Obama to Turkish Parliament: Okur, Turkoglu Can Play
(starts at 6:00)
In what must have been the first reference to an NBA player by an American president speaking before a foreign parliament, Obama just wrapped up a speech to Turkey's assembly wherein he both denied that the U.S. is at war with Islam, and gave a shout out to Mehmet Okur and Hedo Turkoglu.
"As a basketball fan, I’ve even noticed that Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur have got some pretty good basketball games," he said to a rousing round of applause from the delegation.
Obama's stop in Turkey comes after visits to London, Strasburg and Baden Baden, during which he pointedly refrained from showing love to either Luol Deng, Boris Diaw or Dirk Nowitzki. Whether this reflects a stylistic preference on Obama's part, or rather the strategic importance of Turkey as one of the world's few Muslim democracies*, remains an open question.
Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out this piece by John Hardwood in yesterday's New York Times, which quotes Obama likening Biden to an underappreciated teammate who “gets that extra rebound, takes the charge, makes that extra pass.” Hardwood goes on to suggest that the success of Obama's agenda depends on his political apositionality - a far more inspired application of the hoops metaphor than Al Hunt's suggestion in Bloomberg today that Obama, like LeBron, wants the ball in prime time.
*I originally said 'sole Muslim democracy', but Doug in the comments points to Indonesia, which is also Muslim and a democracy. I suppose Lebanon could be considered a contender as well.
(Shoals will be up with something more substantial later today. Until then, consider this an open thread).