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Obama, Brown mull basketball game


SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts — Could President Barack Obama use the basketball court to avenge a Democrat’s loss in a key Senate race?

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, the Republican who dealt a blow to Obama’s agenda with his upset win in a special election to fill the seat of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, accepted an invitation on Wednesday to play against the president in a friendly game of basketball.

The invitation was issued by the mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, where the game was invented more than a century ago.

“Senator Brown is honored to accept this invitation and believes the birthplace of basketball would be a great venue for this event,” said Colin Reed, a spokesman for the senator.

The White House was studying the offer, which did not propose a date or a specific place to hold such a game, although Springfield is home to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The invitation envisions a matchup between Brown and his daughter Ayla, who plays for Boston College, and Obama and a female player of his choice.

Brown began floating the idea for such a game almost immediately after his Jan. 19 election, telling everyone from his election night victory party guests to comedian Jay Leno that he was pining for a game against the basketball-loving president

“I think it would be fun,” Brown told The Associated Press last month. “It’s not the Olympics, but I think it would be a good way to kind of break the ice and show the camaraderie that he’s talking about. So, we can have our meeting on the basketball court instead of the caucus room.”

Brown played college basketball at Tufts University, where he was known as “Downtown Scott Brown,” for his propensity to shoot from long range.

Obama regularly plays basketball with his personal aide, Reggie Love, a former player at Duke University.

In his letter to Obama, Mayor Domenic Sarno, a Democrat, said he discussed the idea when Brown made a courtesy call to his office after the special election.

“There are many charities in Springfield that would benefit greatly from the money this type of event would raise,” Sarno wrote.

Dr. James Naismith, a physical education instructor at the Springfield YMCA, created basketball in 1891 as an indoor sport that would help keep young athletes in shape during the winter months.

Associated Press