G.L.Piggy [at] gmail.com
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You don’t have to believe me, but if you’d have asked me before I’d seen this video who I thought was the most intelligent of ESPN’s NBA players-turned-analysts, I’d have named Greg Anthony or Tim Legler. Both of these guy’s have a coach’s knowledge of the game and they can present information in a clear and concise manner. TNT’s Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith are interesting and smart on basketball as well. ESPN’s Jalen Rose understands the street side of the game and can articulate on a lot of the inside hoops type stuff. Magic Johnson* and Chris Webber are full-blown idiots.
There is a weak correlation here between political ideology and intelligence (the only one of those guys who I know for sure is siding with the GOP is Anthony, but Magic Johnson is the most openly liberal, and he’s also the most openly unintelligent**.)
Predictably, Greg Anthony is receiving heavy fire for his support of Mitt Romney.
Jay Z and Samuel L. Jackson can endorse Obama and cite his race as the main reason for their support, but Greg Anthony can’t adopt a non-tribal rationale for his support of the Republican. And Anthony lays out a relatively intelligent critique, given the typical level of celebrity political rhetoric. How many athletes or celebrities even know what “centrist” means?
This is a pretty effective ad partly because of the racial component and also Anthony’s focus on Obama not being a centrist. This is an argument which will appeal to many marginal Obama voters (which I was). It pushes from the center by using the language “he is not a centrist” rather than yelling from the right that “he is a leftist”. That’s a subtle difference in tone which sounds like Frank Lutz ninja stuff.