Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Dean Smith Endorses Obama; Is Coach K Next To Endorse?

Duke and North Carolina’s basketball programs have become more entangled with presidential politics than perhaps any of their competitors. Reggie Love, a former Blue Devil walk-on, is Democratic nominee Barack Obama’s bodyman, and last year, Obama ran in a five-on-five scrimmage with the Tar Heels, astutely observing that the players on this year’s preseason No. 1 were “a lot better” than him. Lest you think Obama has an unbreakable allegiance to the Tar Heels, he did ball wtih former Duke point guard Chris Duhon and 6-foot-7 former Duke center Alison Bales last year.

And now we can add this curveball to the equation: legendary North Carolina head coach Dean Smith and his wife, Linnea, endorsed Obama in an e-mail sent to Obama supporters Monday morning. (E-mail after the jump.) Apologies for mixing sports metaphors. Further apologies for cliched metaphors.

Most college basketball fans know that Smith and Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski were never the best of friends. Smith represented the old guard, and Krzyzewski the new. And even though Krzyzewski seems more like Smith every day (a column for another day), it’s clear that they would still trade barbs on political issues. In 2002, Krzyzewski hosted a fundraiser for Republican Senate nominee Elizabeth Dole at the Washington Duke Inn on campus, inciting a swarm of unexpected and primarily negative media attention. What’s more, the event was dubbed “Blue Devils For Dole” and the invitations were sent to an undisclosed list of recipients, prompting accusations of University endorsements. (Former New York Times columnist Selena Roberts penned a witty column off the controversy four years before she failed miserably in covering another.)

Smith has made his move, supporting the increasingly popular candidate in this state that has swung from Republican stronghold to battleground to leaning Democratic in the past year. It’s not likely that Krzyzewski supports the same candidate. But will he endorse Republican presidential nominee John McCain? Given the ensuing firestorm the last time he made a political move, we don’t think so. Then again, his national profile has never been higher having led Team USA to a gold medal in August.

Moreover, should Krzyzewski publicly endorse? That is, is it the role of a college basketball coach to send out an e-mail to an (undisclosed) list of political supporters? (We must note that there is a difference between Smith and Krzyzewski; one is employed by a university, the other is not.) Professors are free to make their views public, and some are actively engaged in the local political scene. Then again, Krzyzewski is in a different position than your average tenured English professor. It is possible, after all, to associate his endorsement with that of the University–which is the exact reason Duke President Richard Brodhead has abstained from commenting publicly on the historic race.

It’s certainly something worth asking Krzyzewski at his first press conference of the season Friday. After all, the difference between Smith and Krzyzewski has has once again proven to be more than just a slight shade of blue.

–by Ben Cohen Continue reading

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Filed under Essays, Men's Basketball

Reggie Love Records Message For Blue Devils

The Sports Blog is decidedly nonpartisan, but only one former Blue Devil football and basketball player is the body man for a presidential nominee. Reggie Love, essentially Barack Obama’s personal assistant, recorded this promotional video urging Duke students to register to vote.

Props on the Pauly Dogs mention.

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Reggie Love: Middlebrow, Near-Brilliant

It’s been a good few weeks for former Duke football and basketball player Reggie Love, now better known as Barack Obama’s body man. In a week where his fellow alumni of Mike Krzyzewski’s program are back in Durham for the K Academy (only $10,000 to be a camper, and a portion is tax-deductible!) Love is busy adding to his collection of 10,000 photos on the campaign trail, gearing up for the general election and garnering front-page New York Times stories, like this one from May 27.

But Love, who walked on to Krzyzewski’s team as a power forward after signing as a football player, has made it even bigger this week: he’s on New York Magazine’s Approval Matrix, in one of our favorite positions: closer to brilliant than despicable, nearer to lowbrow than high. That’s something we should all strive for, right? Almost brilliantly middlebrow.

We’ve been trying to get an interview with the Democratic candidate’s body man for quite some time, and if you see a front-page story in The Chronicle, you’ll know if we’ve succeeded or not.

–by Ben Cohen

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Love, Obama Beat Journalists…In Wordplay

An interesting story on the wire today about Sen. Barack Obama playing word games with reporters on the back of his charter airplane. The game was called “Taboo,” and one person on the team gave hints about a certain word while his teammates guessed. Obama played with a team of about six aides, including former Duke football and basketball player Reggie Love, the bodyguard for Obama. (Towerview offered a short profile of Love and his involvement with Obama’s campaign earlier this year, but we can’t find the link right now.)

The politicos edged the scribes in two games, which led to some taunting from the virtual lock for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Here’s our favorite Love-related part of the game:

“Love…took a turn at giving clues, asking for a mall store ‘where gays go to buy clothes.’

‘Abercrombie and Fitch,’ answered Obama. Wrong. ‘The Gap,’ teammate Samantha Tubman correctly answered.”

–by Ben Cohen

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Ballin’ with Barack

While Johnny Dawkins was contemplating leaving Durham for greener pastures out west, former Blue Devil Alison Bales was on Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s team in the “3-on-3 Challenge for Change” at Maple Crest Middle School in Kokomo, Ind. Bales, who plays for the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, teamed up Obama, who is hoping a win in the Hoosier state can put away fellow democrat Hillary Clinton. Maybe a 15-5 victory over the opposition on the hardwood is a harbinger for the Illinois native’s chances in the state’s voting booths on May 6.

—by Meredith Shiner

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