As politicians from both parties try to pass the buck on the looming budget crisis, Democrats and Republicans had no problems passing the ball during Wednesday’s Home Court charity basketball game.
“There’s some good bipartisan work going on on this court today,” joked Reggie Love, Pres. Obama’s personal aide.
Love played on the Hill’s Angels team along with several senators, representatives and other government officials, defeating the Hoya Lawyas — a team of Georgetown Law faculty and staff — by a score of 61-49. Admission fees and donations for the event raised $414,000 for the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, a volunteer organization that provides pro bono legal help to District residents facing housing issues.
Sen. John Thune said the team’s unified spirit was a “refreshing change of pace.”
“You’ve got people from both the House and the Senate, Republicans, Democrats, the White House administration, so maybe we could solve [the budget crisis] right here,” said the South Dakota Republican.
Thune and Massachusetts Republican Sen. Scott Brown provided much of the early scoring for their squad, exploiting the lawyers’ defense with long-range jumpers and efficient passing. The Hoya Lawya’s defense was weak throughout the game, leading TheDC to believe most of the faculty’s legal experience was on the prosecution side.
The partisan Hoya crowd cheered the politicians as well, but booed loudly when Brown blocked the shot of a female faculty member. This did not deter the visitors, who continued to build their lead with strong contributions from their reserves. Love sparked the Hill’s Angels off the bench with steady play and a thunderous dunk to open the second half scoring. As Love told it, he was getting the last laugh on a Georgetown Law friend with whom he had been trading barbs.
“One of the guys that played for the lawyers is a buddy of mine, and he spent a little bit of time trash talking me at the end of the first half, so I just wanted to make sure he knew that I was still here and still playing,” Love said of the dunk.
But Love’s throwdown was not the most impressive score of the night. That came during a break in the action, when a raffle winner was offered a chance to attempt a half-court shot. The prize? A cool $10,000.
“Honestly, I just thought, ‘Don’t embarrass yourself,'” said Alladin Jaloudi, a second-year Georgetown Law student.
That worry was ill-founded, but the euphoria that followed Jaloudi’s spectacular heave was genuine. The shot fell through the net, and Jaloudi ran the length of the court with arms aloft as the boisterous crowd voiced their approval and both teams rushed back onto the floor to congratulate him.
“I’ll be paying my tuition and loans for a decade, probably,” Jaloudi said. “This has put a small dent in it.”
Wednesday’s game was the 24th Home Court event, and first-time player Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education, credited the game’s organizers with a job well done.
“These are great students, giving up their time, and to see them raise over $400,000 tonight is fantastic,” Duncan said. “I was happy to be just a small, small part of this.”
While Duncan downplayed his role, his impact on the court was nothing to be scoffed at. The former Harvard standout showed some of the moves that made him the Crimson’s leading scorer his senior season and led to a four-year professional career in Australia.
Sen. Robert Casey also lauded the efforts of Georgetown Law and The Legal Clinic.
“We want to make sure that the students get not just practical experience, but the opportunity to work with vulnerable citizens here in the District of Columbia,” said the Pennsylvania Democrat. “It gives law students the chance, while they’re in law school, to get experience representing people. More importantly, it gives them a heightened sensitivity and awareness to how difficult this economy’s been for a lot of Americans, especially in our major urban areas.”
The participants agreed that Obama, a noted basketball fanatic, should consider playing in the Home Court game in the future. Indiana Rep. Andre Carson said he pressed the issue with his Democratic counterpart.
“I spoke to him today about it,” Carson said. “We’ll see.”