White House needs a hoop

November 09, 2008|By kevin cowherd | kevin cowherd,kevin.cowherd@baltsun.com

Barack Obama, you have your work cut out for you.

The economy is in tatters. The war in Iraq is in limbo. Health care needs reforming. The environment is sick - every day another polar bear drifts out to sea on an ice floe because of global warming. Or so they say.

But once you're sworn in as the 44th president of the United States, here's one of the first things you should do: put up a basketball hoop at the White House.

Put it right out there in the driveway for all to see, too.

I say this because finally we have a president who plays a real sport.

Your immediate predecessors played all those la-dee-da sports, remember?

A few were golfers. A couple were joggers. This president we have now rides a mountain bike, and look how that's worked out for the country.

But you, sir, play basketball. The great American game. And you're serious about it. Not to mention slightly superstitious about it, too.

During your primary wars with Hillary Clinton, two of your losses came on days you skipped your afternoon pickup games.

So on Election Day, to ensure good karma, you played two hours of full-court hoops with friends in Chicago.

As a fellow basketball junkie, I salute you.

And I urge you not to give up the game just because you'll be a little busy with your new job.

A basketball hoop at the White House would at least allow you to shoot around or play a little one-on-one to stay sharp.

And what a symbol it would be for the American people! Put down those remotes, get off your big fat butts and get some exercise - that's what a basketball hoop at the White House would say.

If you're wondering where to buy the basketball hoop, here's my advice: Head over to Sears.

I was just there and they have a pretty good selection of portable hoops. The one for $249.99 seems like a deal. It comes with a great warranty, too, in case you get elected to a second term. And if you use your Sears card, you save 10 percent.

OK, so you buy the basket, have them load it in the back of the presidential limo, and go back to the White House.

But now you can't just go out and start shooting hoops. Didn't you notice those three little words on the box: some assembly required?

And let me tell you: These portable hoops can be a pain to set up.

Generally you need a wrench and a screwdriver and you have to figure out where all these nuts and bolts go. Plus the directions can be confusing.

Get somebody on the maintenance crew to put it together. Look, you're the president of the United States! You don't have to do that stuff anymore.

And don't feel bad about the expense, either. Budget-wise, 250 bucks for a basketball hoop is peanuts. Dick Cheney spent more on shotgun ammo.

Once you put up the nice new hoop, you watch, it'll definitely get a lot of use.

If you're meeting with visiting dignitaries and have some time to kill, take them out to the driveway for a game of H-O-R-S-E.

Believe me, they'll love it. Basketball is the universal game. Everyone from the president of Togo to the prime minister of Australia would enjoy shooting hoops with you.

Oh, sure, there might be one or two killjoys who don't want to play.

Vladimir Putin doesn't look like much of a hoopster.

And Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has really porked up - he looks like he'd rather be in a buffet line than shooting hoops.

But most of these world leaders would probably appreciate getting outdoors for some exercise and fresh air in the midst of their talks with you.

If nothing else, it gives them something different to do at the White House.

Let's face it, how many times can you tour the Rose Garden and pretend to be interested?

Here's another thing: In the unlikely event that it's a slow day at the White House and you have no one to shoot hoops with, you could always give me a call.

Heck, I'm only about 45 miles away. I can be there in no time.

Oh, I can't run full court anymore, on account of a bad knee and hip.

But I can still shoot lights out. No disrespect intended, sir, but you don't want to play me in H-O-R-S-E for money.

If we played for money, you'd lose every time.

Then, after we were through, you'd have to go back inside the White House and shout: "Michelle, where's the checkbook? The fat guy from Baltimore beat me again."

That's no way to start your new administration. Maybe we should just play for fun.

Put up the hoop and we'll figure it all out.

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