4.06.2009

Obama to Turkish Parliament: Okur, Turkoglu Can Play



(starts at 6:00)

In what must have been the first reference to an NBA player by an American president speaking before a foreign parliament, Obama just wrapped up a speech to Turkey's assembly wherein he both denied that the U.S. is at war with Islam, and gave a shout out to Mehmet Okur and Hedo Turkoglu.

"As a basketball fan, I’ve even noticed that Hedo Turkoglu and Mehmet Okur have got some pretty good basketball games," he said to a rousing round of applause from the delegation.

Obama's stop in Turkey comes after visits to London, Strasburg and Baden Baden, during which he pointedly refrained from showing love to either Luol Deng, Boris Diaw or Dirk Nowitzki. Whether this reflects a stylistic preference on Obama's part, or rather the strategic importance of Turkey as one of the world's few Muslim democracies*, remains an open question.

Also, if you haven't already, be sure to check out this piece by John Hardwood in yesterday's New York Times, which quotes Obama likening Biden to an underappreciated teammate who “gets that extra rebound, takes the charge, makes that extra pass.” Hardwood goes on to suggest that the success of Obama's agenda depends on his political apositionality - a far more inspired application of the hoops metaphor than Al Hunt's suggestion in Bloomberg today that Obama, like LeBron, wants the ball in prime time.

*I originally said 'sole Muslim democracy', but Doug in the comments points to Indonesia, which is also Muslim and a democracy. I suppose Lebanon could be considered a contender as well.

(Shoals will be up with something more substantial later today. Until then, consider this an open thread).

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14 Comments:

At 4/06/2009 11:42 AM, OpenID Ben said...

It's been interesting to see the recent overlap of politics and sports. The Republican Ray Allen post was initruing, but this is just plain funny. Is sports the future of diplomacy? In the future, will we give positions to politicians too (ex. Obama would be a Democratic Point Guard)?

 
At 4/06/2009 11:49 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

Not to contradict what I said yesterday ("this is just JFK + Lincoln hyperbole driven underground"), there is a certain apositionality to Obama's political persona. The question is, does he end up Lamar Odom or Kevin Garnett?

I don't think the guy who wrote this realized that players who can handle any position are as likely to disappoint as, for this capacity alone, find success.

 
At 4/06/2009 12:52 PM, Blogger Doug said...

Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim country, also is a democracy.

 
At 4/06/2009 1:16 PM, Blogger SilverBird5000 said...

Forgot about Indonesia. I've added a correction.

 
At 4/06/2009 1:17 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

I read this initially as "Forget about Indonesia," which was a lot more funny.

 
At 4/06/2009 1:53 PM, Blogger EL MIZ said...

only at FD can one find obama's speech to turkish parliament embedded in a post. cheers.

24>23

 
At 4/06/2009 3:27 PM, Blogger MC Welk said...

Yeliz has mad game.

 
At 4/06/2009 9:59 PM, Blogger Tree Frog said...

Oddly enough, I think this is the more substantive post made today.

If Obama uses basketball analogies to describe people and things around him, does that mean he also subscribes to the "birthright of the stars" theory that so many NBA superstars seem to embody?

Is Obama trying to channel Jordan the baller/aloof marketing icon or Stern the hilarious, yet cold decision-maker who refuses to explain stuff frequently? Is he aware of Stern's personality and effect on the game?

 
At 4/07/2009 10:01 AM, Blogger J Rock said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4/07/2009 10:09 AM, Blogger J Rock said...

He's sleeping on Ersan Ilyasova. Don't make the same mistake.

 
At 4/07/2009 10:24 AM, Blogger W2 said...

Solid comments Tree Frog.

I spent most of last night (after reading this post) wondering how much Okur meant to the Pistons championship team-and how you could illistrate or quantify this and how much did his absence (versus Larry Brown's flirting with other teams or Detroits own "If it Ain't Rough it Ain't Right" mentality become fatalistic or the DWade facotr) result is less success.

His numbers are similiar to McD but I felt like he gave them something else. Some kind of Euro swagger (is there such a thing...kind of like a Sybonis vibe) that somehow made the team more compelling/likeable/complete.

 
At 6/01/2009 12:22 PM, Blogger Octopus Grigori said...

Re Muslim democracies:
http://www.cfr.org/publication/7708/#3

 
At 6/25/2009 1:03 PM, Blogger wopgdpgjoasidh said...

This guy is an idiot...Turkey is not the sole "muslim democracy" in the world...Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, are muslim democracies just to name a few ....

 
At 6/14/2013 3:43 AM, Blogger Jim Philips said...

I have to admit that it is something that he should do long time ago but it is great that it solved the misunderstanding and Thanks for it. I will let Host Pay Per Head community about it.

 

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