Carney and Baca unlikely stars at hoops game


Rep. John Carney (D), a Delaware freshman, made five free throws in a row Wednesday during a foul-shot contest hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee. 

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Organizers set up a makeshift basketball net in a Rayburn committee room, complete with floorboards, and a half-dozen members took turns shooting five shots each. More than a dozen Olympic and Paralympic athletes also took part in the games.

Now, you might think that tall, athletic lawmakers like Reps. Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) and Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), both of whom participated, would have the advantage here. Not so.

On the contrary, it was the little guys, not the jocks, who took home the gold. 

In addition to Carney’s perfect score (Carney is about 5’7” tall), Rep. Joe Baca (D-Calif.) made a clean four out of five shots, prompting the 6’4” Crowley to challenge Baca, who is about 5’6”, to a little one-on-one. Things got heated, and Baca even managed to score on Crowley once, despite almost impossible odds. 

But Crowley, a former high school player, wasn’t finished. Before going over to the Capitol to vote, he dribbled down the lane and dunked a ball in the lower-than-regulation basket.

“Wow, that feels great!” he told ITK afterward. “I could only ever make lay-up dunks in school, so this was awesome.” 

For his part, Carney said he decided to come out to the competition after reading an ITK item about Crowley’s basketball prowess. “I came out to beat these guys!” he said triumphantly.

Another participant, Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), gave Crowley a high-five after his round. “You’re good!” Markey exclaimed. “I only got four out of five.” By ITK’s count, Markey, in fact, made three out of five — but who’s counting?

If this had been a real game, special recognition would go to Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Calif.), who laced up her sneakers before shooting and made two out of five. Between shots, Richardson revealed that she tried out for the women’s Olympic basketball team in 1980. “That was the year the U.S. boycotted the Games,” she said, “so this cause is close to my heart.” 

Also taking a turn at the line were Reps. José Serrano (D-N.Y.),  Dave Reichert (R-Wash.), Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.) and Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.). Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.) and Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) dropped by but didn’t shoot. 



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