HURT: Obama loses coolness as hoops skills are challenged

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Four years in and we find out the guy can’t even play basketball.

“He’s not that good,” NBA Commissioner David Stern finally told us about basketball-obsessed President Obama in an interview with Reuters. “He’s not as good as he thinks he is.”

Talk about a game-changer. This was the whole reason we elected him in the first place. After eight years of the stuttering un-hipness of the Bush administration, we wanted somebody cool, modern, edgy. Somebody who had game, rhythm. Somebody with a jump shot.

Obama was so cool, he was even terrible at bowling.

He played with the stars. He practiced with Duke University’s legendary squad. He made Reggie Love, Duke’s former star captain, his “body man” on the campaign trail. NBA legends Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing and Carmelo Anthony want to hang out with him for fundraisers.

It all began to fall apart just days after he ascended to the presidency and the media began asking questions about Mr. Obama’s basketball chops. Turned out, he didn’t really play on his college basketball team as was widely reported. Not even junior varsity.

Then came the injuries. Who could forget that sad picture in the fall of 2010 of Mr. Obama, nursing a busted lip with an ice pack, watching from an upstairs window as the White House Christmas tree arrived on a horse-drawn carriage?

And his nerdy obsession with filling out the NCAA college basketball brackets, even as the American economy spun further and further out of control. (Of course, the fact he filled out brackets for both the men’s and women’s tournaments gave the game away.) One year, he even drew rebuke from the Duke coach, who advised that “the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets.”

On and on Mr. Obama played. At 51, he still considers himself such a baller that he plays with a mouth guard and wears custom-made basketball shoes embroidered with his number. He plays with real basketball pros, as if he is somehow their peer.

But, it turns out, it’s all Mr. Obama’s delusion — a pose he strikes for the cameras. In reality, people who know basketball are actually making fun of him. “He’s not as good as he thinks he is,” the commissioner finally tells us.

Mr. Stern went on in the interview to explain that Mr. Obama is “a lefty, he goes the same way every time.”

This should sound familiar to anyone who has watched the president’s disastrous attempts at governing. He promised us post-partisanship but actually only goes to the left. In politics as in basketball, he only plays on the left half of the court.

But it is the loss of coolness that will cost him the most. Nothing is so uncool as pretending to be good at something that you are not. There goes the much-prized youth vote of 2008.

Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com.

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