California’s Newsom plays hardball in China, collides with student during schoolyard basketball game



Politicians have long sought to project vitality, youth and a common touch by staging photo shoots spotlighting their athletic prowess. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is the latest to find out that plans for a confident jump shot can turn into a torrent of online potshots. On a trip to China, the two-term Democrat took a detour from his official meetings on climate change to join a group of Beijing schoolkids for a game of basketball.

Before long, he was on his backside after accidentally steamrolling a grade-school defender. No one was injured, but Newsom joins a long line of political figures whose attempts at a sporty glamour shot didn’t work out as planned.

In a similar scene, British politician Boris Johnson, then mayor of London, knocked down a 10-year-old boy while playing a friendly game of rugby on a trip to Japan. Bill Clinton and Al Gore were needled for photos of them jogging in snug short-shorts while in office. In the 2004 presidential election, shots of Democrat John Kerry windsurfing were used in an ad mocking him as an unprincipled candidate who heads “whichever way the wind blows.” George W. Bush’s penchant for mountain biking occasionally ended up with him on the ground, including when he collided with a police officer on a trip to Scotland that left the officer with a bruised ankle and the president scraped up.

Video circulating online shows Newsom wearing slacks, an open-collared shirt and dress shoes while towering over schoolchildren on the court. The governor playfully twirls a basketball on a fingertip, then executes a spin move as he heads toward the basket.

When a boy in front of him appears to reach for the ball, Newsom seemingly does not see a second student on his left. The governor loses his balance.

They collide and go to the ground together, but both come up smiling and the governor gives the boy a few back pats. “I got you,” the governor can be heard telling the boy, as he gives him a hug. The snarky reception online was predictable. “Flagrant foul,” Fox News tweeted. “Newsom destroys kid during basketball game in China,” celebrity website TMZ tweeted.

Other online comments ranged from “I can’t stop watching” to a post calling the collision a “diplomatic victory for America.” Newsom’s tumble provided a lighthearted — if embarrassing — moment on a trip that included a surprise meeting with leader Xi Jinping and was filled with warm words not seen in years in the strained China-U.S. relationship. It appeared that his basketball stumble provided the broadest publicity he received on his visit.

Newsom was an athletic standout in his student days. He played basketball and baseball in high school and attended Santa Clara University on a partial baseball scholarship. An injury ended his playing career. Newsom jokingly told the Los Angeles Fox News affiliate that he “needed to work” on his balance.

Find your latest news here at the Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Subscribe to The Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle


More like this

US officials want ships to anchor farther from California undersea pipelines, citing 2021 oil spill

Federal officials on Tuesday recommended increasing the distance from undersea pipelines that vessels are allowed to anchor in Southern California, citing a 2021 oil spill they said was caused by ships whose anchors were dragged across a pipeline after a storm.

Biden administration pledges $6 billion to a pair of high-speed electric rail routes in the US West

The Biden administration on Tuesday said it will give more than $6 billion to a pair of high-speed electric rail routes in the U.S. West, injecting new life into long-stalled projects hailed by supporters as the future of public transportation but bemoaned by critics for their high price tags and lengthy construction times.


I received a note from Melissa in San Bernardino. Her question was, “Why do I need a line editor? I have a spell check.” That is a question that needs to be answered, and Melissa isn’t aware of some of the rudiments of completing any manuscript.

Soboba Indian Health Clinic appreciates its patients

Although Riverside-San Bernardino County Indian Health Inc. has been hosting Patient Appreciation Day events for more than a dozen years, Nov. 15 marked the first time one was held at the new Soboba Indian Health Clinic, which opened in March.