Now that Donald Trump has emphatically shattered the neon ceiling for celebrities and pop culture icons who might secretly (or not so secretly) desire higher office, it’s worth taking a look at some sports figures who might have a future in “show business for ugly people.”
One word of warning here — conservatives are notoriously cheap dates, easily seduced by any celebrity who mouths a few sensible-sounding platitudes. I’m not vouching for the conservative bona fides of any of these people. I’m just saying that they’ve displayed enough common sense to warrant a look.
Sports Figures Who Should Get Into Politics
1. Charles Barkley
Sir Charles was once touted as a potential candidate for governor of Alabama by Republicans desperate to diversify their party and push back against its racist reputation. That little pipe dream has yet to materialize and probably never will, especially since he has long since disavowed his perceived Republican leanings, but before you dismiss Barkley as just another dumb jock talking head, you must acknowledge that he possesses enough common sense to stumble onto the truth fairly frequently. Recently, Barkley had this to say about anthem kneelers: “The thing is, the national anthem means different things to different people. I’m glad these guys are all unified, but if people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy that doesn’t want to kneel or the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.” It’s sad that such a tepid defense of standing for the anthem amounts to civil disobedience in today’s world, but that’s where we are.
2. Michael Jordan
He’s been a surprisingly terrible NBA owner, and his horrible fashion sense has made him highly meme-able over the years, but His Airness has parlayed his status as the greatest basketball player in history (sorry LeBron) into a stunningly successful second act. MJ was smart enough to recognize that “Republicans buy sneakers, too,” and that savvy has enabled him to amass a personal fortune surpassed by only three other African-Americans. He’s been a disappointment to many who would have liked to see him become an activist, an issue he addressed in The Last Dance documentary: “It’s never going to be enough for everybody, and I know that. I realize that. Because everybody has a preconceived idea for what I should do and what I shouldn’t do. The way I go about my life is I set examples. If it inspires you? Great, I will continue to do that. If it doesn’t? Then maybe I’m not the person you should be following.” Makes sense to me.
3. Nick Saban
Saban runs his program like a federalist, with delegated responsibilities amid a strong organizational structure and commitment to proven methods and metrics. Yes, he led a BLM march through Tuscaloosa, but that was nothing more than a sign of pragmatism, a bit of Trumpian dealmaking to maintain his players’ loyalties. He’s deft with the media, unafraid to put pesky know-nothing journalists in their place. Sound familiar?
4. Alejandro Villanueva
Steelers OT Villanueva has a sterling record of military service — he earned a Bronze Star in Afghanistan — and the courage (and the imposing frame) to buck woke sports culture through quiet acts of patriotism. He may well be the most admirable figure in sports today. The guy’s right out of central casting and has a limitless political future if he wants it.
5. Clay Travis and Jason Whitlock
This duo has relentlessly pushed back against leftist insanity and overreach from their perch atop the fast-growing Outkick the Coverage website, an island of anti-woke commentary in the deep blue sea of sports journalism. Travis would have undeniable appeal to moderates; he likes to point out that he voted for Obama twice. Plus, Trump has made politics safer for Travis’ brand of flamethrowing. Whitlock is a thoughtful observer of American sports culture, a Tom Wolfe type unafraid to point out that the emperor is often stark naked.
6. Herschel Walker
At the 2020 Republican National Convention, Walker gave a far more eloquent defense of Donald Trump’s character than Trump himself ever has, or ever could hope to. Walker exudes class, something that’s missing from today’s politics, and he’s a legend in his home state. You listening, Georgia GOP?
Dishonorable mention: Had Mike Ditka answered his party’s call to enter the 2004 Illinois senate race, he might have clipped the wings of an ambitious but unaccomplished young politician named Barack Obama. And he knows it, too, calling it “the biggest mistake I ever made.”
Sports Figures Who Should Not Enter Politics
1. Mark Cuban
Cubes’ obvious political aspirations have yielded little but Twitter slap fights with Ted Cruz and a pigheaded determination to lash himself to the mast of the NBA’s sinking woke ship. He’s no leftist version of Trump, much as he would like to be. Once he inevitably gets into politics, he’ll be a public meltdown waiting to happen.
2. LeBron James
King James is China’s court jester. He notoriously condemned Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s “stand with Hong Kong” tweet as “misinformed” and “not educated.” For a guy who carefully (but often ineptly) stage-manages his public persona, it was an own goal of staggering proportions, one that in a sane world would disqualify him from ever dreaming about public office.
3. Colin Kaepernick
As a political figure, Kaepernick is too toxic, even in today’s BLM-dominated climate, but he can rest on his laurels as the guy who has done as much as anybody to put us in the racial morass where we currently reside.
4. Tom Brady
Successful, handsome and charming, Brady seems to have everything a politician needs. But far too many people resent his success, making him a non-starter. He should just retire to his mansion and frolic with Gisele in his piles of money, Scrooge McDuck-style.
5. Bill Belichick
Belichick has built a coaching resume that’s beyond compare but tainted with cheating scandals. And talk about prickly — the guy makes Trump seem cuddly.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.