Jun2120099:47 am

Basketball as the new golf


“What’s the hottest invite in Washington?” former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers asks… “It’s a pickup game with Obama. That’s the inner, inner, inner sanctum.”

A terrific article from Wright Thompson at ESPN on the nature of networking in Washington—and how Obama’s love of basketball has made after-work and weekend pickup games the best place to advance your career and your political agenda. It’s long but full of great moments, especially if you like sports or are interested in the inner workings of DC, or both.

One of my favorite insights from the piece is how a game of basketball, unlike the small, privileged foursome that comprises a round of golf, is disarmingly informal (trash-talking abounds and once on the court, everyone is the same, no matter your rank or position) and far more inclusive, giving even the lowly interns and assistants a chance to get their feet in the door:

This is the dramatic difference between basketball and golf. Nobody’s taking an intern to play golf at Congressional Country Club. Basketball is much more democratic. During a break, [Sen. Bob] Casey is talking to scheduler Courtenay Lewis, explaining that she should treat him like anyone else.

“I fouled you, and you didn’t call it on me,” he says.

“Well …”

“You should have,” he says.


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