In an exclusive interview with CNN, Reggie Love, the man by President Barack Obama’s side for two years in the White House, said the president leads like he plays basketball. It is a very interesting analogy but having never seen our president play basketball, I wasn’t sure if it was complimentary, insulting, or exactly what that meant. I have seen video clips of him playing golf and throwing a baseball and I know that was not pretty. Love himself offered little clarification citing only the president’s well documented cool demeanor and his competitive nature. Seeking further clarification, I sought to gain insight from some other reference, I than found a very recent article from Tucker Max. Tucker attended the University of Chicago from 1995 to 1998. This happened to coincide with the period that Barack Obama was a lecturer at the law school. During this time, Max claims that he played basketball with Obama probably 500 times. If anyone could tell us with specificity how Obama plays basketball, it was this guy.
Mr. Max did not disappoint. In his article “”What it’s like to play basketball with Obama”, he breaks down Barry’s game in detail. The Obama basketball scouting report states that;
“First thing: He’s a solid basketball player, one of the best professors who played with us. He’s not great, but he isn’t just out there for show. He can play a little.”
“But I didn’t fear him at all, not as a defender or an offensive player. I knew I could check him. I knew he couldn’t stop me. I couldn’t leave him as a defender and roam the perimeter for steals, but if I stayed close to him, I would shut him down without much problem, and that was true for most of the undergrads who were good.”
“I do remember that he had a good understanding of the game. He knew when to backdoor cut, how to pick and roll, when to take his man away so you could drive, how to block out for rebounds, etc. And he would hit open jumpshots if left alone. He was not some doofus out there trying to get exercise. He understood the basics of basketball very well, which is better than most people who play pick-up. Just this knowledge of the game made him fun to play with.”
“But the thing is, even though he knew the basics and could execute them, his performance wasn’t anything beyond that. He didn’t have what basketball players call ‘old man game.’ Old guys who have that know every trick, use every advantage, and kill your youth and quickness with their guile and strength. That wasn’t Barack. He would beat you if given space, but if you played even half decent defense on him, you could take him out of the game.”
“He played point guard a lot, but I don’t remember him as a dominant court leader, controlling the flow of the game. I cannot ever remember him being anything other than a solid player, someone who understood the game well and did most of the right things, but never did much of anything to stand out. I can’t think of a game winning shot he hit, or a game he just took over, or anything like that. Then again, I can’t think of him blowing a game either, or making some horrible mistake. He was just a very good role player to have on your team.”
So there you have it, doesn’t sound like the kind of person you want leading the most powerful nation in the world, does it? Sure. he would be fine as the mayor of some medium-sized city or even the dictator of some banana republic, but not the leader of the free world.
The funny thing is that Tucker Max then makes a statement that is eerily similar to the folks I have been seeing in the latest political ads. You know, the ones with various individuals, I think they are called “switchers”, who had voted for Obama in 2008 but are now going to vote for Romney due to their disappointment in Obama’s performance and policies. Listen to how Mr. Max, like the “switchers”, anticipated much more from Obama than he ever delivered.
“Weirdest thing about him — I always thought he would be better than he was. I mean, here was this guy, in good shape, relatively young (mid 30s at the time, I think) clearly likes and knows the game, and is black (so there’s the quasi-racist assumption that he’s good at basketball)… but he was never that great. Even after I knew the limits of his game, I always half-expected one day he would just decide to turn it on and light everyone up, but it never happened. He had everything that you’d think would make him great, and he definitely looked the part, but he never really turned that look into serious production in an actual game. I saw so many people pick him first, and then get burned because he didn’t play up to that pick.