So who else would you expect to find at a Washington party for a bunch of the boys from the NBA but a bunch of the boys from The Hill?
Put another way, who else but Mr. Democrat himself in the good old days of smoke-filled rooms -- now Commissioner of Basketball Larry O'Brien -- could bring out a first-string line-up of congressional and NBA All Stars?
The party, a cool $30,000 bash put on jointly by the National Basketball Association, the Washington Bullets and Anheuser-Busch, celebrated the 30th annual NBA All-Star Game coming up tomorrow at the Capital Centre.
There was a string ensemble among the potted palms upstairs in the elegant Pan American Union Building. And a half dozen buffet tables were overflowing with such exotic fare as ramaki, tempura, sauteed scampi, a dozen bushels of fresh oysters and clams, and 10 wet bars with more than Michelob.
O'Brien didn't miss a handshake standing there in the doorway as the crowd of 950 started arriving. One of the first in line was House Speaker Thomas P. "Tip" O'Neill, behind him Ireland's Ambassador Sean Donlon. tRep. Gladys Spellman (D-Md.) wouldn't have missed it, basketball fan that she is. "I'd better be," she admitted, "the Capital Centre's is my district."
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) told the crowd the only important piece of work both the House and Senate have done since coming back to town was the unanimously passed resolution welcoming the NBA All-Star game to town.
"I spent a lot of years here," O'Brien said when his turn came to speak, "and I don't recall any animous action passing both those houses."
He may have been exaggerating a little, but nobody really cared. For team owners, at least, the whole day had been oversized, topped with a special White House briefing on domestic and foreign affairs by presidential aides Stu Eizenstat and David Aaron.
"We live in a world of basketball celebrities," said Denver Nuggets co-owner Carl Scheer. "My kids are used to seeing them in our living room. But there you are in the White House, and the next thing you know, the president walks in. I looked at the guy next to me and said, 'When it's our turn (to host the All-Stars) what do we do for an encore?'"
It was hard to tell which all stars had the most groupies. When Sen. Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), the former New York Knickerbocker, showed up, even grownups scrambled for his autograph.
"If I hadn senator," joked former teammate and Knicks captain Willis Reed.
A former Olympic gold medalist, Bradley made his position on an Olympics boycott known earlier this week: Stay out of Moscow if the Russians don't get out of Afghanistan.
Yesterday's news that China and Japan were siding with the U.S. drew a prediction from Tip O'Neill that "when it winds up, it'll be the Russians against the East Germans."
New York Knickerbocker Marvin Webster, at 7 feet towering over everybody else, came down on the side of individual action. "Otherwise you get into politics," he said. "There's no question we could beat those Russians."