Friday, June 01, 2007

Obama's game

This NYT story about Barack Obama's pickup basketball games is quite entertaining, but man it is not shy about drawing one-to-one comparisons between the senator's on-court game to his political career. But the tone is light, and at least reporter Jodi Kantor cops to what she's doing upfront:
From John F. Kennedy's sailing to Bill Clinton's golf mulligans to John Kerry's windsurfing, sports has been used, correctly or incorrectly, as a personality decoder for presidents and presidential aspirants. So, armchair psychologists and fans of athletic metaphors, take note: Barack Obama is a wily player of pickup basketball, the version of the game with unspoken rules, no referee and lots of elbows. He has been playing since adolescence, on cracked-asphalt playgrounds and at exclusive health clubs, developing a quick offensive style, a left-handed jump shot and relationships that have extended into the political arena. [...]

The men -- and it is generally men -- who play with Mr. Obama are not, they will have you know, the paunchy, lumbering type. "Most of the guys who played in our little circle are former players in college or pros," said Mr. Robinson, who is still Princeton's fourth-leading scorer of all time. "They're real high level."

Mr. Obama cannot match their technical prowess, say those who played regularly with him. But he is fiercely competitive, and makes up for his deficits with collaboration and strategy. "He's very good at finding a way to win when he's playing with people who are supposedly stronger," Mr. Nesbitt said.
(Emphasis added.) Good at finding a way to beat "people" who are supposedly stronger...hmmm...I wonder if there's an analogue to that in his political life... Nah! Can't think of one!

1 comment:

the cold cowboy said...

wily, adj.: deceitful, treacherous.

i don't mind the sports metaphors but what's the deal with calling him a "wily" player of pickup basketball? it makes him sound like he has henchmen strategically place banana peels on the court to win.

jodi kantor is an enemy.