Senate Confirmation Basketball Semiotics, #456
I've got supremely mixed feelings about this whole "basketball is the new America" meme, and all the articles written on how everyone in Obama's cabinet played ball, wondering what kind of offense they'll run, and if the President will be more like Phil Jackson or Jason Kidd. Excepted from that, of course, is Alexander Wolff's definitive treatment of the subject, largely because it's more interested in the nuances of one man's relationship with the game than taking an Obama presidency as some monolithic endorsement of BASKETBALL.
In fact, some of could border on uncomfortable, if not a little racist. Like, why do Senators need to ask Eric Holder about whether he could beat Obama one-on-one? Even when black dudes reach the highest peaks of civil service, they still get asked about their game? That's kind of fucked up, you might think. . . if not for the fact that it's Herb Kohl asking, a guy who refuses to sell a team as everyone screams for him to, someone with a sincere love of the sport who is probably as excited as any African-American to see it in the public eye.
But what really makes this video special, and why it's the first time I've weighed in on Obama/hoops since the election (and since the appointees made it into a far less nebulous notion) is Holder's earnest as fuck invocation of The City, Connie Hawkins, Kareem, and Tiny Archibald, that near-sacred list that any real hoops fan is used to revering—but probably never expected he'd hear intoned, with no small measure of seriousness, in a Senate confirmation hearing. There's laughter right away, as there should be, but for that moment I felt for the first time like the sport was being legitimated, if not vindicated, in the public eye.
UPDATE: My once-and-for-all take on Kevin Pritchard.