Bryan Altman

Since Bernie Sanders’ campaign for President of the United States began late in 2015, we’ve learned a lot about the Brooklyn-born senator from Vermont. For example, last week, after Sanders’ campaign’s rousing victory of Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primary election, Sanders was seen shooting some hoops at a local gym in Vermont to celebrate.

Now, thanks to an excellent piece from Les Carpenter of The Guardian, we’re learning a little bit more about the senator’s penchant for the game of basketball and how it all started for Sanders.

According to The Guardian’s report, Sanders and between 12-15 friends used to gather at a gym in Burlington, Vermont in the late 1970s and play pickup games of basketball each Wednesday night.

Carpenter spoke with the guys who played with Sanders, and here’s how they described the senator’s game.

From The Guardian: 

“He wasn’t very fast.”

“He was crafty.”

“He had good elbows.”

“From mid-range, 10-15 feet he could kill you.”

“He sort of liked to be in charge, so there really nothing different in that,” laughs David Sharpe, the auto mechanic who ran his own shop in those days and is now a Vermont state legislator. “He would direct traffic and tell us who was goofing off.”

Perhaps most interestingly, Sanders was the same boisterous and confrontational character that we all see today, even when his pulpit was a hardwood court and not a podium speaking to millions around the world.

From The Guardian:

He wasn’t one to call many fouls but he couldn’t let a bad call go unchallenged.

“He could be argumentative about stuff,” Borger says.

“There were always one or two strong personalities in the game and he was one of them,” recalls Michael Lyman, another of the woodworkers. “He was a guy who was willing to stand up and be the voice.”

Whether you’re a Sanders supporter or not, the whole piece is worth a read and unfurls some interesting new details about the presidential hopeful’s love of basketball.

Bryan Altman is, for some reason, an unabashed fan of the Rangers, Jets and Mets. If he absolutely had to pick a basketball team it would be the Knicks, but he’d gladly trade them for just one championship for any of his other three teams.

Questions or comments? Feel free to follow Bryan on Twitter or send him an email