I'm not at all a sports person, but this initiative sounds fantastic and has the potential to actually motivate people to vote. Sports is such a powerful force and influential on many people's lives. These athletes are like cultural icons. I think this can have a real impact on the election.
NBA players’ historic push to increase turnout started by getting each other to vote
Politics have long been a force in Mo Bamba’s life. When he was a schoolboy in Harlem, Bamba wrote a letter to President Barack Obama, urging him to find “new ways to help homeless people.” In high school, the director of admissions at Bamba’s private boarding school predicted he would become either a Hall of Fame basketball player or a U.S. senator. And in his only year at the University of Texas, Bamba enrolled in a course called “The Black Power Movement.”
But like many young Black men, when it came time to vote in 2016, Bamba passed.
“Now, looking back on it, it was crazy to me that I didn’t,” said Bamba, a center for the NBA’s Orlando Magic. He views not voting “as a huge mistake.”
Now Bamba, along with players across the NBA, plans to change that. And not satisfied with increasing the turnout on just their rosters, the players and league are using their power to push a singular political message between now and next month’s election: Vote.
Teams have held drive-in registration events, installed ballot drop boxes on their privately owned sites and scheduled Nov. 3 as a paid day off for employees. And while other leagues, notably the NFL and WNBA, have promoted voting, the NBA has pooled its resources for what will be the most organized and largest political effort executed by a professional sports league, with 22 of 30 teams turning either their arenas or practice facilities into polling places.
It’s a show of corporate strength expected to continue through the NBA Finals and into the offseason. But it has largely been the players, reckoning with their past apathy while realizing their power as political influencers, who have made increasing turnout this election a personal issue.
“Yes, the league has been engaged on this issue, but all of that was because the players were already behind it. It wasn’t the other way around,” said Sherrie Deans, an executive with the National Basketball Players Association. “They’re pulling every power lever that they’ve got. … Whatever happens in this election, it won’t be because they weren’t present.”
This newfound enthusiasm came with an asterisk, though: Despite being considered some of the most outspoken athletes in sports, very few NBA players voted in 2016. Among the eligible voters within the league, only 22 percent cast ballots, according to statistics provided by the players’ union.
More importantly, this effort is organized:
But that presented the union with a challenge. Recognizing that others would follow Paul into voting advocacy, the union wanted to ensure its players were living the life they were advocating.
The union made a push to conduct voter registrations for all 30 teams. It started last offseason, registering players at the NBA Summer League and during the Rookie Transition Program, the mandatory three-day event that helps new players adapt to the NBA. Then union officials moved from city to city, registering individual players.
James’s focus on voting has ignited his peers. Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum narrated a poll worker recruitment ad for More Than a Vote. Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. starred in a PSA that aired on BET for National Black Voter Day. Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who had never voted before, recently joined D.C. election officials to urge other first-time voters to join him at the polls.
This is all very encouraging and positive. The whole article is worth reading if you have access.
@hm--us: It wasn't clear from what I wrote, but my comments about judges weren't limited to Barrett. They apply to the prior nomination of Kavanaugh as well or any DT appointed judge. It is just that the two events recently, namely DT's official naming of Barrett on the weekend and DT's boorish behavior on full display Tuesday, make the contradiction inescapable. I don't know much about Barrett yet personally. I'll have to look into this "People of Praise" group.
she probably has some significant personal ambition and drive to have gotten to where she is
She probably also had people pulling strings for her. In my experience that's often the case for people in high places. I've heard of fundamentalist Christians' rationalizations for supporting the president before, and if Barrett truly wants to think of DT as a King David, that's fine, but then she shouldn't be a federal judge. I see him more like a "useful idiot" (to their cause), but he does think of himself as a king.