While basketball didn’t take up residence in the White House in January 2009, the game nonetheless played an outsized role in forming the man who did. In The Audacity of Hoop, celebrated sportswriter Alexander Wolff examines Barack Obama, the person and president, by the light of basketball. This game helped Obama explore his identity, keep a cool head, impress his future wife, and define himself as a candidate.
Wolff chronicles Obama’s love of the game from age 10, on the campaign trail—where it eventually took on talismanic meaning—and throughout his two terms in office. More than 125 photographs illustrate Obama dribbling, shooting free throws, playing pickup games, cooling off with George Clooney, challenging his special assistant Reggie Love for a rebound, and taking basketball to political meetings. There is also an assessment of Obama’s influence on the NBA, including a dawning political consciousness in the league’s locker rooms.
Sidebars reveal the evolution of the president’s playing style, “Baracketology”—a not-entirely-scientific art of filling out the commander in chief’s NCAA tournament bracket—and a timeline charts Obama’s personal and professional highlights.
Equal parts biographical sketch, political narrative, and cultural history, The Audacity of Hoop shows how the game became a touchstone in Obama’s exercise of the power of the presidency.
Alexander Wolff is a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and the New York Times author of Big Game, Small World: A Basketball Adventure.
"The cool, the flow, the edge, the drive, the individual and the team, the black and white - all of that is Barack Obama, playing basketball, the American game. To those who consider the president a mystery, The Audacity of Hoop offers a key to understanding him, through Alex Wolff's fluid prose and Pete Souza's evocative photographs."--David Maraniss, author of Barack Obama: The Story
"Alexander Wolff, with grace and marvelous insight, has written a beautiful basketball book that fans of the game will love. Whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, The Audacity of Hoop will enthrall you. Wolff vividly explores basketball’s influence on the identity of President Obama and in the process reveals something magical about the sport itself."—Kevin Merida, Managing Editor of the Washington Post and co-author of Obama: The Historic Campaign in Photographs
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