*It’s June 16th, 1905 and President Teddy Roosevelt has taken refuge under a tree trying to escape the heat. As he wipes his glasses, he pulls a small metallic ball out of his pocket. After twisting the ball several ways, he throws it in front of him. A cloud of smoke is released and from the smoke steps George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. Yes, Teddy Roosevelt had invented time travel and he used it to compete against former presidents in 2v2 games of basketball. This is the oral history of one of those games. *

George Washington: “The first thing you have to understand was just how hot it was that day.”

Thomas Jefferson: “It must have been 95 degrees, and you know we’re not exactly dressed for the weather.”

Washington: “Unfortunately, I was posing for a portrait when Teddy summoned me. There I was standing in my full military gear from the war sweating like a mongoose. Plus, the artist was charging by the hour, so I ended up paying him double.”

Abraham Lincoln: “I appreciate getting buckets as much as the next guy, but Teddy really doesn’t think about when he grabs us. I’m trying to deal with South Carolina seceding. I don’t have time for a game.”

Teddy Roosevelt: “The wife and kids were up in New York, and I really wanted to get some exercise, so I got the boys.”

Jefferson: “I figured the fastest way to get home would be to indulge Teddy and play a quick game.”

Washington: “I just wanted to get it over with.”

Lincoln: “Even though I didn’t really want to play, I love getting the chance to shut Washington and Jefferson up. I get it, you guys beat the British. Congrats, get over yourselves.”

Roosevelt: “I love playing with Abe. Man is a gifted passer. George and Jefferson just love to chuck it from deep.”

Jefferson: “I brought up that we didn’t really have the best shoes to play in. Seemed kind of important.”

Roosevelt: “So when I accidentally invented time travel (I was trying to build a machine to perfectly toast a bagel) I ended up at a Dallas vs. Phoenix game. I had never seen a building so big before. After watching a little bit of the game, I started exploring the building. Somehow, I ended up in the player’s dressing room. There were just pairs of shoes lying around, and I thought it was ridiculous that one person would need that many shoes. So, I took several pairs. There was a PG, a Curry, a Dame, and a LeBron.

Washington: “It was kind of understood that Thomas and I were playing together. Those who defeat the British together, play together.”

Lincoln: “I threw on the LeBrons and started warming up. My shot had been a little broke lately, so I wanted to get some up before the game started.”

Jefferson: “If Abe just took off the freaking top hat, he would probably play a lot better. I don’t understand his fashion tastes.”

Roosevelt: “Washington tried to snag the Currys, but those are my shoes. I love the low tops. Plus, it’s incredible how comfortable they are.”

Washington: “It was whatever. I got the Dames, which was probably for the best. They fit like a glove, and man are they bouncy.”

Jefferson: “I don’t know who PG is, but I always wear his shoes because holy cow those things are light and comfortable. To go from shoes without any cushioning to these. Magical.”

Roosevelt: “Games are always to 24, win by 4. Lincoln shot for ball and missed.”

Lincoln: “Not a great start.”

Washington: “It always takes me a few minutes to get warmed up, so I try to let Jefferson cook for a minute.”

Jefferson: “If Teddy is guarding you, you have to understand you are getting nothing in the paint. Man is absolutely stout down there, but he’s not the quickest so he likes to sag off which means you can get some open jumpers.”

Thomas Jefferson came out of the gates blazing hot starting 4 for 4 to put his team up 10-0 early.

Lincoln: “I don’t think I’ve ever seen Jefferson catch fire like that.”

Washington: “I was stunned.”

Jefferson: “I haven’t had that much fun since Ben Franklin’s party after we sent the British packing. There’s no better feeling than being hot.”

Roosevelt: “He hit two from deep right off the rip, so I tried to get up on him. He was able to get a step on me and hit two tough layups.”

Lincoln: “Thankfully, I was able to hit a couple jumpers to keep us from being in too deep a hole. I came down on Washington’s foot after the first jumper, but thankfully the LeBron was strong enough to keep my ankle from turning.”

Jefferson: “I hate guarding Teddy because that boy’s elbows are incredibly sharp.”

Washington: “We were up 10-4 and with Lincoln trying to help Teddy, I tried to get myself going.”

Jefferson: “The thing that’s frustrating about Washington is if he starts cold, he’ll keep chucking until he finally hits. By the time he hit his first shot, it was 12-12.”

Lincoln: “If George struggles, he likes to mutter to himself, and no one is better at getting in someone’s head than Teddy.”

Roosevelt: “Oh I was letting him have it. I was firing shots about how he couldn’t throw the ball in the Delaware River. How he needed help from the French to win the Revolutionary War.”

Washington: “I’ve gotten used to Teddy talking, but there are just some things you don’t bring up.”

Jefferson: “Never, and I mean never, are you to bring up George’s teeth.”

Lincoln: “Even I winced when Teddy made a crack about it.”

Roosevelt: “I think George is a little too sensitive about it but that’s just me.”

On the next possession, Washington got Teddy switched on to him and backed him down. George tried to spin, and a high elbow cracked Teddy across the jaw. Lincoln and Jefferson had to separate the two.

Jefferson: “I get that George is pissed, but that’s something you can’t do.”

Lincoln: “It was unnecessary.”

Washington: “I think Teddy definitely sold the contact. I didn’t hit him that hard.”

Roosevelt: “Obviously I had that initial rush of anger, but overall I loved it because now I knew it was gonna be a battle.”

Washington: “I didn’t let the British push me around, and I’m not gonna let a guy in spectacles talk that noise.”

Lincoln: “I can’t really describe the energy after that, but it definitely got more intense.”

Jefferson: “As much as I wasn’t thrilled with what George did, it just made me want to beat Teddy and Abe that much more.”

Lincoln: “The heat wasn’t helping our moods. We were all drenched in sweat and suffocating under the humidity.”

The game continued in a back and forth manner with Teddy beginning to brutalize Jefferson in the post. Meanwhile, Teddy’s talking seemed to have backfired as Washington began knocking down shot after shot. The score was 22-20 in favor of Washington and Jefferson.

Roosevelt: “Despite everyone’s competitiveness, fouls have always been something we’ve usually been able to agree upon.”

Jefferson: “Offense usually calls fouls, but we allow defense to call fouls too if they really hack someone.”

Washington: “I’m being dead honest when I tell you I was floored when Abe called it.”

Lincoln: “I don’t know what the big deal was. George hit my arm, and he knows it.”

Washington: “On Martha, I did not touch him.”

Jefferson: “I didn’t really see it, but Abe didn’t say anything until after the ball rimmed out which is always sketchy.”

Lincoln: “I thought George was going to call it. The man supposedly cannot tell a lie.”

Roosevelt: “Abe hardly calls anything, so I don’t really see how they can complain that much.”

Washington: “I think Abe was so mad that we even dared to question him that he decided he was not losing.”

Jefferson: “George was in his grill, so I was fully prepared for him to dump it in the post.”

Roosevelt: “I was calling for it, but Abe never even glanced at me.”

Lincoln: “There’s no better feeling than hitting a step-back on someone’s head. If only the British had seen the shot I hit on George, we’d still be living under the crown.”

Washington: “Still mad he hit that shot. Especially given that it put them up 23-22.”

Jefferson: “It was such a cocky shot that I really wanted to answer with something similar. I drove at Teddy, didn’t step back as much as I stepped sideways. The problem was my hands were so sweaty that the ball slipped as I shot it, complete airball.

Roosevelt: “Probably the dumbest thing Jefferson’s ever done, and this is the guy who bought Louisiana for God’s sake.”

Lincoln: “As soon as he missed, I knew I was going for the win.”

Washington: “Boy I really didn’t want him to hit it on me again.”

Roosevelt: “I came up to set a screen, Washington knew it was coming, and he took just a half step back. That was all Abe needed.”

Jefferson: “Didn’t even take a dribble.”

Lincoln: “People always say they know a shot is good when it leaves their hand, but that wasn’t true for me. I didn’t know it was going in until it went through the basket.”

Washington: “Tough loss.”

Jefferson: “Brutal.”

With the game over Teddy sent the players back to their respective time periods. Lincoln went back to dealing with the Civil War. Washington and Jefferson went back to founding America. Before everyone left there was an agreement that they would play once a week from here on out.