Sports Illustrated has this annoying tendency to serve up its sports coverage with a side dish of liberal politics. On its website, basketball writer Jack McCallum wrote of deciding to compare Democratic presidential candidates to NBA playoff teams after watching the Democrats debate on C-SPAN in the middle of the night after some spicy quesadillas.
He began by lauding Mike Gravel's routine of poking Barack Obama about which country America should "nuke" next. "So there you are -- Gravel is the Golden State Warriors. A feisty, combative, in-your-face underdog who loves the public stage." Later, McCallum added to the comparison: "Unorthodox and even a little scary, both are trying to overcome the odds with offense." Here are the other comparisons, enough to ruin the day of a conservative fan of any of these teams:
Chicago Bulls = Dennis Kucinich: Undersized but confident and intelligent. Neither team nor candidate will go away even if some say they have no chance of advancing any farther.
Cleveland Cavaliers = Joe Biden: The Cavs, like the candidate, seem awfully confident and even haughty. But they make critical mistakes and haven't shown they can close.
Dallas Mavericks = Hillary Clinton: The target everyone was gunning for from the beginning. No-nonsense and business-like, both candidate and team have a strong male figure behind the throne, one named Bill, one named Mark. As with Hillary, it was the Mavs' to lose ... and they just might lose it.
Phoenix Suns = John Edwards: Neat, clean, fun and articulate, with a strong chance of proving they are not third best.
Detroit Pistons = Barack Obama: Both team and candidate are poised almost to the point of smugness and both are a strong favorite to make the Final Two. But get either of them in a tight spot and they know how to mix it up, and, possibly, even self-destruct.
San Antonio Spurs = Bill Richardson: A strong resume and an understated way of getting things done. In many respects, in fact, the best in the field. But both team and candidate are often overlooked and undervalued.
Houston Rockets (or Utah Jazz or New Jersey Nets) = Christopher Dodd: All three teams have a track record, they're kind of hanging around and, like the veteran senator from Connecticut, their face is familiar. But no one is quite sure if they're really in the race.
I'm sure it's safe for McCallum to call Edwards "clean" and "articulate," but it might be more politically troublesome (a la Biden) to use those adjectives for the Suns.
(Hat tip: NewsBusters reader Johnny Du)