News & Politics

Obama’s Basketball Dream Team

Basketball junkie Barack Obama has to assemble a new gang for pickup games. Here’s a dream team—good players who’d also be good company.

Ivan Carter The Washington Post’s Wizards-beat writer could share NBA gossip.

Mark Warner The newly elected Democratic senator—whose landslide November win helped Obama take Virginia—hosts pickup games and loves to trash talk.

Reggie Love Obama’s personal assistant and workout partner was a Duke football and basketball player.

Eric Holder Obama’s choice for attorney general captained his high-school basketball team in New York City. Former Bullets star Jeff Malone is his wife’s nephew.

Richard Danzig The Obama defense adviser and former secretary of the Navy was captain of the basketball team at Reed College, a liberal-arts school not known for sports. (“I think we played high-school teams,” Danzig says.) At 64, he still plays in Sunday pickup games at DC’s Sidwell Friends.

James Jones The leading candidate to be Obama’s national-security adviser is 65, but he’s also six-foot-five and played at Georgetown.

Bill Bradley Obama’s game mixes the cerebral cool and fiery competitiveness that are trademarks of the former senator and New York Knicks star.

Baron Hill The Indiana congressman’s high-school exploits put him in the state’s basketball hall of fame. A Blue Dog Democrat, he threw his support to Obama before the nomination was clinched.

John Thune Republican Thune, a former Senate colleague, will be a formidable roadblock for White House initiatives. Would a few friendly games blunt that opposition? The South Dakotan played hoops at a Christian college in California.

Steve Goins The University of Maryland freshman played high-school ball not far from Obama’s home in Chicago.

Rick Larsen The Washington-state Democrat is a regular in the House gym. He’s already pushed to join Obama on the court, saying, “There’s a short list of members of Congress who can go up and down the basketball court, and he should call me.”

Kristi Toliver At a campaign stop at the University of Maryland, Obama told the powerhouse women’s basketball team, “I’ve still got game.” Toliver, a senior guard, is the team’s star.

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This article first appeared in the January 2009 issue of The Washingtonian. For more articles from that issue, click here