OAK BLUFFS – Day by day, the excitement builds for President Obama’s vacation on this island at the end of the month. The windows of the shops along the crowded main drag here display T-shirts proclaiming, "I Vacationed with Obama 2009" and "MV, Secret Service."
The notoriously competitive basketball court at Niantic Park in Oak Bluffs.
Even the first dog is getting his due -- one local vendor is baking Beefy Bo-Bama all-natural treats.
But just a few streets off Circuit Avenue, tucked amid a quiet neighborhood of gray-shingled bungalows, the Obama buzz is all about hoops: At Niantic Park, the notoriously competitive public court, rumors are quietly circulating that the basketball-crazy president just might drop by for a pick-up game.
The White House is mum about the president's plans. But that wasn't stopping the what-ifs from flying this week at the street-ball haven, along with three-pointers and full-court passes.
"To tell you the truth, I wouldn't be too surprised to see him out here," said Evan McDuffie, who attends American University in Washington, taking a break after a vigorous five-on-five game. "I've seen him play on TV and I know he loves basketball, so I'm really looking forward to seeing him come out."
Note to the leader of the free world: These are no slouchy weekend athletes; many play or formerly played high school ball in New York, Washington, and other big cities. While you've been busy reinventing health care, they've been honing their outside shots. They're fast and they can run all day.
So if Obama were to lace up his high-tops here, he should expect some stiff defense -- and little charity.
"I might let him get, like, one courtesy basket," said Jordan Adams of New York City. "But then I'd guard him up."
McDuffie, who goes up strong in the paint, quipped: "I'd have to talk to the Secret Service … to see if they'd let me score on him."
Several of the players recalled seeing Obama play during the 2008 campaign photo-ops, most notably a scrimmage with the UNC Tar Heels. They were impressed by his quickness, passing ability, and how well he moved without the ball.
But not his attire.
"He played pretty well, but he played in sweatpants," Adams said. "If he comes out here, he's got to get him some shorts."
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