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7/20/2007 02:29:00 PM
Five athletes who should run for office
Shaquille O'Neal and Peyton Manning possess the leadership qualities needed to be in government.
Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com
It's nearly that time again, when the politicians return and take to stages around the nation to debate their -- and our -- futures. Election 2008 is right around the corner, and we're going to be inundated with candidates vying to spend four years in the White House. Since Gerald Ford, though, there hasn't really been a former high-level athlete in the White House. Here are my top five athletes who should run for office after their playing days…
1. Shaquille O'Neal: The Diesel has long talked about running for sheriff when his NBA career ends, and he's already known for being involved with local police departments in ride-along busts, etc. But will voters want Kazaam in the White House?
2. Peyton Manning: The NFL's current golden boy is already a successful product pitchman, and overcoming his football demons and finally winning the Superbowl a few months back only adds to his legacy. Besides, Tom Brady seems too focused on Gisele to spend his time on politics.
3. Barry Bonds: Sure, he's divisive, but he has the support of the people, as evidenced by his recent election to the All-Star team. Will his support base erode in light of continuing allegations surrounding him?
4. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Thanks to his NASCAR heritage and video appearances with Jay-Z, he already appeals to a wide base. Could unify voters in the Southern states.
5. Rasheed Wallace: My personal favorite. Sheed would cut through the bureaucracy in DC, never taking no from an answer. Also, his press conferences would likely be highly entertaining.
God bless and good night.
Who would you like to see in the White House? Cast your votes below…
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
If we're talking about athletes who'd make great politicians, we've got to judge them on their ability to sling BS and get people to believe it. Afterall, that's what politicians do best. That being said, here's my list:
1. Lance Armstrong - I don't care how many times he denies it, his Tour De France victories were tainted. He's the "Slick Willie" of the sports world whose battle with cancer has continued to engender enough sympathy to overshadow doping allegations. The guy's a PR juggernaut. Put him in office!
2. Barry Bonds - Another master of slinging the BS as well as turning everything around & making himself sound like the victim when asked hard questions by reporters. He's another cheater who'd make a great press secretary!
3. Isiah Thomas - Great smile, smoothe talker, and full of empty promises and an inability to get the job done, even with the deepest pockets in the league. Spend, spend, spend with poor results...But he always keeps smiling! He should be Barak Obama's running mate.
4. A-Rod - Great looks, affairs with strippers, and completely disingenuous. This guy is so phony that I don't even know why reporters even bother asking him questions anymore. The guy's got it all! A-Rod, you got my vote!
5. Shaq - For all of the GOOD reasons that you mentioned. No BS out of The Diesel's mouth!
I don't know about the White House, but I could definitely see a guy like Lance Armstrong going for a Senate seat in a few years. Don't forget, Lynn Swann was/is active in politics - he ran for Pennsylvania governor a couple of years ago, and he's considering going after a spot in the House.