New photo gives insight into Sarah Palin's high school hoops defense

Love her or hate her, when it comes to Sarah Palin, one thing is certain: Everyone has an opinion about her politics and personality. Well, now we can all have a slightly more educated opinion of her much ballyhooed state championship high school basketball career at Wasilla (Alaska) High, thanks to a photo that emerged from the Sports Illustrated Vault Tuesday on Twitter.

As you can see to your right, Palin -- she's No. 22 on the far right -- seems to be trying to box out a very, very tall opponent behind her. Or, perhaps she's trying to let East High know that their football team scored a touchdown, as the Vault's Andy Gray suggested. Either way, it's not quite picture-perfect defense. Or picture-perfect anything, for that matter.

Other important info gleaned from that photo: Evidently Palin was the only Alaska girls basketball player in the '80s who wasn't wearing adidas. Who knew? Also, Wasilla High wore particularly unflattering socks. Seriously, a thick color chunk between thin white stripes on top and bottom? Ouch.

In all honestly, when combined with another former hoops photo of the erstwhile vice-presidential candidate, we can tell that she really loved to use her length on both defense and the break.

To be fair, Palin also seemed to have a pretty great instinct for finding the ball, even if her attempts to crash in on a shooter or dribbler were sometimes a touch late, as the photo from the Vault showcases.

Of course, it's hard to tell if Palin's grabby tendencies transmitted on to her progeny. We do know that daughter Bristol, the self-proclaimed teen spokesman of "Dancing With the Stars" fame, played junior varsity basketball for Juneau-Douglas (Alaska) High, but the only photos of her that hit the larger press showed her in uniform only.

In fact, the most notable photo of Bristol Palin playing basketball -- the shot you see to the right -- first mistakenly identified Bristol Palin as Sarah Palin herself. Oops!

Will we ever truly learn if Sarah Palin was a female Steve Nash? Probably not. OK, to be fair, we can be pretty sure she wasn't a female Steve Nash. Yet even if we can't officially put that speed-passing concept to bed, at least we now can rest easy knowing that she played some mean defense, even if she once was a little too worked up about boxing out an opponent who may or may not have been behind her.

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