Boris Johnson, the hugely popular mayor of London who is widely regarded as a future Conservative rival to Prime Minister David Cameron, can apparently do no wrong these days.
Promoting a basketball tournament on the South Bank of London’s River Thames on Monday, Johnson, a regular cyclist but otherwise not widely known for sporting prowess, attempted to score a basket, with his back turned, and astoundingly pulled off the trick.
Unlike President Barack Obama, who last week missed shot after shot (18 straight misses, according to some reports) while facing the hoop and in his shirtsleeves, the shambling Johnson made his basket while wearing suit and tie, with his jacket buttoned.
A 48-year-old who cultivates a permanent air of comic-book chaos — underlined by unkempt hair, apparently thrown-together attire and unpredictable oratory — Johnson is the New York-born, well-connected son of a former Conservative politician, whose ancestry includes Christian, Muslim and Jewish roots and a link to German royalty. (His great-great-grandfather was a Moscow clothing trader, and he told the Jewish Chronicle five years ago that “I feel Jewish when I feel the Jewish people are threatened or under attack, that’s when it sort of comes out… When I suddenly get a whiff of antisemitism, it’s then that you feel angry and protective.”)
It was not clear from the footage Monday whether the mayor had scored on his first or umpteenth attempt. But the Guardian and other British media reports suggested he’d managed it at the first attempt. “I could have done it any time,” Johnson claimed afterwards.