10.23.08

WaPo’s Lee: Yes, NBA Players Besides Etan Thomas Care About Politics

Posted in Basketball, politics at 1:35 pm by

There’s an easy overlap on the great venn diagram of dorkery between politics and sports, at least in my circles (yes!) of friends. Maybe it’s because we like knowing lots of things about and holding detailed opinions of people we’ll probably never meet; maybe it’s because we are temperamentally drawn to take a perhaps overzealous emotional and intellectual interest in things over which we have little influence. Maybe it’s because IM mockery admits of so little difference between objects of derision. It’s probably a little bit of all those.

But as election day draws nearer, those of us — it may be just me and a couple of my similarly unemployable friends — with J. Edgar Hoover-style dossiers in our head on different athletes’ political affiliations have been greeted with a great bounty of “(this type of professional athlete) has opinions on the election, too” stories. (Here’s a good one from the AP that reveals how important leadership and experience are to white guys on the Kansas City Chiefs’ O-line) In today’s Washington Post, Michael Lee catches those of us who care up on what athletes in what had previously seemed the most apolitical of pro sports — well, apolitical except for one very tall Huffington Post contributorthink about the election.

Support for Obama is far from unanimous around the league. Spencer Hawes (above), a second-year center with the Sacramento Kings, created a Facebook page for fans of conservative pundit Ann Coulter and had a bumper sticker on his car in high school that read, “God Bless George W. Bush.” Hawes, 20, said he is backing Republican nominee John McCain and is excited about voting for president for the first time. Hawes hasn’t campaigned on behalf of McCain but said, “but I’d be ready and willing if I was asked.”

But most players interviewed for this story said they were backing Obama.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Derek Fisher and New York Knicks point guard Chris Duhon were also at the Democratic convention in Denver. Duhon, a teammate of Obama personal aide Reggie Love at Duke, attended the final presidential debate between Obama and McCain at Hofstra University last week.

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul encouraged people to vote in a Web commercial for the Obama campaign-sponsored Web site. Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups introduced Obama at a rally in Michigan. Greg Oden, Jerryd Bayless and Channing Frye of the Portland Trail Blazers spoke on behalf of Obama at a voter registration drive at Portland State University.

While Hawes’ politics were already common knowledge to readers of your better sports blogs, the newfound engagement of Chauncey Billups was at least a nice surprise. I was wondering what he was up to since he quit blogging several years ago.

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