WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama pulled together an informal dream team of current and former basketball superstars Sunday. But only a few people got to see it.

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and other NBA all-stars joined Obama in Washington to entertain wounded troops.

The present-day stars were joined by some retired legends, including Bill Russell and Magic Johnson. College player Maya Moore of the Connecticut Huskies women’s team also played.

The game was played for a group of “wounded warriors” – troops injured in action – and participants in the White House’s mentoring program. It took place at a gym inside Washington’s Fort McNair, a short drive from the White House. The president was inside the gym for about two hours.

The reporters assigned to keep tabs on the president were shut out of the gym, forced to wait in vans outside. Asked why media coverage was blocked, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Obama “just wanted to play.”

After the game some of the players joined Obama and a group of his friends for a barbecue at the White House, capping the president’s 49th birthday week.

A small tent and tables decorated with sunflowers and yellow and white tablecloths were set up on the South Lawn. The White House said the meal included shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico.

Bankrupt? Duchess of York hopes not

LONDON – Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, says she is doing everything she can to avoid declaring bankruptcy over business debts.

The former wife of Prince Andrew said in a statement Sunday that she has paid off all her personal debts.

The statement was issued in a response to a front-page report in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper citing unidentified royal sources discussing the dire state of her finances.

Ferguson publicly admitted being in serious debt after she was secretly recorded by the News of the World tabloid offering to sell press access to her ex-husband for cash.

Popular character actor relishes leading role

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Respected character actor Steve Buscemi says it’s only in his “wildest” dreams that he saw himself as a leading man.

But that’s just what Buscemi is in the new HBO series “Boardwalk Empire,” set in Prohibition-era Atlantic City, N.J. Buscemi stars as a politician maneuvering his way through 1920s corruption, violence and romance.

At a meeting Saturday of the Television Critics Association, Buscemi recalled thinking he was glad he’d read the script because he would have been unhappy to lose the role.

“Boardwalk Empire,” starring Buscemi and Scottish actress Kelly Macdonald, debuts Sept. 19 on HBO with an episode directed by Martin Scorsese, who’s an executive producer for the series.

Spike Lee doubts report

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Filmmaker Spike Lee is calling a “lie” a U.S. government report that 75 percent of the spilled Gulf Coast oil is gone.

Speaking to a meeting of the Television Critics Association on Saturday, Lee said journalists should expose what he called the real story. He argued that it’s unlikely that “abracadabra, presto chango” the vast majority of the oil has vanished from Gulf of Mexico waters and coastal wetlands.

Federal scientists said last week that nearly three-quarters of the oil has been removed by various artificial or natural means, but that the spill’s effect on wildlife will long continue.

Lee was promoting his new documentary about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. “If God is Willing and Da Creek Don’t Rise,” a follow-up to his 2006 film, debuts Aug. 23 and 24 on HBO.