How's Obama at hoops? His trash talk is politically correct.
President Obama plays basketball with members of congress and cabinet secretaries Thursday. He likes to push himself so hard that he once destroyed a sneaker in a pickup game.
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What is politically correct trash talk?Skip to next paragraph
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“Most of the talk was directed towards ... the guys he knows. He would have never talked trash to guys he didn’t know. That’s sort of a no-no in basketball. Like Reggie Love -- he was like, ‘C’mon Reggie, you gonna miss all night? I thought you were better than that Reggie.’ ”
So it’s motivational politically correct trash talk.
“Exactly. I turned in my A-game that day, I couldn’t miss. I almost felt bad. I couldn’t play him too aggressively, I didn’t want to break his nose with an unfortunate foul. He was pretty crafty with his left hand. Every time he got me down low, he found a way to score.”
Is it true that he likes to fake right, then go left?
“He normally likes to, what they call the up-and-under move, where he has the ball, fakes one way, waits for you to jump, then ducks under you. That was the favorite move that I noticed.”
He doesn't like to lose
Just how competitive is Obama?
“He’s pretty competitive. He was upset when they lost…. He knew the score. Every single time down, he said the score out loud. He played defense pretty hard, and he did not want to lose, let’s put it that way. After they lost the first game, they got together, tried to find a way to win. After they lost the second game, he was still pretty desperate to win. He did not wanna lose, he wanted no part of that.”
There was no ref, right?
“It’s the honor system. When you’re playing with the future leader of the free world, it’s the honor system times three. Most of the time, when you’re playing pickup basketball, you’re trying to get away with as much as you possibly can, but when you’re playing with him, you almost call a foul on yourself. ‘Yeah, I traveled, I’m sorry….’ It was really odd, I’m not used to playing that way, where you’re incredibly honest. It’s almost like a bunch of pro golfers playing basketball. The honor system reins supreme.”
When Obama came back to Denver in August 2008 to accept the Democratic nomination, Lombardi got a call. How bout another game with Obama? Uh, yeah!
“He’s got an amazing memory,” says Lombardi. “He had met me once. He came up to me, remembered my name, remembered my game, described my game to his friends…. Considering how many people he has played basketball with, that’s amazing.”
Turns out, that second time – the day of the nomination speech – Obama didn’t really play.
“His aides wouldn’t let him,” Lombardi says. “He sort of shot around, and he gave a little play-by-play of what was going on, because a lot of his friends were there. Most of the guys that played basketball with him in years past, high school buddies, guys from Chicago, they were all there.”
The White House Thursday night pickup list:
Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Shaun Donovan
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar
Rep. Mike Arcuri (D) of New York
Rep. John Boccieri (D) of Ohio
Rep. Brad Ellsworth (D) of Indiana
Rep. Jeff Flake (R) of Arizona
Rep. Baron Hill (D) of Indiana
Rep. Jay Inslee (D) of Washington
Rep. Frank Kratovil (D) of Maryland
Rep. Rick Larsen (D) of Washington
Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) of Pennsylvania
Rep. John Shimkus (R) of Illinois
Rep. Heath Shuler (D) of North Carolina
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