Basketball in the Political Arena

ShoreBall EnterprisesContributor IOctober 10, 2008


Basketball has played an interesting side role in this year’s presidential election. Both Barack Obama and Sarah Palin played basketball while they were in high school. Governor Palin helped lead her Wasilla High School basketball team to a state championship in 1982. Palin’s running mate, John McCain, has even used basketball as an answer on the campaign trail . . .



Earlier at the town hall meeting, a woman rose to speak and said was a Democrat who previously supported Hillary Clinton but now backed the Republican ticket.

“Give us some details and examples of your strategies and plan for economic empowerment for women,” she said.

McCain signaled for Palin to answer the question.

“Well first let me take a shot at that, and I’ll tell ya, I’m a product of Title IX in our schools, where equal education and equal opportunities in sports really helped propel me into the—I guess into the position that I’m in today where,” Palin said.

McCain then interjected, “Could I mention she was a point guard on a state championship basketball team.”



(Source:  CBS News)


Who knew that high school basketball is a strategy for economic empowerment for women . . .



On the serious note, basketball has played an interesting part in this year’s election. Barack Obama has said that basketball is his first love, has spoken that the greatest gift from his absent dad was a basketball, and has said that playing gave him his closest white friends and a place where black skin wasn't a disadvantage. His brother-in-law, Craig Robinson, is a basketball coach in his first year at Oregon State University after coaching at Brown University for two years. Obama even plays pickup basketball on the campaign trail. The October 4th article Obama’s other running mate: a basketball talks about how playing pickup basketball has become a key ritual of Obama’s campaign. There is even a website,, which is dedicated to basketball players who endorse Obama.



But even more interesting is how professional basketball players have jumped into the political arena.  Baron Davis introduced Obama at a Silicon Valley fundraiser in June 2007 and resented the candidate with a Warriors jersey with OBAMA 08 on the back. Among other NBA players, Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups also introduced Obama at a rally this summer, Greg Oden has endorsed Obama and Lebron James has donated $20,000 to Obama’s campaign. Tyson Chandler speaks on his blog about attending an Obama rally and meeting the presidential candidate. With politics being such a hot button topic, I’ve found it interesting that many players are risking possible corporate sponsors and endorsements to promote a presidential candidate. I think that says a lot.