More Inauguration Day Links

» January 21, 2009 7:25 PM | By Brandon Hoffman

- This may be overdoing it since I put together a blog of Inauguration Day links yesterday, but my RSS reader has been flooded with stories chronicling how NBA teams celebrated Barack Obama’s inauguration. I know that politics are a touchy subject, but I think we can all agree that it’s good to see so many athletes involved in the political process.

Julian Benbow of The Boston Globe:  “Somewhere in a crowd larger than the record 1.2 million that flooded the capital for Lyndon B. Johnson’s inauguration 44 years ago were Celtics guard Ray Allen, managing partner Steve Pagliuca, and strength and conditioning coach Bryan Doo. Allen and Pagliuca realized two weeks ago that they were heading to Washington to see President Obama’s inauguration. Pagliuca is a longtime Obama supporter who fancies himself a student of history. He is the type to give friends history books as gifts. For almost a year, Allen has been trying to work this inauguration into his plans and couldn’t help seeing the stars align.”

Kristie Ackert of the Daily News:  “‘My daughter is actually there. She knows all about it,’ Carter said after the Nets’ early practice Tuesday. ‘She’s 3years old, and when I asked her what she’s doing in D.C., she said, ‘I am going to see Barack Obama, Daddy.’ Like the rest of the nation, the inauguration of the first African-American President captured the attention of the Nets Tuesday. Lawrence Frank scheduled an early practice so that his players could watch Obama be sworn in and hear the President’s inaugural speech before they headed on a four-game road trip that begins Wednesday night in New Orleans. ‘I think it’s a historical event, it’s important,’ Frank said. ‘It’s the first time in history and I wanted to give the guys an opportunity to watch it.’ Inside the trainer’s room, just off the practice court, the television that normally shows sports scores and highlights instead carried live scenes from D.C. Tuesday.”

The Oklahoman:  “Coach Scott Brooks postponed Tuesday’s practice 35 minutes to allow players and coaches to watch the inauguration of Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president. ‘It was an important day for all of us,’ Brooks said. ‘To watch a historical moment, it was pretty awesome to see it transpire in front of our face. The guys enjoyed it. It was pretty cool to see it.’ Thunder players and coaches gathered in the team’s film room at the practice facility and watched the ceremony.”

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News:  “Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said Monday he would reschedule if asked — as some teams around the sporting world did with their practices, flights and media sessions — but the team decided to go on with business as scheduled. Thank goodness for TiVo. That doesn’t mean players weren’t excited to watch it. ‘It’s a great day,’ said Deron Williams, the former state ‘mate of former President George W. Bush who recorded the proceedings. ‘New president. Time for change.’ And one of those life-changing events many weren’t about to miss — even if they had to watch it a bit later than most of the world that tuned in live.”

Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:  “It was a feel-good day of television for Mason, who grew up in Washington, D.C., a political junkie. As a 16-year-old, he scored a ticket to President Clinton’s second inauguration from a high school classmate. ‘I went to Sidwell with Chelsea Clinton,’ Mason said, referring to the prestigious D.C. prep school that now counts Malia and Sasha Obama as pupils. ‘I remember what a big deal that was, seeing the President taking the oath.’ Tuesday, Mason watched on television as Obama became the first African American to take that same oath. When he played in Washington last season, Mason participated in a fundraiser for Obama. ‘It just makes you proud for our country,’ Mason said. ‘It shows how far we’ve come, not just for one ethnicity or race, but all of us. We’re all part of history.’”

Matt Gagne of the Daily News:  “Duhon was speaking at a Garden of Dreams Foundation event, held at Planet Hollywood in Times Square Tuesday afternoon, along with Malik Rose, Jared Jeffries, former Knick Cal Ramsey, and musician Robert Randolph. The Knicks on hand, all African-Americans, spoke about President Obama with the same reverence kids typically use when pleading for autographs at the Garden. ‘We have a black President. I’m still processing it,’ Rose said. ‘It’s really a huge moment in American history, in world history. His intelligence, his confidence, everything about him inspires hope…. it hasn’t really sunk in yet.’ It was a hands-on history lesson for the nearly 30 kids in attendance, most of them minorities themselves. Ramsey talked about growing up in the era of segregation, attending the March on Washington in 1963 with Wilt Chamberlain; hearing Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous ‘I have a dream’ speech; and playing in the NBA when there were limits on how many minorities were allowed on each team.”

Sam Amick of the Sacramento Bee:  “The Kings have made their share of history this season, mostly of the futile kind and most certainly of the less relevant sort when compared to what took place Tuesday. The inauguration of Barack Obama as president was a joyous event for a number of Kings players and coaches who never thought they’d see an African American leading the country. And while the team had a morning shootaround around the time of the processions, the timing worked out so the players and coaches could watch Obama’s speech before boarding a bus headed for the Pepsi Center at 10:45 a.m. Coach Kenny Natt, an African American who grew up the son of a minister in Monroe, La., said he had already seen enough leading up to the day to be inspired. ‘I would’ve never dreamt of being a head coach in the NBA, and here I am,’ he said. ‘I’ve come a long way from a small town in Louisiana, and those are the things that Martin (Luther King Jr.) talked about. Equal opportunity for all.’”

Hawks VP of Public Relations Arthur Triche:  “Unfortunately, we got a late start and it appeared as if we would miss everything (@#*!)!!!  Not me, I was already planning to leave the team walking through their sets and get in a cab to return to my hotel room and watch it all.  Sorry fellas, these events outranked even you guys today – and rightly so. But as I said the UC executive (probably with a little help from our opponents) had the big –screen videoboards shining brightly with coverage from MSNBC.  Wow!  At that moment, I was thinking of Skip Bayless’ favorite player, Terrell (Terrible) Owens and one of his great lines, ‘get your popcorn ready!’  It felt like we had the building to ourselves with the best TV set this side of Washington.”

Jan Hubbard of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:  Obama’s inauguration has big impact on Dallas Mavericks

South Florida Sun-Sentinel:  Dwyane Wade, Magic Johnson, LeBron James discuss Obama’s Inauguration

D-League President Dan Reed for NBA.com:  “I’m a big believer that if you can show young people role models in something they find socially acceptable to achieve, you can inspire them to achieve great things. With Obama’s ascension to both the White House and the apex of pop culture, I wonder if he can help make it cool to hit the books and really strive to be the best you can be in the classroom and the workplace. It’s cool that he gives phenomenal speeches, and dresses in nice suits. It’s cool that he worked his butt off in school and went to Columbia and Harvard Law School. Yeah, he allegedly has a nice hoops game, has Jay-Z on his iPod, brushed dirt off his shoulder in a speech, and gave the fist-bump to his wife…but at the end of the day he is cool because he is an enormously talented African-American man who has made the most of his gifts and has worked hard to break barriers many of us thought were impossible to break. Michael Jordan, LeBron James, and Lil Wayne have a new and extremely formidable competitor in the role model department – and that’s a great thing. Because the chances of a young African-American kid becoming a lawyer like Barack are significantly better than that kid making the NBA, or even the NBA D-League.”


6 Responses to “More Inauguration Day Links”

  1. Tsunami Says:

    “but I think we can all agree that it’s good to see so many athletes involved in the political process.”

    I believe that high profile people should educate themselves in history, current events, politics etc.

    I do not, however, agree with your statement.

    The “political process” suggests a lot more than “Get on-board the Obamawagon”.

    Just like I don’t agree with Charles Barkley thinking he should run for governor. You want high caliber people in such important positions – not people like Barkley.

  2. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    I think you’re making a pretty big assumption. Maybe I’m assuming the best, but you’re definitely assuming the worst.

    Why do you feel that most athletes got “on-board the Obamawagon?”

  3. Tsunami Says:

    Well, they didn’t vote for him because they are in economic distress.

    They didn’t vote for him because they were treated poorly in China during the Olympics, and like many americans, hate being hated by other people around the world.

    Honestly, I think they voted for him because they can relate to him. He’s young, he’s a minority, he’s had enormous success, and African-American people voted for Obama over 30:1 – why did THEY all get on the Obamawagon?

    Yeah, I have negative assumptions, why do YOU THINK most athletes got on the Obamawagon? And, is it possible that not all athletes on got on board, but those athletes weren’t given video interviews to express their political feelings?

  4. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    I know that Matt Harpring and Spencer Hawes voted for McCain.

    I just think it’s a little presumptuous to assume that most athletes voted for Obama because of some “Obamawagon.”

    I’m sure there were more than a few athletes who voted without educating themselves about Obama’s policies, but I’d like to believe that most of them did their due diligence.

  5. Tsunami Says:

    funny I didn’t see the video clips of those guys talking about Mccain. I wonder how I could have missed that…

  6. Brandon Hoffman Says:

    I bet the fact that Harpring and Hawes are average NBA players had something to do with it.

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