Today is Barack Obama’s final full day as president of the United States. His historic election in 2008 as the 44th and first African-American president of this country elicited pride and a sense of self-determination among countless people of color around the world.

Despite one’s perspective and opinions on his social and political ideology, Obama represented himself, his family and this country with class and dignity. He served as a shining example for millions of children—adults as well—aspiring to achieve lofty heights in the face of unfavorable probabilities.

A signature of Obama’s presidency was his unrestrained love of sports. In this regard he was an everyday man, feeling anger, disappointment, frustration and joy that are inherent in being a sports fan. Like us, he would second-guess a coach’s decision, criticize a player for taking a questionable jump shot or throwing an ill-advised pass and incredulously shake his head in response to a foolish tweet or Instagram posting by an athlete.

As it is with all presidents, his political legacy will not be clearly defined until years and decades after he leaves office. But what is unambiguous is that Obama had a more significant impact on athletes and sports than any president in this nation’s existence. This assertion can’t be quantified, but qualitatively there should be little argument.

“He is someone who this generation of athletes could truly relate to,” said Ernie Myers to this reporter yesterday. “President Obama speaks the language of athletes. He is young, has swag and commands the respect and ear of athletes not just because of the power he holds, but because he is an authentic sports fan.

“Athletes knew he watched the games,” Myers continued, “that he knew who they were, was knowledgeable about sports and understood the importance of sports to society. He moved a lot of athletes to rethink their place and significance in society.”

A former New York City high school basketball star and All-American at Tolentine High School in the Bronx in the early 1980s, Myers was a freshman standout on the legendary 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack team that won the NCAA Men’s Championship led by their iconic head coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993. More than 33 years later, that Wolfpack group was finally honored by Obama at a White House ceremony last May.

“It was really special,” said Myers, who attended the occasion. “With all the people he has touched and inspired, he made us feel as if in some way we were an inspiration to him. I mean, he told us he watched the ESPN documentary on our team and recalled exactly where he was when he was watching the game-winning shot. For us, that was very meaningful.”

Obama understood and reminded professional athletes of their responsibilities as role models (Charles Barkley’s declaration that athletes aren’t role models be damned). He put into context the utility of their economic, social and political influence, and he encouraged them to exercise it to better their communities and society at large.

He was a champion of reforming athletic policies, such as the inequity between student-athletes and the college administrators and coaches who handsomely benefit from their talent.

“What does frustrate me is where I see coaches getting paid millions of dollars, athletic directors getting paid millions of dollars, the NCAA making huge amounts of money, and then some kid gets a tattoo or gets a free use of a car and suddenly they’re banished,” Obama said an in interview with the Huffington Post in 2015. “That’s not fair.”

There are so many unique elements of Obama that make it likely we won’t experience a president remotely similar to him for perhaps another two generations or longer, the definition of generation here being a period of 25 years.

He is indeed a remarkable man. A true president of sports.