Alexander Wolff, Princeton ’79, has a new book out that studies Barack Obama through his love of basketball, and that’s good news for anyone who likes sharp biographical and political writing. Wolff, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated who has been on the publication’s staff longer than anyone else (since 1980), was kind enough to answer a few questions from IHO about that book, The Audacity of Hoop: Basketball and the Age of Obama.
Ivy Hoops Online: What was your first exposure to Ivy basketball?
Alexander Wolff: I grew up in Princeton until age 12. I remember as a six-year-old being sent to bed by my parents on a December night in 1964 and understanding that they, and not I, would be watching Princeton and Bill Bradley play Michigan and Cazzie Russell in the Holiday Festival later that night. It made a huge impression on me because, even then, I knew my parents didn’t care at all about sports, yet Bradley and the Tigers had so captured the community that even they had gotten hooked. A few years later I sat right behind the bench at a Princeton freshman game in Dillon Gym and watched Geoff Petrie and John Hummer play. I also caught the occasional Les Keiter telecast on Channel 17 from the Palestra . . .