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SBD/Issue 85/Sports & Society
Obama Inauguration Part I: Sports World Cherishes The Moment
Published January 21, 2009
Muhammad Ali And Wife Lonnie Attended
Thursday's Inauguration In DC
|(l to r) Magic Johnson, Gavin Newsom, Arnold
Schwarzenegger, Kevin Johnson At Inauguration
SPEAKING OUT: In Chicago, Rick Telander writes "most of the star athletes in this country are African-American, and now their president is giving them a clarion call to act right, to be anti-Charles Barkleys. To be role models." Obama is a "fresh role model of epic proportions." It is "not too late for an outdated hero" such as Michael Jordan, and "all the other high-profile black athletes in this country -- white ones, too -- to join him" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 1/21). Author John Feinstein said of Tiger Woods, who spoke at a pre-inauguration rally for Obama, “Woods showing interest in politics on either side of the aisle is a good thing, an important thing, because his potential to make an impact in the world goes well beyond his extraordinary ability to play golf. Very few athletes become more important after their playing careers are over than they were at the peak of the skills.” Feinstein: “Unfortunately, until now he’s chosen Michael Jordan as his role model rather than” Bill Bradley or Arthur Ashe (“Golf Central,” Golf Channel, 1/20).
PAVING A NEW PATH: Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said of the inauguration, "I can understand much about what Jackie went through. He went through all of what he did for President Obama and myself, so we could accomplish things in life that we wouldn't have been able to. ... I never though I'd live this long to see this happen" (TORONTO STAR, 1/21). Knicks G Chris Duhon said of Obama, "He has a vision, just like Dr. King had a vision for us; and just as (Dr. King's) dream is starting to unfold before our very eyes, I know Barack is going to do the same thing for us." Knicks F Malik Rose said, "President Obama instills such hope that you can achieve anything" (N.Y. POST, 1/21). Johnson said, "Just to see than an African-American could win the presidency of the United States, even today, still blows my mind" ("NBA Coast-to-Coast, ESPN, 1/20). WNBA Sparks C Lisa Leslie, in a special to the L.A. TIMES, writes, "As an African American woman, it feels liberating to see Barack Obama as the president. African Americans have often times felt like a distant cousin in America. Now we feel like immediate family with a seat at the table" (L.A. TIMES, 1/21). Univ. of Washington men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar: "As I was watching, I was a little overwhelmed. Having grown up in Compton, Calif., battling through racism ... you get a feeling from a lot of people around you that we can only go so far" (SEATTLE TIMES, 1/21). But the STAR TRIBUNE's Souhan writes despite Obama's inauguration, "much of the sports world lags," as we now have "almost as many black American presidents as we do high-profile black college" football coaches. Souhan: "That is disgraceful" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 1/21).
Rooney Received Criticism
For Giving Obama Jersey
TAKING A TIMEOUT: USA TODAY's Sharp notes the NBA "pretty much stopped" during the inauguration yesterday, as "many practices were either delayed or interrupted so players and coaches could witness the swearing-in and the new president's first address" (USA TODAY, 1/21). Hawks players watched the inauguration ceremony on the Jumbotron at the United Center after a shootaround practice before last night's game against the Bulls (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 1/21). Thunder players and coaches "gathered in the team's film room at the practice facility and watched the ceremony." Thunder F Jeff Green: "It was a great thing to watch." Thunder G Earl Watson: "Just seeing how many people attended that, it gave me chills" (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 1/21). Nets coach Lawrence Frank yesterday "scheduled an early practice so that his players could watch Obama be sworn in and hear the President's inaugural speech." Frank: "I think it's a historical event, it's important. It's the first time in history and I wanted to give the guys an opportunity to watch it." Nets G Keyon Dooling: "It's an exciting time, not just for me, but for all of us" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/21). George Mason Univ. men's basketball coach Jim Larranaga pulled his team off court after just 27 minutes of practice and "took them to the locker room to watch the swearing-in and Obama's speech" (AP, 1/20). In L.A., David Haugh notes every TV in the NFL's HQs in N.Y. was tuned to the inauguration. Haugh: "It was all inauguration, all the time. Obama-vision indeed" (L.A. TIMES, 1/21).
|LeBron James Took In Tuesday's Inauguration
With His Two Sons From Hotel Room In L.A.