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Monday, January 21, 2008

Hillary Abdul-Jabbar

posted by on January 21 at 9:53 AM

Annie knows how to lobby. She alerted me to a Clinton ad that’s running in South Carolina.

In the ad, former NBA star Magic Johnson says:

This is Magic Johnson. On the court and in life, successful leadership comes from hard work and experience. Thatís why Iím endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. We have great candidates this year, but I believe only Hillary is a proven leader, with 35 yearsí experience dealing with challenges facing America. Are you looking for better jobs, universal health care, better treatment for veterans, opportunities for your children? Then you want Hillary Clinton for President. My rookie year, we won our first game on a last second shot. I was so hyped. But the captain of my team said, ďtake it easy rookie, itís a long season, itís a long road to the championship.Ē He was right. Winning comes from years of hard work and preparation. Whether itís winning championships or a President who can lead us back to greatness, Iíll always want the most prepared and experienced person leading my team. Thatís why Iím asking you to join me in voting for Hillary Clinton for President.

Wheeew boy. This ad is a fuck up. In addition to making an appeal to South Carolina’s Democrats (50% of the party’s primary voters are traditionally black voters) with a basketball player … Here’s the other problem: The Clinton camp is trying to cast Hillary as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (the Team Captain that Johnson mentions) while casting Obama as the inexperienced Johnson.. Unfortunately, that last-second-shot Johnson reminds voters about? That’s an iconic moment in NBA history that anyone over 35 (most voters) remembers. Everyone forgets the shotówhich Jabbar hitóand remembers Johnson’s hugs and smiles.

The meaning of that moment? The changing of the guardówhen Magic replaced Jabbar in the public mind as the heart of the NBA.

As for “the road to the championship.” Well, here’s how Johnson’s rookie season ended:

the Lakers still had to travel to Philadelphia for a huge Game 6—without Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Enter Magic Johnson, who may have played the greatest game of his career. On May 16, 1980, in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, playing on the road, in Philadelphia, Magic (a 6’9” point guard) started the game at center and eventually played every position on the floor in a dominating performance. Scoring a game-high 42 points and grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds—and handing out 7 assists—Magic Johnson led the Lakers to the NBA crown, stunning Julius Erving, the Philadelphia 76ers, and a national television audience who came to understand the moniker “Magic.”

Magic Johnson was named the 1980 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, though he appreciated Magic Johnson’s play as much as anyone, expressed disappointment that he, Kareem, had not received the Finals MVP award.


I’m a Hils fan, and an even bigger Kareem fan, and so I’m a little mortified at this bad play.

RSS icon Comments


What you don't now about politics could fill a basketball gym. It's a good ad.

It really is time for you to get a job elsewhere. You really tired, and it shows.

Posted by Josh, you're no Art Thiel | January 21, 2008 10:31 AM

I won't be as harsh as @1, but Josh, I don't think the average voter is gonna analyze it this much or even remember all these facts. As much as it pains me to say it, I think this is a good ad.

Posted by Mike of Renton | January 21, 2008 10:35 AM

Who is "Hils"?

You mean the nasty B!tch we refer to as HRC?

The Ad is a joke. People get tired of this kind of blatant pandering, and it shows how desperate she is to win at all costs.

The Republicans love that she is still a candidate, as this will galvanize their base and allow them to pull over Dems who hate her as much as I do.

Keep it up.. you'll soon find out for yourself.

Posted by Reality Check | January 21, 2008 10:41 AM


It's not a bad ad. Just having fun pointing out that, historically, it's a misread.

Posted by Josh Feit | January 21, 2008 10:47 AM

Thanks for the memories, Josh. I've been a Laker fan my entire life. You are totally overanalyzing this.

The point of the ad - Magic Johnson telling you that experience matters - comes through loud and clear.

And if you really want to break it down, Magic's point is that, despite his excitement after winning the first game, the Lakers wouldn't have made it to the Finals at all had it not been for Kareem's steady leadership throughout the long and difficult season.

Posted by Mahtli69 | January 21, 2008 10:50 AM

Meanwhile, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has endorsed Obama.

Posted by annie | January 21, 2008 10:54 AM

I used to think that my well documented whoring around in bathrooms, bathhouses, parks, and online would prevent me from ever having a political career. Posts like this make me realize it's my utter disdain for professional sports.

Posted by Gitai | January 21, 2008 11:05 AM

Three points for Annie!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 21, 2008 11:11 AM

you're thinking about it waaaaay too much. it's like this:

magic is black;
magic endorses hillary;
therefore, black people should vote for hillary

you were correct to disregard the fact that no one should give a flying fuck which candidate any professional athlete supports. you're not supposed to think about that.

Posted by brandon | January 21, 2008 11:21 AM

Real interesting stuff, Josh. Now go back to Olympia and write some more posts about banning plastic bags or something.

Posted by J.R. | January 21, 2008 11:42 AM

Oh, the hatred.

Posted by Josh Feit | January 21, 2008 11:43 AM

Good solid political communication.
Probably moves a few points.

The African American voters in South Carolina are principally older and tilt towards women. Why should we think the're up on the "inside basketball" stuff Josh knows about?

It's a great ad because it reinforces the overall Clinton message, the messenger is right for the audience, and the delivery is via an accessible story or tale, not a bunch of facts or figures or wonkyness.

And, it raises a negative without being a nasty hit -- it's Magic telling one on himself (the negative comparison to Obama being implied and unstated).

Posted by Cleve | January 21, 2008 11:46 AM

@6 - Well, duh. They are both Muslim after all.

Posted by Joe Sixpack | January 21, 2008 12:11 PM



Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 21, 2008 1:11 PM

"Both Ervin 'Magic' Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played on the 1980 Lakers, but their talents would have amounted to nothing without the guidance of their white coach, PAUL WESTHEAD, who guided them to the NBA title. Vote Hillary Rodham Clinton for President. She is an experienced coach."

Posted by Bub | January 21, 2008 2:56 PM

Hilary = Lewis Alcindor Jr.
Lovable Christian

Barack Hussein Obama = Kareem Abdul-Jabar Scary Muslim

Posted by vooodooo84 | January 21, 2008 3:40 PM

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