Obama and Hoops

The smoothest president in American history was also known as a baller. During his eight years in office, basketball was the official sport of the White House. A number of members of his staff were ex-collegiate or pro players, most famously his right-hand man, Reggie Love, who played with Shane Battier at Duke. The press was never allowed at the games, and it was a time for Obama to let loose a bit with competition and a bit of trash talking. GQ goes deep to uncover some great anecdotes about the games and the traditions behind them, including the poor staffer that bloodied Obama’s lip, or the time Obama left Chris Paul holding the laundry.

The Oral History of President Barack Obama Playing Pickup Basketball

GQ.com, 1.19.17


The Incredible Beginnings of the Charlotte Hornets

When the NBA decided to expand for the 1988 season the Charlotte Hornets were one of 11 teams in the running for the new teams. The oddsmakers had them bringing up the rear, but an incredible sales job and the NBA’s love of being the only big league in town led to the Hornets being born. The little big city embraced the new team with enthusiasm unknown to a continually losing expansion team (354 consecutive sellouts to start the franchise). Charlotte Magazine details how Muggsy Bogues, Kurt Rambis, and Kelly Tripuka helped establish the NBA in college basketball country.

‘The Place Went Nuts’: An Oral History of the 1988 Charlotte Hornets

CharlotteMagazine.com, November, 2013

Kevin Garnett: Intensely Awesome

Kevin Garnett is by far the most successful player to skip college in NBA history, but that almost sells the future Hall of Famer short. His unmatched intensity, his legendary mouth, and his long career are all covered in this expansive piece by Bleacher Report.

A Man in Full: An Oral History of Kevin Garnett, the Player Who Changed the NBA

BleacherReport.com, 5.18.15

“Hoop Dreams” (1994)

“Hoop Dreams” was an independent documentary created by three unknowns, but its impact is still felt today. The Dissolve provides an encyclopedic oral history that covers not just the backstory and smashing success, but also the film’s influence on the documentary genre, Academy Awards voting processes, and continuing social impact.

An oral history of Hoop Dreams, 20 years after its première

TheDissolve.com, 1.5.14

Malice at the Palace: The NBA’s Ugly Player/Fan Brawl

It was near the end of a blowout win by the Pacers on Detroit’s home court, and a few hard fouls resurrected the animosity from the previous year’s rough Eastern Conference Finals. The blood was running, so to speak, and that’s when a punk fan threw a Diet Coke at the infamously volatile Ron Artest. The ugliest brawl in modern U.S. sports history was ignited and the NBA was changed forever.

Malice at the Palace: An oral history of the scariest moment in NBA history

Grantland.com, 3.20.12