Bad Omen?

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The Obama campaign sent out an email yesterday bragging about this, but I'm not so sure it's a good thing. Greg Oden says:

Like a lot of young people, I’ve been drawn to Senator Obama’s campaign and the potential he has for our country. Obama gives Americans, especially young voters like me, a sense of hope in politics. He makes us feel like we can come together for the good of our country. Topics like education, and healthcare are very important to me and I agree with Senator Obama's views on these issues.

For those of you who normally ignore my NBA posts, Oden was one of the most highly-touted draft picks ever. In part, this is because he graduated from high school as part of the very first class of high school graduates who weren't allowed to leap straight to the NBA. Thus the guy who, by acclamation, would have been the number one pick in the 2006 draft instead had to play a year in college granting us a second whole year of being treated to talk of what a phenomenal prospect he was. Then the Portland Trailblazers won the draft lottery, took Oden with the number one pick, and Oden promptly suffered a season-ending injury. So is Obama like the much-hyped prospect who wins up letting your team down? A disturbing thought. Oden is, however, prepared to vouch for Obama's ability to talk about basketball from day one:

The conversation was quick - like two minutes but I got to talk to him like a real person. What I got from talking to him is that he is a real sports fan and he knew about the Blazers. He said that when I come back Brandon, LaMarcus and I will be a force next year. He also asked me about my knee, and he said he wasn't feeling my mohawk - lol. I laughed and explained to him that it's just a haircut to me and he told me he liked how I handle myself as a young man - "Thanks Mom."

This seems astute. The West very, very tough but you have to think the Blazers are well-positioned for the future. All that said, at this point I feel like the campaign comes down to Texas, and it's really Kevin Durant's endorsement that one wants. Or LeBron James. And of course Obama's international mystique is reminiscent of the San Antonio Spurs. At the end of the day, the NBA -- full of rich young black men -- seems like endlessly promising territory for Obama endorsements.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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