History and Hoops on the USS Carl Vinson

SAN DIEGO, CA — President Obama later today will stand on the flight deck of a particularly noteworthy aircraft carrier — the one from which Osama bin Laden’s corpse was sent to Davy Jones’ Locker. There the president willl make remarks honoring veterans.

But the president’s comments, on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson, have nothing to do with the dead terrorist.

Rather, the president will be speaking before tip-off of the first college basketball game to be played on the deck of an aircraft carrier.

The sponsor of the event, Quicken Loans, says, “This event is more than two great basketball teams coming together to play in an incredible environment. It’s a way to recognize and support the service of the members of the Armed Forces, the veterans and their families and all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.”

The Navy hopes that the first “Carrier Classic” will become an annual event. Today’s game — presidential remarks at 4:05 p.m. Pacific, tip-off at 4:15 p.m. — is a re-match of the 2009 NCAA Championship game, pitting the winner of that game, the University of North Carolina Tar Heels against the Michigan State University Spartans. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Honorary captains of the teams will be UNC alumnus and former Los Angeles Laker James Worthy, and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who attended Michigan State for two years before joining the Lakers.

Here’s a pretty cool eight-day time-lapse video of the deck of the USS Carl Vinson being prepared for today’s game, with the erection of 7,000-seat bleachers and a hardwood basketball court.

On May 2, 2011, bin Laden’s corpse was buried at sea from the deck of the Nimitz-class supercarrier. According to the military, in accordance with Muslim law, within 24 hours of his death, bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a sheet, and the appropriate religious remarks were made. Then it was put in a weighted bag and slid into the North Arabian Sea.

-Jake Tapper

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