Marcus Sloan is not only back on the basketball court, he’s also back on BallinEurope. This time he’s talking about — what else? — Barack Obama. The 44th president, who is the greatest presidential basketball fan so far, was introduced as the American president yesterday and Mister Sloan had this to say:
Today is a day that’s bigger than basketball, bigger than me, and bigger than all of us. It’s a day that will go down in history, not just American history, but world history! And a day after the Martin Luther King holiday in the States, we have a black president. And this being my first blog of the season, I could have blogged about coming back to my old team in Switzerland, or how I started the season in Lebanon, and somewhere in between ended up Reno, Nevada, in the D League. But all of that pales in comparison to what has happened these past two days!
The inauguration of President Barack H. Obama has different value to different people, but to me it means everything. It means I now have a leader that I can look to and say if he can do it, I know I can, too. Now of course basketball players idolize and look up to guys like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe, Lebron, etc. But to have the leader of the “free world” be someone I can look to as an inspiration leaves me speechless. And in the words of PRESIDENT OBAMA (that has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it) “I’m choosing Hope and not fear!”
I was fortunate to have still been in Houston, Texas, on November 4th when Obama got elected and the energy and excitement was unparalleled. It was like something I had never seen before. All different types of people rejoiced and partied, and maybe for a day forgot their differences and were happy to be a part of history.
In Europe, of course, the feeling isn’t quite the same, but people are still excited nonetheless. Now I don’t know if it’s because George W. Bush is leaving, or because Obama is coming, but either way there’s a little buzz. And it’s funny because of course I’m black, so people here always ask me how I feel about Obama, or did I vote for Obama when I was back home. Of course both answers are a resounding “Hell, yeah!” Obama instills hope in all people all over the world, and I think everyone is grasping the thought of hope, and holding on to it for dear life!
Of course, here in Europe race isn’t as big of an issue as it is in the States, so people in Europe aren’t as shocked that a black man is president of the United States. But they are aware of the fact that history has been made, and Obama of course is front page news here, too! The funny thing is though unlike most Americans, who either watched the inauguration at work, or took off of work to watch it at home, I unfortunately had practice! That’s right, PRACTICE! In Europe, the show must go on, it’s not that my coach didn’t care about the inauguration, but we have to get ready for the next game on Saturday.
Fortunately for me, I have four English channels and one of them is CNN! There was a time in my brief European career when I wondered, “Why does CNN have to be one of my English channels? I would much rather have ESPN!” But now CNN has a special place in my heart, and on my TV! I haven’t changed the channel all day, and I got to see Obama mania in all its glory! Big shout out to Wolf Blitzer!
Finally, I don’t think my generation will ever fully grasp the concept of segregation, and especially in athletics, when there was a time when black players couldn’t even be on the same court as white players. But because Rosa Parks sat so Martin Luther King could walk, so Obama could run and win!
And Obama has inspired me to do more for my community as he has pledged to do for the world. Because of the success I’ve had playing basketball overseas, I had been thinking about me giving back to the community and helping these kids out by being a role model, So I started my own non-profit organization and AAU basketball team called Shoot2Score Hoops.
The website kind of gives an overview of what I’m trying to do, and it also has an ONLINE DONATION section as well. It’s primarily dedicated to the positive development of underprivileged kids in Houston, particularly on the north side. I just don’t think these kids a get a chance to really see the world outside of their neighborhood, and I want to give them a chance to do that through the Shoot2Score program. I’m also starting an AAU basketball program called the Shoot2Score Hoops, and I want two teams for this year. I really need some help as far as funding, so go to the website, check out the info and DONATE!!!!