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Assessing the political pulse from L.A. sports figures

November 2, 2008 |  8:56 pm

Baron_300Conventional wisdom says sports is a safe topic to discuss around the dinner table. Politics? Don’t even go there.

But that doesn’t mean they can’t be intertwined. You can poll athletes about where they stand on the election. That’s what a former colleague at the Syracuse student newspaper, The Daily Orange, attempted four years ago. Or you can prognosticate on who coaches likely would support.

Or you can remember Journalism 101, where you watched All the President’s Men, which chronicled the Watergate investigation by Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Deep Throat told Woodward to "follow the money" to uncover the truth. That advice is also an easy method to see whether any of our sports figures wear blue or red, assuming they donate at least $250.

Records suggest more sports figures in Los Angeles support Barack Obama.

Lakers Coach Phil Jackson gave $2,300 to Barack Obama’s campaign. Johnny Buss, son of Lakers owner Jerry Buss, donated amounts of $250 five times to the Democratic candidate. David Secor, UCLA’s senior associate athletic director, donated $250 once.

Magic Johnson took an interesting approach. He donated $2,300 to Obama’s campaign last year before making two separate donations of $2,300 to Hillary Clinton nearly five months later.

Clippers guard Baron Davis (pictured above) doubles Jackson in two separate contributions to Obama’s campaign. He was master of ceremonies at an event for Obama and even rebutted Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, who said he didn’t want Obama to win because his taxes would be too high.

That might be why former Dodgers owner Peter O’Malley spent $2,300 on John McCain’s campaign. Current Dodgers President Jamie McCourt gave the same amount to Christopher Dodd. Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger hoped his $2,000 would help Rudolph Giuliani win the primary.

But the race is between McCain and Obama. And on Tuesday, we’ll find out who the American people, including our sports figures, will elect as president.

-- Mark Medina

Photo credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times