Beware articles bearing charming anecdotes of presidential candidates playing basketball.

The Guardian today published an instant classic of the genre, going deep into a regular pick-up game Bernie Sanders used to play in Burlington, Vermont, in the 1970s. Sanders, one former teammate said, “would direct traffic and tell us who was goofing off.” He was, we learn, “a guy who was willing to stand up and be the voice.” He could barely jump, but he was “sneaky good” and “could kill you” from mid-range. He was also a bruiser with his “bony and hard” elbows; another former member of the group attested, “You didn’t want to run into Bernie because you would get an elbow.”

I wonder, could these anecdotes all be metaphors for something?

The article is similar to the treatment that the Times gave in 2007 to Barack Obama’s pick-up basketball days, which was also full of subtle flatteries. Or not so subtle:

He is gentleman enough to call fouls on himself: Steven Donziger, a law school classmate, has heard Mr. Obama mutter, “my bad,” tossing the other team the ball.

Wow. Obama was really heard muttering that? Give him the presidency already!