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7/20/2007 02:29:00 PM

Five athletes who should run for office

Shaquille O'Neal, Peyton Manning
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
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7/18/2007 12:53:00 PM

Alex Smith's Top Five Football Films

Remember the Titans
Remember the Titans had all the elements that make a sports movie special.
Photo by AP
By Richard Deitsch, SI.com

If the quarterback thing doesn't work out, Alex Smith might have a career as a film critic. The Niners third-year QB is a serious movie buff who loves nothing more than heading to the cinema on his off-day. SI.com recently caught up with Smith and asked him for his top five football movies of all time. His list:

1. The Program

2. Any Given Sunday

3. Remember the Titans

4. Rudy

5. Brian's Song

Says Smith: "When I was little and dreamed about playing college football. The Program was kind of the movie then. Remember the Titans is based on a true story and besides football, there are a lot of things going on. The movie makes you feel good and it's really well done. Rudy is about heart and work ethic and how much you put into it, and that's the kind of guy I am with football. I think it's a game where you get out what you put in. Brian's Song is a classic. I remember watching it when I was younger and I loved the look of the old Bears camp. It's a touching story. There's a lot to take away from that film besides football."
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7/16/2007 12:44:00 PM

Top five all-time sports/celebrity marriages

Wayne Gretzky
Wayne Gretzky couldn't hide his excitement on his wedding day to Janet Jones.
Photo by AP
By Lang Whitaker, SI.com

The Beckham Experience was in full effect this weekend. And despite the best recent efforts of Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, Posh and Becks are sports' presiding royal couple. But they have an important legacy to uphold. Athletes and celebrities often hook up, though few take the plunge into marriage. Some couples make themselves into celebrities post-marriage (see Benson, Anna), but this list is about genuine stars, two supernovas burning brightly side-by-side. Hopefully with pre-nups.

Here are my top five all-time sports/celebrity marriages.

1. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe: The Yankee Clipper was one of the greatest hitters ever, and he anchored the Yankees for 15 seasons. Marilyn defined "Blonde Bombshell," and was just establishing herself as a movie star when she and Joe D married in 1954. They were married less than a year, but they remain the golden standard for athlete/celebrity power couples.

2. Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones: Perhaps the greatest hockey player of all-time got hitched to one of the most undistinguished actresses of all-time in 1988. (Unless, improbably, you love the film American Anthem, in which case Mrs. Gretzky is a wildly distinguished actress.) Their wedding was broadcast live throughout Canada, and together they drew flashbulbs in LA and, later, New York. Jones reduced her acting workload and went on to be implicated in an alleged gambling ring. Gretzky runs the Phoenix Coyotes. They are still married.

3. Ahmad Rashad and Phylicia Ayers-Allen: Rashad was a four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who, by the 1980s, had moved on to a career in sportscasting. In 1985, Rashad asked Ayers-Allen, who was then starring on the most popular show on television, The Cosby Show, to marry him during an NFL pregame show. Though they divorced in 2001, they both remain in the public eye, Ayers-Allen acting on Broadway and television, Rashad appearing on NBA TV.

4. John McEnroe and Tatum O'Neal: The daughter of Ryan O'Neal and an Oscar winner at the age of 10, Tatum also proved to be an excellent pitcher in The Bad News Bears. The fiery McEnroe was the No. 1 tennis player in the world and was coming off a ridiculous 1984 season where he finished with a record of 82-3, winning 13 tournaments. They wed in 1986. McEnroe was never again as dominant and O'Neal has yet to be nominated for another Academy Award. They stayed married for 16 years, divorcing in 2002. McEnroe later married former Scandal lead singer Patti Smyth and hosted one of the most awkward talk shows of all-time.

5. Mike Tyson and Robin Givens: Tyson was once the heavyweight champion of the world, back when that phrase used to mean something. He was a dynamo in the ring, destroying opponent after opponent. Givens starred on the popular Head Of The Class. They married in 1988, and soon after appeared on 20/20, where Givens bluntly described their union as "worse than anything I could possibly imagine" -- while they were still married! They divorced soon after, and Tyson began what could generously be called a downward spiral. Givens also failed to recapture her previous levels of fame.

Did we forget anyone? Give us more famous celebrity couples…

Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com
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