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SBD/Issue 84/Sports & Society
Obama Inauguration Part III: Basketball Comes To The White House
Published January 20, 2009
|Could Obama Use Global Appeal Of
Basketball To Help Govern The U.S.?
CROSSOVER DRIBBLE: In N.Y., Jonathan Abrams writes Obama's presidency "comes at a time of relative peace in the NBA, which has sometimes struggled with image issues as an African-American dominated league with a largely white corporate base." But what has "emerged in the aftermath of the last major league-wide crisis -- the infamous Pistons-Pacers brawl in 2004 -- are star players adept at talking both picks and politics." Celtics G Ray Allen: "Whether we like it or not, we have a voice. We have a great voice. And I think that's why it makes us more political." Allen said of Obama's effect on children, "They see a black man being president, knowing that he came from the same humble beginnings that lots of black men and women come from and that they can aspire for greatness." Hornets G Chris Paul: "I think one of the most interesting things I’ve heard yet is every kid, if you asked them who they wanted to be when they grow up, they would say Michael Jordan, even kids now who are too young to have seen MJ play. Now people say Barack Obama. That means a lot for change" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20). Also in N.Y., George Vecsey writes the core of basketball still is "dominated by African-American players, with their own take on the new point guard in the White House." Several Knicks players "stressed that their pride was not only as blacks but also as Americans." Knicks G Quentin Richardson said of Obama's presidency, "It never crossed my mind that this would happen in my lifetime" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/20).
Lebron Thinks Obama Presidency
Gives Hope To Inner-City Children
PRESIDENTIAL PARDON: Celtics coach Doc Rivers reworked the Celtics' travel schedule so that the team can watch today's inauguration on TV. The Celtics had originally scheduled an 11:00am ET flight today to Miami, but the team changed that to 8:00am. Celtics G Ray Allen flew to DC after last night's victory over the Wizards with Celtics Managing Partner Steve Pagliuca to attend today's celebration (BOSTON HERALD, 1/20). Magic C Dwight Howard said that he has been invited to Obama's inauguration today and will attend "after the Magic accommodated him," as the team changed its practice schedule so that Howard could attend (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 1/18). 76ers G Andre Miller said that he was planning to skip today's practice -- "risking a possible fine from his team -- to attend the inauguration and one of the balls later in the day." But Knicks G Chris Duhon, who used to play "pickup games with Obama" in Chicago, is one of "many basketball players frustrated that his day job won't allow him to attend the ceremony in person." Duhon: "It was something I was looking forward to. ... But again, my obligations are to this Knicks team. I'm just going to sit on my couch to watch it" (AP, 1/18). The Bulls were tentatively scheduled to have a shoot around this morning, so players said that they would "tape Obama's inauguration if they can't watch it live" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 1/18). Injured Wizards F Etan Thomas "may attend the inauguration since he is not on the West Coast trip" with the team. In Boston, Marc Spears reported while Obama has yet to attend a Wizards game, the team "would welcome the admitted hoop junkie any time." Wizards interim coach Eddie Tapscott: "It's always nice that the president of the United States is a basketball fan, an NBA fan. It's a terrific thing. We will certainly welcome him if he wants to come to practice" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/18).
John Thompson III Made Arrangements
To Attend Obama's Swearing-In Ceremony