Obama’s basketball buddies revealed
When he’s on the basketball court, Barack Obama isn’t concerned about statistics. Most reports of the president’s on-court play, including one in the new Vanity Fair article from acclaimed writer Michael Lewis, mention his tough defense and careful shot selection. In other words, he’s not a stat-sheet filler.
There is one interesting metric that often goes unnoticed: In his first two years in office, the president played twice as much golf as he did basketball. CBS Radio’s Mark Knoller counted 57 rounds for Obama versus 28 basketball games through 2010.
That stat gets buried because presidents playing golf has been done. In the past 60 years, the only president who hasn’t played the game is Jimmy Carter. No one wants to hear that story again — except, perhaps, the opposition leaders who inevitably grumble about the outings. A president who plays basketball, or one who mountain bikes like George W. Bush, allows for a new narrative.
That’s why Lewis asked to play in Obama’s regular basketball game. There’s so much written about the president and his love of basketball, but precious little is known about the now-legendary pickup games that are played on courts across the Washington D.C. area. Lewis tried to fell in some of the blanks.
He writes of the game like it’s a meeting of the basketball Avengers. Everyone is bigger, faster, stronger and younger than the 50-year-old Obama. They’re mostly former college players, Lewis writes, including one who played point guard at Florida State. The president could get a game that’s more his speed, but the “ridiculously challenging” game is the one he wants to play.
Is Obama really hooping it up in a virtual all-star game every week? Did Lewis oversell the talent on the court? Or did the White House use ringers knowing a Vanity Fair writer would be there?
Yes, yes, and (probably) yes.
The identities of Obama’s pickup mates aren’t well known, but after combing through hundreds of news articles from the past few years, we were able to find some participants. Most of the … [For more on Obama's basketball buddies revealed, click here.]