Screw Carmelo Anthony, Praise Spencer Hawes

Accuse me of beating a dead horse, but this is still important and we still live in an age where Steve Nash wearing a "No War. Shoot for Peace" counts as a "political statement. Or in Shoals' words, "I like that Spencer Hawes is seen as 'political,' which is kind of like calling that guy in the Applebee's commercials a 'chef'"--this is a point to which I will return. Now, be quick to note that THIS IS NOT A POST ABOUT POLITICAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS but rather how low the friggin bar is set for these guys in terms of "being political" and how despite that, credit should be given to the few that actually say a damn thing about something as important as this year's election.

Henry already pointed to this great collection of Dr. J stories and noted the particular importance of this one, in which Dr. J promises to endorse a local political candidate in his hometown of Roosevelt provided that the politician promises to enact certain recreational programs. I'm seriously asking, not rhetorically, who is using their clout for this type of maneuvering these days?

Now, the best advice any other sports writer/editor ever gave to me was to inform me before an interview session that athletes are extremely boring to talk to. Perhaps it's because they are so well-groomed with the media, perhaps it's because they have endorsements to protect, perhaps because they didn't go to/do anything in college, or perhaps they are simply way too focused on their athletic endeavor instead of anything else. As un-FD as it is for me to say this, ultimately I agree. Yet there is no reason for athletes' sheer boring-ness to translate into political apathy as well. It's like, just because you are dull, playin it safe, or whatever, doesn't mean you shouldn't eat your vegetables and take your vitamins.

The crux of what I'm talking about is Carmelo Anthony in this video below:

Ignore Hawes for a second and focus on Carmelo. I'm sure many of you aren't raising an eyebrow to Melo's ambivalence, but surely we can all agree that the worst worst worst most unforgiveable thing about this clip is Melo supplanting this ambivalence with a direct bite of Michael Jordan's famous "Republicans buy sneakers too." Sure, Melo was dealing with Elie S-bach. and perhaps wasn't really inclined to come up with something witty to say, but really guy, this is the best you can do? The same dude who has come under endless scrutiny for tossing his bronze medal into the Baltimore harbor (not to mention all the minor b.s.--DUIs, Stop Snitching, etc.). And you aren't gonna say ANYTHING?

The real issue here is not what Melo did, but what he didn't and what lots of NBA players DON'T do. That is, they don't do sh!t and they underestimate the power of doing sh!t. As Oprah can attest, the power of celebrity endorsement is collossal and the power of athlete celebrity endorsement is way larger than people (especially athletes). Now, I'm not sure what type of effect Carmelo, for example, would have by stating his political preference, but imagine the following:

Brett Favre endorsing John McCain in Wisconsin
Bear Bryant endorsing Barack Obama in Alabama

I would be willing to bet that the power of such seminal figures alone could flip these states on their head. I always thought Lance Armstrong made a huge mistake when, at the height of his popularity (and in the rough-and-tumble election year of 2004), he didn't stand up for John Kerry in Texas. If you aren't convinced, perhaps I can remind you of the Illinois Senate race of 2004 when, yes THIS HAPPENED, Mike Ditka was considering running on the republican ticket against Barack Obama. I am not kidding when I say that had Ditka run, this may have changed the course of history forever.

So praise Spencer Hawes for giving a f*ck. I'm not calling the guy "political" by any means, but christ it is refreshing for an athlete to say *something*. Not to mention he gives pretty much the only practical reason (albeit a self-interested one) to vote for McCain: He's worried about his taxes, a point that Arenas has alluded to as well--except Arenas kind of undermined his point by also including a bunch of "echh" material about why voting doesn't matter. Now today, Baron Davis gives us something strong or at very least something really really actually definitively partisan to say, which yes--because the standard is so low for these guys--is darn impressive and something worth praising.

QUICK SUB-THOUGHT: I just had a thought about Carmelo's status as the perennial "bad son" from the famed 2003 draft class and the clear outcast of the Wade-LeBron- triumvirate. If 'Melo truly wanted to separate himself from King Lebjesus and the championship winner, Wade, he could completely reinvent himself as the Muhammad Ali of the NBA, willing to say what those bubble yum and gatorade- shilling stooges won't.

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At 9/02/2008 5:44 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

Two things:

(1) Sir Charles recently weighed in on this same topic, in the New Republic of all places: "If you are born
poor, whether white or black, you are going to be in a bad
neighborhood and go to a bad school. If you are making three million dollars a year, a couple hundred thousand in taxes ain't gonna kill you. You have got to look at the bigger picture, because poor people are getting screwed. It would be selfish of me or other rich people to vote Republican to save a little money."

(2) Did you mean to say that only people who go to college are interesting????

At 9/02/2008 5:50 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

i knew i was gonna get grilled on that college comment, but i didn't think it would be by you, recluse. i proposed it as *one* possibility. also, yes the fact that some nba-ers literally can't read when they come into the league makes them a tad less up on interesting shit that, you know, requires reading.

At 9/02/2008 7:15 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

weird...post disappeared. it's back now.

At 9/02/2008 10:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if we stopped caring so much what athletes had to say they'd start caring more about what they have to say.

I mean, we like watching that kangaroo knock out heavyweight fighters, but we don't ask it to theorize about the metaphysical nature of reality.

BTW, I know this is off topic but does anyone else think it's wonderful that an electron appears as either a particle or a wave, depending on the observer? So you mean to say, it's both at the same time.

At 9/02/2008 10:55 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

that's the issue. people are never going to give a fuck what an athlete has to say, so when oden goes to columbus and tells people to vote for obama, a lot of people will.

At 9/02/2008 10:58 PM, Blogger mdesus said...

I'm curious why no mention of grant hill? Is he just that much of an outlier? S Jack is almost a lock to have done something like this. He's supposedly a huge figure there, and involved in a number of community development non profits. Most of those end up at least partially locally funded.

At 9/02/2008 11:00 PM, Blogger mdesus said...

that something being dr j story

At 9/02/2008 11:02 PM, Blogger goathair said...

If Ditka would have run in 2004, he would have spoke at my school instead of Keyes. This means, my friends and I wouldn't call our car keys "Obamas." I totally see what you're getting at.

For real though, the real problem is that athletes would lose their endorsements if they spoke out. Adidas rides the Ali (and Kareem) legacy as a social reformer pretty hard, but they'd drop Dwight in a second if he got militant. That's a problem.

At 9/02/2008 11:29 PM, Blogger Graydon said...

I would love it if athletes spoke out more often, not only because I think political dialogue in this country needs to be more mired in the muck of honesty, but also because they are likely to agree with me. Given many NBA players' race and economic backgrounds, most are likely to hold somewhat progressive opinions (Spencer Hawes aside, this seems to be the case). I'd be being disingenuous if I didn't admit that if everybody in the NBA was conservative, I would be plenty happy with them keeping their mouths shut.

On the question of militancy (Ali et al.): Yes, Adidas pushes a hollowed out version of the reformer card with Ali so that his views are more universally digestible, but to be honest, I think the great thing about sports is that great athletes don't happen to just stumble upon celebrity like many actors or musicians or other people who potentially utilize their notoriety for political purposes. They create it for themselves. That's why I think athletes have more political leverage then they realize.

If LeBron got all militant on America, you couldn't keep him from being LeBron out there on that floor. They couldn't push him from the spotlight, even if some people attempted to limit his advertising presence. That's the way things worked with Ali- his electric skill made it impossible to ignore him.

I would also like to note that plenty of players, maybe not so much in the NBA, but definitely in the MLB and the NFL, get away with saying crazy intense right-wing bullshit and don't lose a dollar of endorsement money. The difference between public reception of right wing and left wing views is practically incomparable, I just figured I'd mention that.

At 9/02/2008 11:47 PM, Blogger The Other Van Gundy said...

What's intriguing about this is political opinion and professional aptitude aren't mutually exclusive. For instance, when a really good actor like, I don't know, John C Reilly tries to sing and dance in Chicago, it comes off flat. But a dude having a political party? Shit, we all have that, that's the whole point.

What's disappointing about the NBA's reticence to enter the political arena is this: NBA ballers are some of the only young black men being paid attention to in this country. They could give all the kids just like them who never made it past high school ball some direction and a representative in the public discourse.

And I'm sure Melo is just as qualified as any news network pundit.

By the way, spellcheck on triumvirate.

At 9/03/2008 12:01 AM, Blogger themarkpike said...

Pretty sure Lance Armstrong was a huge Bush supporter. In fact, I seem to remember that being part of the reason he and Sheryl Crow split.

Curt Schilling leveraging the 2004 World Series win for Bush in late October was kind of weird.

If 80% of current NBA players contributed the $2300 max to one candidate, they would likely have some serious political weight as an organized group. Even more so if they contributed the $25000 party maximum.

At 9/03/2008 1:11 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

wow markpike, i always wondered that about armstrong. because crow was so pro-democrat at the time, i just figured lance was as well.

triumvirate spellchekd.

At 9/03/2008 2:37 AM, Blogger andy said...

It's so incredibly depressing to read what some athletes will say when posed these questions. This also probably also gives some partial explanation for the cult of Steve Nash, especially by sports writers, who I assume fill that opinionated, educated (generally white) bracket that appreciate what he has to say beyond republicans and democrats buying his shoes.

Of course this is just a game, and no one should be ripped on as a player for the thoughts in their head, but if my team were the Kings or Nuggets, I'd really be turned off seeing these interviews. You could compliment Hawes all you want for having views, but his are generally the exact same as Carmelo's: money first. He also grew up rich as shit in a town that, although generally preaching left-wing views, is not really that embroiled in any intense socio-economic strife (at least, on the surface), so politics is really about as real as a video game in Seattle, or alternately, like choosing a channel on television.

Next thought: why is it generally accepted that a player censor himself for endorsement's sake? The line of this thread seems to go far enough to criticize a player for not speaking out more but stops just short of the endorsement rationale. At some point, wouldn't pulling for opinionated athletes also logically mean pulling for athletes who won't entirely whore themselves out? Also, other notes, Nash has a Nike contract and even hawks those trash shoes for them, and what about athletes that are recognizable but will never get an endorsement? Etan Thomas isn't good enough, but if players like Raja Bell, Kurt Thomas, Brent Barry, et al. followed the lead of Grant Hill, that would be at least a little newsworthy right?

At 9/03/2008 9:00 AM, Blogger FunWithLogic said...

Would anyone in any other profession actively speak out against their employer's interests (like, in this case, any affiliation) if they were going to be broadcasted and possibly circulated throughout the media? Probably not.

This goes back to the old concept of only property owners having the right to vote because anyone who was an employee would be unduly influenced by their employer when voting (who said this?). Of course, this is an old idea, before there were so many people who made tons of money from media and leisure-based culture, but there are some parallels.

At 9/03/2008 10:27 AM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

I don't know man. How much is this "speaking against your employer's interest." Assuming the NBA/Nike/whomever has a republican agenda, stating that "I'm voting for a democrat" is farrrrrrr from, say, speaking out that you don't like the NBA's officiating, dress code, etc. Or you think Nike's shoelaces are ugly, whatever. I mean, fuck, it doesn't take that much gall to say that you are voting for somebody.

At 9/03/2008 10:42 AM, Blogger Graydon said...

DLIC is right. I think it's really important to distinguish between the potential PR/economic problems which would arise by merely stating which major party you support and "getting militant" like goathair and I have mentioned. Nobody would seriously risk any of endorsement deals if they said "I'm voting for X," just as long as X is a member of one of the two major parties.

Now start talking about when the revolution comes, and we may have a different issue on our hands.

R. Lobstah- When I say that athletes have a less accidental route to celebrity, I mean that to be a famous athlete you must have talent. I wrote this back in June and it pretty much sums up my point:

"The celebrity of athletes is a unique phenomenon. Few other occupations that command notoriety do so on such a meritocratic basis. Actors need not be accomplished thespians in order to acquire the adoration of fans or the endless pursuit of paparazzi. Politicians can be unthoughtful, inarticulate and ineffective while receiving the votes of millions. Contemporary music often sounds like the moans of a dying sow and that has hardly stemmed the tides of fame. Athletes, on the other hand, are unquestionably very good at what they do. Even garbage time players are amongst the top 500 or so basketball players in the world. A variety of factors go into producing the celebrity-athlete, but it must begin with talent."

Subsequently, even if athletes got more radical, they would be harder to alienate from the public eye because their actual talent would keep them there. If Miley Cyrus gets off message, they can do away with her quite easily.

At 9/03/2008 12:37 PM, Blogger jawaan oldham said...

While money does play a large part in it, the dearth of vocal left-leaning athlete/activists is primarily an education issue. This isn't to say that being educated automatically confers progressivism, but one doesn't encounter progressive thinking until a ways into one's education. Where an athlete in high school might hear a steady stream of right-wing bullshit from his coach, he's less likely to hear the corresponding bullshit from the left until college (and this only if he goes to class and even beyond that actually pays attention). And, irrespective of political viewpoint, knowing enough about politics, civics, economics, et cetera to feel comfortable chatting with some reporter you never met about them requires a considerable amount of reading. With the amount of time an athlete has to devote to maintaining and honing his body and his game to reach the professional level, he doesn't have the copious amounts of time to devote to the three R's (reading, reflecting, and rumination, of course) that an egghead dork like me has.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Carmelo may just be pandering to his target demographic, who nodded approvingly at the Stop Snitching video, and who will presumably nod approvingly again at this comment and murmur cynically about the primacy of money above all other things (to paraphrase).

At 9/03/2008 12:46 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Sorry if I'm overlapping anyone here. . . I'm semi-sold on Dr. LIC's "better Hawes at least frame it in terms of politics." But while Jordan's line was ruthlessly bland, Melo's smirking and referentially repeating it. It's still cynical, but cynical in a whole different way than Jordan was. Melo's feels bitter and cynical, instead of off-putting and cynical in its assumptions.

Jordan the human-corporate cyborg to end all human-corporate cyborgs; when Melo says it, references it, actually, it seems more to me like "what the fuck do you think I'm going to say? why the fuck do you expect me to be idealistic? the world is fucked up and I go for my money."

Depressing yeah, but arguably deeper than Hawes. Exactly because it parrots Jordan with such a sneer, and so little interest in actually selling the sentiment or its humor.

At 9/03/2008 12:57 PM, Blogger Christopher said...

Thats an interesting point Graydon. I think you're right. If Melo had stated something like a broad support for Obama or slight diss at Bush. Would the Nuggets ownership ( or The NBA, or even Jordan brand) really do anything about it? I think not. The value of an athelete does hinge on popularity and public perception to a degree, but the crucial factor is still how well you can play/help your team be successful. So I guess this would suggest that atheletes would be taking less of a risk (compared to other "celebrities") by speaking out. While actors and musicians have historically been far more willing to speak out. Maybe that has something to do with the established importance of personal expression in both those artforms...

At 9/03/2008 1:17 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

sorry shoals, i'm taking a firm stance that: (a) carmelo is a moron and (b) that shit isn't deep.

looked to me like he was trying for the quickest way possible to get elie out of his face and the only thing he could think of was a cop-out that someone else already said (that--when jordan said it--was arguably awesome and waaaaay smarter than any real political commentary).

i'm down on carmelo for being politically apathetic, but more so for being so fucking uncharismatic and dull that he can't even come up with his own lines.

it's like what if kobe repeated "fo fo fo" or if jason kidd said "i don't know much about angola, but i know they're in trouble."

not deep. just dumb. and apathetic in the process.

At 9/03/2008 1:21 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I am totally objectifying Melo here. I don't think he said anything deep, I think his superficial answer, and his delivery of it, tells you something. It seems like we're disagreeing about his tone, which you see as so vapid that it doesn't have any implications whatsoever.

At 9/03/2008 1:25 PM, Blogger Mark said...

there's gotta be a watch out for sir charles. he is simply the most f.d. p/f there has ever been. the pinnacle of what we would hope josh smith (or even anthony randolph) to ever be. and barkley comes right from the beginning of the neutering of the star which he has rejected (kissing a donkey on national tv, ejections, mouthing off, continuing to gain massive amounts of weight to look like the godfather).
sir charles is some kinda disciple.

At 9/03/2008 1:39 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

yeah, you're right. it's definitely his tone that is the issue. you are seeing it as more of a fuck you. i'm seeing it as "elie is here, run for my life."

At 9/03/2008 1:42 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

how about "fuck you elie, and fuck all those people you're trying to make wet with that question."

At 9/03/2008 1:58 PM, Blogger Browny said...

At heart this is a problem of perception and not actually, since nobody is aware of what Melo’s politics is, what is missing is the fact that he is not public with his opinions. Regardless of the whether he is interested in social change or not, it is patently unfair to expect him to fall on a sword. An NBA player is most likely to be a Dem and the people who buy tickets to watch him play from Luxury boxes are most likely Cons. Now, society hates the activist athlete, they tend to be accepted by the next generation but not the generation they tried to serve, examples include Jim brown and Ali. Therefore, if the offer is to be vilified for decades and then cheered in the twilight of one’s life, I think most people would pass.
Finally, ballers are not Oprah, her whole thing is built on empowerment, and Carmelo speaking out to the left or right of any issue will only bring him withering criticism and will do nothing to bring awareness to said problem. If anything, it would bring awareness to his personal struggles and nothing else.

At 9/03/2008 3:33 PM, Blogger BPH said...

When I first saw this I reacted the way DLIC did. Carmelo's line just made me uncomfortable. An extremely pathetic, hackneyed swing at pithiness. (The clip is short, so you can't rule out the possibility that he considered himself clever and novel for simply making the reference -- which, of course, he is not -- and perhaps even thought it could draw a laugh if the seemingly clueless Elie hadn't heard that one before.)

But, to be fair, that could just be because I've never really found Carmelo interesting enough to deserve the benefit of my doubt(?). I guess it depends on how dismissive you perceive him to be in answering Elie's question, but it's certainly possible that, considering he sells Jordan brand shoes (that's right, right?), that he's simply been ordered to repeat the company's stance. In that case, if you have no interest in driving home the wit or the cynicism, it translates directly as "no comment," per company policy essentially, which I think would then get 'Melo off the hook for being unforgivably unoriginal.

At 9/03/2008 3:45 PM, Blogger spanish bombs said...

I think that we should at least recognize that Carmelo actually has some endorsements to lose...whereas Spencer Hawes, um, I'm not even sure who he is in the off-season. It doesn't really matter that his views on taxes strike me as rather callous and unappreciative; I don't care about any endorsement from a garbage player. It's like if Dave Coulier (Joey from Full House) endorsed a candidate.

And yes, Lance Armstrong is indeed very much a Republican.

At 9/03/2008 4:27 PM, Blogger wondahbap said...

It's not fair to expect an athlete to have a voice because they are celebtrities. Politics is one thing you have to be abolutely sure what you're talking about, or the press will eat you alive. Honestly, I don't think it's something most athletes ever cared or had to worry about. Especially phenoms. As popular as Muhammed Ali was, it has to be remembered that he was amidst a very tumultuos time in our Nation's history, whereas, today's athletes have it easier. It's not fair to assume that their popularity automatically gives them insight or knowledge about things that they might not have a clue or the slightest care about.
Should they? Maybe, but that's for them to decide. The real problem is that we feel the need of an athlete to speak his voice. Especially in the black community. And that's what this really boils down to. Wayne Gretzky was never judged in the same sense like MJ or Tiger might be.
Steve Nash has the "luxury" of being able to get political. Young black athletes do not.

At 9/03/2008 4:40 PM, Blogger Nate Jones said...

co-sign with what wondahbap just said.

Love this post and the commentary as well.

At 9/03/2008 5:55 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

"Republicans tend to see liberty in what the government leaves alone."

Although this is at least 30 years out of date at this point and possibly 60, depending on which definition you want to go by. It's not the party of Eisenhower or Goldwater anymore (or Lincoln, for that matter, although I hesitate to give that any sort of relevancy at all).

At 9/03/2008 6:00 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

The party of some guy Socrates was fucking with.

At 9/03/2008 6:22 PM, Blogger Jason Gill said...

I agree with Zarko. Don't conflate today's dem/GOP split with the traditional Socialist/Libertarian ideas of yore.

Today's GOP is all about gov't intervention: anti-marijuana, anti-choice, pro-interventionist wars. The party of old conservatism is Ron Paul.

(This is not a defense of the Dems, who I support only in united opposition against the GOP)

Long Live Barkley!

At 9/03/2008 6:33 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

It has as much currency in the current GOP as civil liberties have for the current Democrats. Which is to say, it's a handy rhetorical crutch that has minimal effect on policy. It's also telling that you specifically mention fiscal issues.

If you honestly think either party wants less government power, I would have to feel that I'm not the one playing See No Evil here.

"It's not as if politics is all progress and regress"


At 9/03/2008 6:58 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Oh wait, you're right, I guess there's transgression as well.

To bring this conversation somewhat back to the fold, part of what makes the Dr. J anectode interesting is that it pertains to local politics rather than national, which is unfortunately where the bulk of our attention is directed. Something like Stephen Jackston and the Oakland Public Library is far more politically meaningful than an endorsement of a Presidential candidate.

wv: lsqsdl: an unfortunate combination of SQL and LSD.

At 9/03/2008 7:56 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

Honestly, I agree with you regarding the "voluntary" taxation in modern America; my point is that at this point the GOP is largely beholden to social conservatism, which manifests itself as government control in many different forms, which is often ignored by people who would like to believe that we aren't arguing between flavors of totalitarianism.

That the Libertarians are running Bob Barr, Mr. Drug War and Mr. Defense of the Family Act, is as good an indication as anything, of the level to which government control is enshrined and entrenched.

(And yes, Barr has supposedly had his Damascan conversion. I am not entirely convinced that he's not simply looking for another teat to suckle at.)

(And for the record, I wouldn't vote for Ron Paul either as I find his immigration stance woefully backward.)

And at this point I think I'm done for the year in terms of political bullshitting in somebody else's backyard. Apologies, Darkoites.

At 9/03/2008 8:41 PM, Blogger Etchasketchist said...

I think every American citizen, by virtue of the fact that they are provided from birth with 1.)Freedom of speech, 2.)public education and literacy training and 3.) a free press, has the duty to be politically aware and active. The very lowest level of activity that I expect from every American is to 1. have opinions about the political structure of the country and 2. to vote. Anything more than that is impressive and laudable (no matter how awful the actual political opinions might be) and anything less is pathetic and unimpressive.

Carmelo Anthony is a pathetic and unimpressive American citizen.

At 9/03/2008 8:54 PM, Blogger HyTop said...

melo said he wanted to meet obama when the convention was going on.

also, in 04 he said he was going for kerry, then, when pressed, admitted he didn't vote.

he's just a fuck-up like half the ppl i know, except for the good-at-basketball thing. easiest target in the league. maybe stretch yourself next time.

At 9/03/2008 11:38 PM, Blogger The Electric Zarko said...

I guess one more short note: in the interest of future page-views, I'm not crazy; there were a bunch of posts here that aren't here now.

wv: qontxl: Mayan god of flatware

At 10/03/2008 3:50 PM, Blogger Kareem said...

Etchasketchrist: Your contention that Americans have freedom of speech is a little bit confusing to me. My study of history might be very wrong, but the last time I remember people actually exercising their First Amendment rights towards (real) change, a bunch of niggas wound up dead, spied on, or in jail. And the conservative call to have companies vote with their advertising dollars is as much a consideration for many professional athletes exercising their political feelings (that are more than likely a lot more real than the "middle-class" that our politicians keep talking to). Did anyone else care that Biden kept repeating his voting 100,000 more police onto the streets as his street cred? Biden 2016 for police state. No, you all are still so high on Obama's black skin.

Second, Etchasketchrist, voting is an extremely dissociated way to bring change to your community. Zarko's right, Dr. J's example is much more emulative for the civic minded celebrity.

Spending an hour once every four years is one of the most limited forms of participation. If we spent one hour every four years on hygiene, we'd roll around shitty assed and sickly. Politics affects us as much as hygiene. Why is there no expectation that an ideal citizen spends the same amount of time maintaining their community as they do maintaining themselves.

Was it not millions of hours of daily participation that realized blacks the right to vote? If you think hard about it (but not too hard) you'd realize change isn't a vote away, its 10 hours a week away. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't understand basic cause and effect. Voting isn't going to get Biden or Obama to start talking about poor people. Where I'm from 20% of the people live in poverty (abject or close). I was under some impression that FD was pretty bourgeois, but I am more surprised every day.

At 10/11/2008 4:05 PM, Blogger MagicFanBen said...

A quick personal story about Grant Hill.

Back in 2004 I was volunteering for the Kerry campaign on the first day of early voting at public library in "the hood." The lines were incredibly long (2+ hour wait to vote) and around noon I see Grant Hill walking through the parking lot. I start to look around for cameras, a news crew, or even an entourage, but there were none. He was dressed so plainly (Polo, shorts, and sandals) that seemingly nobody recognized him but me (a huge Magic fan). I spoke to one of the poll workers to get approval to bring him right in. They said "Sure, we already let David Vaughn cut the line." Vaughn of course was a former Magic first round bust who was drafted because he played with Penny at Memphis. He never amounted to ANYTHING in the league, but apparently still traded on his fame for special treatment… I couldn't make that up...LoL

Anyways, I walk out towards Mr. Hill, passing out water and information along the way, only to find that the line was now around the block. I go up to him, lean in and say, "Hello sir. I know who you are and I got approval for you to come right in and vote so you don't have to wait." He pauses, glances around and responds, "Thank you, but I can wait just like everyone else." I did not expect that response. I shook his hand and resumed my duties.

I will always remember the day I watched a millionaire athlete, a superstar, stand in line for over two hours in the Florida heat, so he could vote for a candidate that had pledged to raise his taxes. It was a very powerful moment for me, one I will use it to remind myself and others that no matter how financially successful I become in life that I must always vote my conscience and not my wallet and to never imagine myself as deserving of undeserved special treatment.

It also helped me to move past the resentment I normally would have held towards Hill for destroying my hometown franchise for the better part of a decade. :)

At 4/13/2009 2:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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