Courtside: Presenting the Democratic candidates as sports figures

first_imgContrary to the Sanders/LeBron dichotomy in which a middle-ground stance is nonexistent and essentially forbidden, that dynamic doesn’t play out with Klobuchar or Leonard. In fact, most people I know lack an opinion about either. Neither is very hated (outside of the state of Texas), but neither is really worshipped (in the United States). Plus, did you see the way Klobuchar defended herself against Pete Buttigieg’s relentless attacks in Wednesday’s Democratic debate? That’s worthy of a Defensive Player of the Year Award — or two.  There’s a lot happening in the world of sports right now, especially in Los Angeles. The NBA second half is about to kick off and the Lakers and Clippers are gunning for a top seed. Two USC basketball teams are playing key games down the stretch and making their cases for the NCAA Tournament. The MLB is a shitshow and the Dodgers are indirectly involved in that, for obvious trash-can- and 2017-World-Series-related reasons. If I’m being honest, Klobuchar is about as entertaining of a speaker as Leonard. The monotone, often expressionless and rather mundane style serves as a constant reminder that Leonard isn’t here to have fun, just to play basketball — and, in Klobuchar’s case, run for president.  What do these two things, sports and the primaries, have to do with each other? Honestly, pretty much nothing. But I do understand that the various going-ons of the sports world can be so time consuming that it’s hard to be fully informed about the various going-ons of the political world. For all you sports fiends out there faced with this predicament, fear not — here’s each relevant candidate described as a sports figure in a half-assed attempt to make things easier to understand.  There’s also another important thing going on in the world, and it’s about to take L.A. and California by storm: the Democratic primary. (Wait, don’t lose me, I understand this is a sports column. I’ll get there.)  Both of them are quite experienced, they both have lost in the finals, and they’ll both earn their spot in the next “final” of their respective fields. Ooh! A dual prediction!  Sen. Elizabeth Warren — Kevin Durant Michael Bloomberg — New York Yankees I’m not knocking the basketball talent or the political smarts. But the hype is way too high. No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft? F-cking president? Y’all need to relax.  Both were once far more popular than they are today, and both are becoming even more unpopular by the minute. But, alas, they’re still quite relevant in their fields — for better, or, more likely, for worse. You either love or you hate LeBron, and the same applies to Bernie. Seriously, have you ever heard someone express a neutral opinion about the Lakers superstar or the Vermont senator? Didn’t think so. Whichever side you stand on, you can’t deny they’re both remarkably consistent. LeBron has been an MVP candidate essentially every year for the past decade, and Sanders probably holds the record for fewest flip-flops of any politician, ever. Rich. They think they can spend their way to the top, and honestly, they may not be wrong. Judging by the most recent national polls, Bloomberg has a shot to win this thing, and the Yankees certainly have a shot to take home the title in 2020 as well. Spending ridiculous sums of money on ads, spending ridiculous sums of money on Gerrit Cole. Money talks, I guess.  Look, the promise is undeniably there. But come on, what has he actually done? Australian basketball? Mayor of South Bend? Lithuanian basketball? Please.  Sen. Amy Klobuchar — Kawhi Leonard Joe Biden — Clay Helton Sen. Bernie Sanders — LeBron James Pete Buttigieg — LaMelo Ball  Both Warren and Durant have been labeled by many angry followers of their respective fields as snakes, and, to be honest, it’s not a totally outlandish statement.  Both of them were in prominent positions of quite successful teams just a few years ago, and at one point, some people thought they were both the guy. But recently, it’s becoming more and more obvious that their positive images were an illusion, created by someone else who actually was great and just took them along for the ride. Barack Obama, meet Sam Darnold.  But once you move past that and realize that their snake-like tendencies are blown way out of proportion, what you’ll find is actually quite impressive. Durant is pretty damn good at basketball; Warren is smart, prepared and knows what she’s talking about. Don’t tell your friends you like either of them, though — it’s not “cool.”  Both say a lot of things that make you go, what? Did he really just say that? They both often make you wonder if they really know what’s going on. Yes, Warren slightly backstabbed longtime pal Sanders for comments that she may have twisted and taken out of context; yes, Durant ditched his good friend Russell Westbrook and slightly snaked on the Thunder in 2016; yes, both of these moves were done with bigger goals in mind: Warren, the White House; Durant, a ring. What else does money do? It makes people hate you. If Bloomberg didn’t have the money, no one would be talking about his past racism or sexism because he wouldn’t be relevant. If the Yankees didn’t have the money, they’d be just another franchise — not the hated-by-everyone-except-Yankees-fans organization that they are.  I acknowledge this exercise was totally worthless. When the primaries roll around, don’t rely on my stupid column, do your own damn research. But, if you take away one thing, let it be this: Joe Biden gives off insane Clay Helton vibes. Nathan Ackerman is a sophomore writing about sports and sociopolitics. He is also an associate managing editor of the Daily Trojan. His column, “Courtside,” runs every Friday.last_img

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