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.” Though his hoop skills won’t ever pay the bills, they may be paying political dividends: Bill Bradley, the Knicks star, New Jersey senator, and 2000 presidential candidate, recently gave Obama his endorsement.
McCain: “In This Corner…”
At the Naval Academy during his plebe summer, McCain excelled at boxing. He “would charge the center of the ring and throw punches until someone went down. That summer it was always the other guy,” Robert Timberg wrote in John McCain: An American Odyssey. McCain remains an avid boxing fan and attends professional fights often. Ultimate fighting, however, disgusts him. He has supported a ban on what he refers to as “human cockfighting.” When he’s not throwing punches, McCain rolls the bones. A 2005 New Yorker profile called McCain an “avid gambler,” who used to play craps in Las Vegas for up to fourteen hours at a time.