SBD/Issue 78/Sports & Society

Obama's Love For Basketball Prevalent As He Gets Set For Office

Should The NBA Try To Capitalize On
Obama's Passion For Basketball?
With President-elect Barack Obama set to take office next week, there will be a "long line of people across the capital dusting off their sneakers and tripping over themselves for a chance to sweat with Mr. Obama, who has been playing basketball since growing up in Hawaii," according to Jeff Zeleny of the N.Y TIMES. Basketball HOF President John Doleva said of Obama, "The fact that he is a basketball fan and player will be translated around the world. Basketball is an international language. There is a global message here." It "remains an open question how much" Obama will play basketball, but few presidential races have "contained as many sporting references" as Obama's. Sacramento Mayor-elect and former NBAer Kevin Johnson said of playing basketball with Obama, "If the president calls, you have to accept" (N.Y. TIMES 1/11).

A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: In Orlando, Kyle Hightower asked if Obama's "love for basketball something that the NBA can capitalize on?" It is not as if the league "needs some sort of world economy revitalization," but "when was the last time the United States had a hoops-loving Commander-in-Chief?" For the "first time in a long time a sitting president may actually be sending his congressional attack dogs" to the NBA if the league "gets out of order" (, 1/9).

SENATOR STERN:'s Jeremy Schaap wrote NBA Commissioner David Stern would be a good candidate for New York's vacant Senate seat, and it is an "easy call" for New York Gov. David Paterson. Stern, who "rescued pro basketball when it was flirting with oblivion, shouldn't be wasting his time on 5th Avenue." Instead, Stern would be on "Pennsylvania Avenue, or on whatever street the Capitol Building is situated." Schaap: "Stern must be shipped off to Washington" (, 1/9).

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