Obama: 'The Heat' to Romney's Jeremy Lin?

President Obama with former NBA player Bruce Bowen (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

(The Root) — With all due respect to President Obama, Mitt Romney is no Jeremy Lin.

Romney, scion of a heavyweight businessman and politician, enjoyed a life of power, privilege and prestige en route to becoming the GOP presidential nominee. Lin, the son of a computer engineer who emigrated from Taiwan, overcame rejection from major colleges and numerous NBA teams en route to becoming an international superstar.


But I understand where Obama was coming from in using a basketball analogy to compare his re-election effort with Romney's campaign. According to a New York Times story on the president's competitive nature, in February Obama was asked about the election and likened it to the raging "Linsanity" that enthralled the nation until cooling drastically after a trip to South Beach.

You might recall that Lin emerged from nowhere with the New York Knicks and scored more points in his first six starts than any player in NBA history. The hot streak included a career-high 38 points against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers on Feb. 10. Lin led the Knicks to a 9-2 record entering their Feb. 23 game against Miami, but the Heat undressed him. He missed 10 of his 11 field goal attempts and committed eight turnovers in a blowout loss.

Shortly after that game, during a meeting with Democratic governors, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer asked Obama if he had what it takes to win the 2012 race. Schweitzer told the Times that Obama "lit up" at the question "like a light switch coming on," and promised to thwart Romney's every move.

"We're the Miami Heat, and he's Jeremy Lin," Obama reportedly said.

While the comparison between Romney and Lin is lacking, Miami's dismantling of the point guard, who now plays for the Houston Rockets, is an apt description of Obama's plan.


He has been willing to mix it up and throw elbows on the campaign trail, much as he does when playing hoops. It's no surprise whenever Obama uses a basketball analogy, because it's been one of his favorite sports since he played on the varsity team at Honolulu's Punahou School.

That team has nothing on the squad the president assembled last month in New York for the Obama Classic, a basketball skills camp that included Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Chris Bosh and Kyrie Irving, among others. Michael Jordan co-hosted a $20,000 per-plate dinner later that night at Lincoln Center, with attendees that included former Knicks greats Walt Frazier and Bill Bradley, NBA Commissioner David Stern and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.


"This is my dream team," Obama said. "It is very rare I come to an event where I'm like the fifth- or sixth-most-interesting person. Usually people want to take a picture with me, sit next to me, talk to me. That has not been the case at this event."

He had more success at that event than Lin had in Miami. And if Obama has his way, Romney will have a worse time when the polls close in November.


Deron Snyder's Loose Ball column appears regularly on The Root. Follow him on Twitter and reach him at BlackDoor Ventures, Inc.

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