The sports-obsessed President-Elect Barack Obama has assembled what he proudly calls 'the best basketball-playing cabinet in American history'.
'I just want to dispel one rumour before I take questions,' joked Mr Obama. 'I did not select Arne because he's one of the best basketball players I know.'
Latest to join the ranks on Tuesday was Arne Duncan, 44, Mr Obama's education secretary, a 6ft 5in tall former co-captain of Harvard's basketball team who also played professionally in Australia.
General James Jones, 64, the new national security adviser, stands at 6ft 4in and was a forward for the Georgetown University team, the Hoyas. Eric Holder, 57, the nominee for attorney general, was co-captain of the Peglegs, his high school team in New York and also played at Columbia University.
Susan Rice, 45, the new United Nations ambassador, is just 5ft 3in tall but was a star basketball player at National Cathedral School in Washington, where she was nicknamed Spo – short for Sporting.
Mr Obama, 47, himself was an avid basketball player at school in Honolulu, where he was nicknamed Barry O'Bomber because of his devastating "jump shot" and would dribble and bounce a ball as he walked between classes. He struggled to make the starting line-up of his champion school team but has improved his game further over the years and still plays regularly.
During the 21-month election campaign, Mr Obama developed a ritual of playing a game of basketball every election day. Mr Duncan, currently chief executive of Chicago public schools, played with him on Nov 4, the day he won the White House.
Announcing Mr Duncan's appointment in Chicago, a grinning Mr Obama, who has said he will build a basketball court in the White House, said: "I just want to dispel one rumour before I take questions. I did not select Arne because he's one of the best basketball players I know.
"Although I will say that I think we are putting together the best basketball-playing cabinet in American history. And I think that is worth noting."
Mr Obama has just three main cabinet secretaries still to appoint. So far he has put together the most ethnically diverse cabinet in American history. Though he has yet to follow through on his promise to appoint Republicans, he is keeping on Robert Gates, a career intelligence officer, as defence secretary.
Among his selections are Mr Holder, who is black; commerce secretary Bill Richardson, who is Hispanic; veterans affairs secretary Eric Shinseki, who is Japanese-American; energy secretary Steven Chu, who is a Chinese-American Nobel prize winner; and several women, including Hillary Clinton as secretary of state. ...
Barack Obama picks 'best cabinet basketball team in history' - Telegraph