Hoops With Obama

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Letter to the President

Dear Mr. President,

Soon after you were elected, I was thinking about various ways you and the country could help the struggling economy. Your intelligence, good judgment, and political skills will be most useful in this endeavor. However, I had an idea about how you could use your basketball skills to help, if not the whole country, at least a good chunk of it.

I propose that we organize a national lottery where the top prize is an opportunity to play basketball at the White House against a team that includes you. Complete details of the proposal, which is summarized below, can be found at HoopsWithObama.org.

I've had this idea for this lottery since soon after you took office and the economy's health kept failing (I had actually expected things to improve as soon as you took office, but I should have remembered that "things take time".). I remembered those jokes going around in the 1970s (another time when the economy was failing) about how the government should hold bake sales to raise money to shore things up.

My idea for a "Play Hoops with The President" national lottery would be less fattening and much more efficient than any bake sale.

In general, the lottery consists of having interested teams of 7 to 9 players paying an entry fee of $100 per player for a chance to play against your team at the White House. I'm hoping you'll be up for playing at least parts of 2 games on two of your rare off-days. I'm also hoping that, with the proper publicity, there would be at least 2000 teams around the country willing to enter the lottery. With that many teams, at an average of $800 per team, the lottery could raise over $1.5 million. Add in any corporate sponsorship, that number could double.

Obviously, this amount of money would by no means help with the staggering deficit our government is facing, which was one of the targets of my initial idea. However, recent events have pointed out another very worthwhile beneficiary of this lottery: The Special Olympics. In fact, if your team was able to play a couple of games a day, perhaps 3 of those games would be prizes in the lottery and 1 of the games would be against a team made up of Special Olympians.

Like you, I'm 47 years old. Unlike you, I never played basketball on the varsity high school team. I was a "play in the driveway" kid, now I'm playing in an instructional progam called "Never Too Late Basketball" (www.nevertoolate.com) that is run by Steve Bzomowski, former assistant coach on those Harvard teams on which Secretary Arne Duncan played. Should the lottery come to pass, I plan on entering with a couple of teams, one made up of friends from that program, the other made up of members of my family.

Of course, with your influence, you could make your team very strong by recruiting NBA players or freshly-graduated Division I players. However, to make things more interesting, I'd suggest using non-pros, maybe other people in the government with basketball skills, like Secretary Duncan. (Since I'm only 5' tall, if either of my teams win the lottery, I'd lobby hard for you to somehow get Robert Reich on your team.)

Many players in this country would be thrilled and honored to play against you and your team. This lottery takes advantage of that fact to raise money for a worthy cause. I hope you will take this proposal seriously. I'm not sure what the next steps should be although I'd be glad to help. A good goal would be to have everything set up so that the games themselves could be held next March, when national interest in basketball is at its peak.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jean J. Millette


The following sponsors have helped develop and publicize this proposal:

  • Never Too Late Basketball Camps, Inc.
    Providing the highest quality basketball training, instruction, guidance, and coaching for adult players as well as kids.
  • MyTicketGroups.com
    A fun, easy, and free ticket management service. Share season tickets? Use this site to keep track of who's going to what games.

Copyright 2009 - Jean Millette