Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

"This One", "That One", and Alexi's B-Balling Obama Days

Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

     

    We read the heavy hardbacks so you don't have to!

    As anyone who's watched a cable TV news program lately can tell you, today marks the release of "The Promise", Jonathan Alter's inside account of the first year of Obama's presidency.

    Ward Room's already told you about the excerpt on what Rahm said about being recorded by the FBI during the Blagojevich scandal -- "I didn't drop the f*ckin' f-bomb once!". Today, the choicest excerpt that includes our very own Alexi Giannoulias.

    Straight from page 36: 

    Obama flew to Indiana  to campaign on Election Day ... Obama spent most of the short flight working with Nesbitt on a top priority: the rosters for the four teams for that afternoon's basketball games, to be held at the Attack Gym on Chicago's West Side. Basketball on election days had been a superstition ever since the New Hampshire primary, where Obama skipped playing and lost to Hillary Clinton in an upset. This time he had the youngest team but was convinced that Nesbitt  had the best players and had rigged the line ups.

    It was a great honor to be asked to play, a sign that you were good enough on the court and that the soon-to-be president liked you. Senator Bob Casey, who had bonded with Obama during the Pennsylvania primary , flew in, as did Julius Genachowski, a new-media expert and baskedball buddy from Harvad Law School who would son head the Federal Communications Commission. Alexi Giannoulias, the Illinois State Treasure, had special jerseys made up labeled "This One" and "That One," a sly reference to McCain calling Obama "that one" in the first debate.

    In the first game Obama's team lost on a three-pointer, but they won the second game against the team captained by Arne Duncan, the Chicago schools superintendent and future education secretary who had played professionally in Australia.

    ... the games were hard-fought as usual, but the skiny point guard was given an extra couple of inches when he drove to the basket. "It was the only time we all backed off a little bit -- nobody wanted to give him a black eye," Duncan said.