Obama: I Wish I Was a Baller
Obama regularly plays pickup basketball, a sport he’s loved since his grandfather took him to a University of Hawaii game as a kid. A benchwarmer for his high school’s state-championship team, Obama relished what he found in the sport: “On the basketball court I could find a community of sorts, with an inner life all its own,” he wrote in Dreams From My Father. But how are the skills? His brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, who played professional basketball in England and now coaches at Brown University, told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “He’s a good player. He really doesn’t have the bulk pickup basketball requires, but he’s a good shooter. And the fact that he’s left-handed is an advantage.”
At the White House, Obama has been able to attract a slightly higher caliber of pickup game. For his 49th birthday, a group of NBA players including Carmelo Anthony, Derek Fisher, Dwyane Wade, Grant Hill, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, and Bill Russell showed up for a game.
Romney: Running and Other Fast Things
In 2008, one of Romney’s ads really caught the eye of Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson. Speaking on the PBS Newshour: “It was an ad in which you see Mitt Romney literally running. […] It was just something you don’t normally see. It was like one of those Geico ads that sort of caught your eye, because it’s not normal that you see a presidential candidate running across your television screen.” Romney’s traveling press secretary at the time said Romney would try to run four or five times a week, two to five miles each time. It’s a hobby he picked up from his father, he told Forbes at the time. Not for nothing, the Romneys hold an annual triathlon event, where Romney’s son Matt tends to win but never without a serious challenge from his father. Hugh Hewitt, in his book A Mormon in the White House, adds that Romney is a “self-professed lover of fast things.” His explanatory anecdote — told him by Romney’s eldest son, Tagg — involved Romney jumping on a Jet Ski while at the New Hampshire summer home and rescuing several capsized boaters.