Philippines, 24 May 2018
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Pres. Obama and Basketball

MANILA(PNA) - Basketball has been an important part of newly-re-elected U.S. President Barack Obama's life, from his childhood days in the Island of Hawaii, to his years at Harvard Law School. From where he lived to the sprawling campus of the prestigious Punahou School, Obama could often be seen carrying books in one hand and dribbling a basketball in the other. Called “ Barry O’Bomber” for his jump shot, He would helped his alma mater to the state championship. Even today, the now head of the world’s most powerful nation brings to the White House qualities that teammates and other old friends remember seeing on the court.

It’s no surprise then that when he was first elected the first avid basketball enthusiast Chief Executive in 2008, Obama, a look-alike of Governor’s Cup champion Rain or Shine Fil-Am stalwart Gabe Norwood in the PBA, hired a team of cabinet members and aides with serious basketball background either for playing in college and amateur and pro-leagues, including the NBA.

“I think we’re putting together the best basketball-playing cabinet in American history,” the President-elect was quoted as saying by in a press conference prior to assuming his post. "I could play basketball, with a consuming passion that would always exceed my limited talent," Obama wrote in his memoir.
And it looks like his next inner circle will again be filled with players who remained permanent fixtures of his retinue that played pickup games in whichever cities h visited in his first term in the Oval office in his four years. Among those mentioned to be retained is Arne Duncan, the former captain of the Harvard basketball team and current secretary of education. He played pro-ball in Australia. Samantha Power, an Irish-American special assistant to Obama and runs the Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, is, in fact, the very first in the President’s inner circle to announce her intention to be of service in his next term. As described by the Washington Post, Obama’s regular basketball buddies are in their 40s, or roughly 28 years old, averaging six and a half feet tall, and the possessor of a 30-inch vertical leap. They include, to mention a few, vice president Joseph Biden, who once managed the freshman basketball team at Archmere Academy in Claymont, Delaware; Retired Gen. James Jones a 6-foot-4 nominee for national security advisor and star-forward for Georgetown University in the 60s; Susan Rice, then nominee as ambassador to the United Nations and a point-guard for the National Cathedral School in Washington

The group is made up of serious basketball players who come together three or four times each week. Obama joins when he can.

Most played pro, but not the President, the Washington Post reported, mostly in Europe and Asia. Naming former athletes and sportsmen in key positions in the U.S. government is not new though. Many presidents have found it politically expedient to bring along favored sport to the White House. Teddy Roosevelt boxed and practiced judo and, according to presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, maintained his heavy set of paraphernalia in presidential residence. John F. Kennedy favored touch football. George H. W. Bush hosted high-powered tennis matches, while George W. Bush had gone mountain-biking with his group he called “Peloton One.” President Richard Nixon embraced bowling as means of connecting with working-class voters.

Click here to view a list of other articles written by Eddie Alinea.

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