How Much of a Baller is Bernie?

At 77, Bernie Sanders is the oldest presidential candidate in the 2020 race. Most 77-year-olds don’t have the energy or physical capacity play softball, hit a speed bag or shoot hoops. But Bernie’s no average septuagenarian. Even with countless town halls and media appearances, he still finds time to ball.

Clips of Sanders’ athletic feats have been making the rounds during the 2020 campaign. Turns out it’s just entertaining to watch an old guy playing sports. The Vermont senator has been playing basketball and shot-faking reporters for years. But this election cycle Sanders has expanded his athletic pursuits to the diamond and the boxing ring.

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A post shared by Bernie Sanders (@berniesanders)

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A post shared by Bernie Sanders (@berniesanders)

The latter is a post from Sanders’ (semi-controversial) campaign softball game against media members in Iowa (subtle flex wearing No. 46). The former is a meme piggybacking on Sanders’ subpar speed bagging skills, which the internet predictably mocked him for.

The Vermont senator is pretty spry for 77, and in this campaign that could mean something. But just how much of a baller is Bernie? We graded him out on his core three sports.

Basketball: A-

Roundball is Sanders’ bread and butter. Videos of him shooting hoops date back to at least the 2016 primary, and by the looks of things he hasn’t lost his form. Basketball courts are where Sanders’ socialist bonafides come into question, because he’s never met a bank he didn’t like.

Sanders keeps his shot angle high, efficiently employs his pump fake and always uses the backboard. Tim Duncan would be proud of these fundamentals. Bernie can’t run your fast break, but he’ll still get you a bucket over a smaller defender.

Softball: B

The Sanders campaign organized the game with media members as a show of goodwill. It became controversial when a fundraising solicitation gave some media organizations cold feet before all press dropped out. But that news overshadowed Sanders’ decent swing and lethal pitching. He doesn’t have much power, but as with basketball, his fundamentals shine through, leading to solid contact and austere navigation of the strike zone.

Boxing: D

Pugilism has long been a societal benchmark and sport of the American proletariat. It’s the perfect ethos for Bernie to embody. At least until this happened, provoking trolling from even the likes of CNN.

Sanders’ flailing was obviously sarcastic and he rebounded by throwing a few punches at his own pace. But the senator made himself a meme, and it was easy to get jabs in. It’s clear Sanders hadn’t hit a speed bag in years (if ever) before that clip. The response meme his campaign created also made things a little better. But it’s okay to admit the boxing ring is no place for a 77-year-old senator running for president.