President Obama fist-bumps personal aide Reggie Love in the Oval Office… (Pete Souza / White House )
Reggie Love, a fixture at President Obama's side dating back to his time as an Illinois senator, will be the latest longtime aide to depart the White House this year, officials confirmed Thursday.
A former Duke University basketball and football player, Love got his start as a staff assistant in Obama's Senate office in 2005. For almost five years, in both the campaign and at the White House, he's served as Obama's "body man," a role popularized by the character Charlie Young in the NBC drama "West Wing."
Love's days in the White House start early and often end late, and his duties require him to be at Obama's side wherever he goes, often carrying his "stuff." He's a regular partner of the president's on the basketball court -- Obama has said one of his favorite photos is the one showing him blocking a Love shot during a pickup game in New York.
"Over the years, Reggie has been a friend, a teammate, and an indispensable member of my staff," the president said in a statement. "His ability to juggle so many responsibilities with so little sleep has been an inspiration to watch. He is the master of what he does."
In addition to his many and varied duties in the West Wing, Love has been enrolled in an executive MBA program at the Wharton School of Business. Officials say he's leaving to pursue his degree full time.
"Even though I will miss seeing Reggie every day, I want to thank him for his service and wish him all the best as he begins a new chapter in his career," Obama said.
In a recent interview, Love named some of his foreign travels with the president -- including a trip to the pyramids in Egypt -- as highlights of his time in the White House.
Love, who works just outside the Oval Office in the West Wing, said that his proximity to the president has certainly brought the two closer, and called Obama a "mentoring figure."
"But at the same time, he's definitely still my boss."