As the presidential primaries raged on in New Hampshire, senior Sports Illustrated writer Alex Wolff introduced his latest piece of work in the Audacity of Hoop at Springfield College, a book showcasing the basketball’s powerful influence on President Barack Obama. In the twilight of his presidency, the audience got a look behind the scenes in how the sport, which was born on the very grounds of the presentation, affected the 44th president’s tenure.
From the start, basketball played a large role in Obama’s life as he grew up in Hawaii. A basketball was the final gift to Obama from his father, before his father left the family. In high school, Obama was a bench player for his basketball team that went on to claim a state championship.
His love for basketball carried over to law school, as he continued to play pick-up. The sport remained a major aspect of his lifestyle even after he was sworn into office.
Obama’s presidential impact was shaped by basketball in addition to the game being a pastime for him. When the Affordable Care Act was originally proposed, there were beliefs that such healthcare reform would fail. In order to promote the act, both current players such as LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, and former players including Grant Hill and Alonzo Mourning delivered public service announcements.
Wolff explained that Obama positively bonded with the public, as he became relatable with his frequent attendance at NBA games, and his yearly college basketball brackets and described such character as “transparently sincere.” The topic of basketball also helped him lighten relationships with countries such as China and improve international affairs.
The sneak peak alone captured the exclusive characteristics of Obama’s presidency. As his second term draws to a close, some will respect the efforts of the Obama administration, while others will heavily criticize it. However, this book by Wolff is sure to uncover unknowns as well bring together the unlikely, yet effective partnership of hoops and politics.