Saturday, October 4, 2008

Barack Obama: Love & basketball

George W. Bush had running for a while. Then it was mountain biking. Bill Clinton made it look like he tried to jog. Jimmy Carter actually did jog -- and even collapsed in a road race. Ronald Reagan went to the ranch for his workouts. Old man Bush golfed and boated. Right now, we don't know what John McCain does for exercise, but we do know what Barack Obama likes to do. Basketball. Loves basketball. The Los Angeles Times reports in a front page story that it has even played an important role in Obama's success (if you are superstitious) on the campaign trail.

    Obama and his crew skipped the election day games in New Hampshire and Nevada -- and lost the balloting in both states. Was there a connection?

    "He was trying to figure out what we did differently in Iowa," said Eric Whitaker, a friend since graduate school at Harvard. "He said, 'We played basketball in Iowa, and we didn't play in New Hampshire and Nevada. We have to start playing again.'

    "We've played every primary day ever since."

    Old friends from Chicago have flown in just to play. To round out the teams, Obama plucks a few athletically inclined aides and any stray players who happen to be in the gym that day. Games might last an hour or two, with two teams of five squaring off as Secret Service agents stand guard. The public and the press are usually barred.
The only time they forced him to sit out a game is on the day he was to deliver a speech at the Democratic Convention in August. No one wanted him to take a elbow to the face in a game and show up accepting the nomination with a bruised cheek.

Here's Obama playing basketball with ESPN's Stuart Scott. By the end of the interview, Scott was out of breathe.

No comments: