Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Obama and LeBron

Six years ago, a basketball-playing Presidential hopeful was behind on the scoreboard and did some trash-talking.

“I'm LeBron, baby,” Barack Obama boasted. “I can play on this level. I got some game.”

His enthusiasm was suspect, since Tim Duncan, a gentle giant, had just won the NBA title, not the physically gifted man-child who would power his way into the basketball pantheon last night alongside Michael Jordan, Magic and Larry Bird yet not quite into the hearts of those who love the game.

Even with back-to-back wins, LeBron James and Barack Obama are, in the immortal words of Willy Loman, liked but not well-liked.

As James pockets his new ring after a scowling flurry of frantic jump-shooting, Obama is abroad “hitting a wall” in Berlin, where he was once greeted in triumph.

What’s missing? Both have been playing against swarming defenses with active elbows but Obama, who once projected the easy grace that LeBron lacks, is even more tired and harassed than his counterpart by fouling opponents and errant whistle-blowers.

Just as this year’s NBA finals often resembled a wrestling match, the Washington game has gone nasty, brutish and ugly, and there are no referees to keep the competition within bounds.

LeBron James has another trophy, but can Barack Obama score in the by-elections next year and restore some semblance of sanity to the Washington game?

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