For Barack Obama, shooting hoops is an essential element of any tense day. In frequent sessions usually closed to reporters, the senator faces off with friends from the campaign and elsewhere, even flying in Chicago buddies to hit the court, the Los Angeles Times reports. But his aides make sure he’s careful: He wouldn’t want to “turn up with a busted lip” at a key event.
The former high school player is “very vocal,” often ribbing the other players, says a New York Knicks guard who’s played Obama. While his game has become more measured and thoughtful in recent years, the competitive candidate retains “a killer instinct,” says the head of Chicago Public Schools, a frequent opponent. As for the senator’s skill, “the form looks good, but he doesn't always make the shot,” says the guard.