On this day of President Barack Obama’s historic inauguration, sports pages across the nation are full of columns about the 44th president’s close ties to basketball and the influence sports have had in breaking down racial barriers in the U.S.A. over the past century. In the complex unfolding of history, we find the roots of the present in the moments of the past – and yes, this includes baseball games.
We know about Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. We’ve heard about Jesse Owens winning four gold medals in front of Adolf Hitler at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. We’ve witnessed Hank Aaron and Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan emerge as heroes. These athletes have all played instrumental roles in the struggle for racial equality, whether they meant to or not.
It is clear sports have helped pave the way for the events we are witnessing today. To what degree is a matter of healthy debate. Meanwhile, stepping outside of the history books and into Obama’s personal life, we can see the impact sports have had on the man who is now the Commander in Chief of the United States of America. Basketball helped shape his youth and while his hoops career, for the most part, ended in high school, YouTube shows us that Mr. Obama still has plenty of game. Click here for modern Obama and here for the classic Obama.
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