesday to "World News with Diane Sawyer" at 6:30 p.m. ET and "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. ET for Rachel Nichols' interview with Reggie Love
Affable and outgoing, Love joined Obama's Senate office in 2006. He started in the mail room and was quickly promoted to body man. But he has risen to more than a presidential aide. Obama frequently refers to Love as a little brother, making him the informal First Brother if you will.
"His ability to juggle so many responsibilities with so little sleep has been an inspiration to watch," Obama said in a statement last week. "He is the master of what he does."
One thing Love does to perfection is help make the president look hip. He taught Obama how to fist-bump, bought him a silver iPod for his birthday and introduced him to the music of Lil Wayne and Jay-Z. Last year, Obama playfully referred to Love as his "iReggie."
"The president has to deal with so many things that are heavy," Love said. "I think it's good to be able to, for him, to have some moments of levity, some moments not full-tilt. And if me being a part of (those) moments is helpful, I acknowledge and think I'm happy to do it."
The bond between Love and Obama was solidified on a basketball court. The pair played pickup games regularly during the presidential campaign, a tradition that has carried over to the South Lawn of the White House. Love, who was a star wide receiver on the football team and captain of the basketball team at Duke, rarely plays against Obama.
"Reggie is 20 years younger than me," Obama said during the campaign. "So there is no doubt that I have to have Reggie on my team. I can't be guarding Reggie."