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Their tongues will droop. They’ll wimper and gush all over themselves at the chance to say they met the ballplayers.
WHICH IS PARTICULARLY ironic, because most athletes I have met are usually self-centered enough that they could care less about government. There are the exceptions, but usually meeting a pol leaves little impression upon them.
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So I found it fitting, in a way, to learn of a new video game persona from Germany who put together an animated video segment of a star basketball player showing off his moves.
That “player,” as it turns out, is meant to be Barack Obama. As in our nation’s former president.
The NBA 2K video makes the former president out to be some sort of athletic stud, while having him say, “I am no longer (president), And for that reason, it is time for me to pursue my true passion: basketball.”
I SUSPECT THAT Obama will be flattered to learn of the video snippet. It probably feeds an image of himself he kept in the back of his head. How he could have been a big-time ballplayer, “if only” he hadn’t have chosen public service and electoral politics over basketball.
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Which, of course, is a myth.
I remember the one time I met Obama’s brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, who at the time was the head basketball coach at Oregon State University.
Robinson himself was a professional ballplayer in European leagues, compared to Obama’s stint as a high school player in Hawaii who played a bit for one year while attending Occidental College in Los Angeles.
AS ROBINSON SAID of his sister Michelle’s spouse, “I’m a basketball player. He played in high school.”
While in an interview for an alumni magazine, professor Eric Newhall said, “I think Occidental’s greatest contribution to American politics lies in persuading Barack Obama that his future did not lie in basketball.”
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Which makes me wonder if the now-former president will make sure he has a copy of the video, something he can turn to in order to bolster his fantasies of, “what could have been.”
Yet I have to admit this whole thing isn’t that odd. I recall a few years ago when APBA International, Inc., the manufacturer of a board game allowing people to simulate Major League baseball games, made a special edition that they presented to then-President George W. Bush.
IN THAT SPECIAL edition, they included a player card depicting Bush as a ballplayer, specifically a pitcher. It was based off the statistics Bush racked up back when he played ball for Yale University.
At least that card depicted Bush for what he really was, a fringe ballplayer in the Ivy League whom no one ever mistook for a professional prospect. They certainly didn’t give the same impression of Bush, the ballplayer, as the video gives of Obama the b-baller. In fact, Bush's most significant baseball accomplishment came when he was the Texas Rangers' owner in the 1990s who used his family political connections to urge Texas Legislature officials to build the Rangers a new stadium!
Bush and Obama weren’t the only presidents with athletic aspirations. Let’s not forget that Gerald R. Ford wasn’t really a perennial klutz – he was once a Big Ten football player with Michigan
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