It's not often that the leader of the free world is also a basketball nut. In that respect, President Obama is certainly unique.

Obama, who played basketball in high school and had a court built in the White House, loves the sport so much that he has an election-day tradition of playing a pickup game. The one time he didn't play, the day of the 2008 New Hampshire primary, he finished second.

"We made the mistake of not playing basketball once," Robert Gibbs, a senior Obama advisor, told the Chicago Sun-Times. "I can assure you we will not repeat that."

Unfortunately most of us will never have the opportunity to go one-on-on with the Commander-in-Chief. But thanks to a few revealing comments from those who are lucky enough to have seen him play, we can gain a better understanding of his style.

Breaking Down President Obama's Game Slideshow

 

Hawaiian High School Hoopster

Obama made the basketball team at Punahou High School in Hawaii, but he struggled for playing time on an extremely competitive squad. David Maraniss described Obama's style in his 2012 biography of the president. "He had good court sense and an ability to slash to the basket, but was an unreliable outside shooter and not much of a jumper..."

 

Commish's Diss

NBA Commissioner David Stern doesn't think too highly of Obama's game, saying he's "not that good." "He's a lefty," Stern said. "He goes the same way every time."

 

Moneyball Analysis

Moneyball author Michael Lewis got in on a game with Obama while working on a "Vanity Fair" feature. "He’s actually just good enough to be useful to his team, as it turns out. Not flashy, but he slides in to take charges, passes well, and does a lot of little things well. The only risk he takes is his shot, but he shoots so seldom, and so carefully, that it actually isn’t much of a risk at all."

 

Respect Factor?

Lewis wrote that opponents don't take it easy on Obama, but Scottie Pippen didn't see it that way. When Pippen played with Obama on Election Day, he said no one challenged the president when he drove to the hoop. "I thought the lanes opened up when Michael Jordan used to drive," Pippen said. "I used to be like, wow. But when I saw the President drive, I thought they were bringing the whole motorcade through the lane it was so wide." Pippen came away impressed with Obama's game, which is no small achievement seeing as Pippen played on some of the best basketball squads ever assembled. "He's not an overly aggressive player, but he takes what the defense gives him," Pippen said. "He's got a smooth game. He probably used to be a little more aggressive, but obviously he doesn't want to get hurt."

 

Plays Like ...

Based on what we know about Obama's game, that he's a lefty guard with good decision making but a below average shot, Business Insider searched for a comparable NBA player. The answer? Portland Trailblazers guard Sasha Pavlović.

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