Barack Obama will announce his candidacy for the Presidency in '08 tomorrow. I'm a huge politics junkie. I'm a huge Obama fan. This is big news.
I have formulated a theory, which is obviously imperfect, but nonetheless might be found interesting by those of you who enjoy following politics, as well as sports.
Barack Obama is the Gilbert Arenas of Presidential contenders.
Consider the similarities:
*Both are almost almost universally loved and respected. For Obama, this manifests itself most recently in his No. 1 book sales; for Arenas, this manifested itself most recently in his All-Star voting surge into "starter" status.
*Both deliver an aura of accessibility. For example, Obama announced his first Presidential-race news directly to the voters on his Web site, YouTube-style. Arenas regularly makes and breaks news directly to fans on his NBA.com blog.
(In a related similarity, Obama's move seemingly inspired his rivals to do something similar with their online-video announcements. Arenas' impromptu 3-point contest last week against teammate DeShawn Stevenson -- for $20,000 and captured on video and published on YouTube by a Wizards blogger -- was such an instant Internet sensation that it inspired at least one contrived copycat product by the Lakers.)
*Both seem to always say/do the things that make fans nod their head and shout: "Yes! I'm with you!" For Obama, this started with his Democratic National Convention speech in 2004 and has continued since, as he tours the country speaking to crowds. For Arenas, this includes so many things I can't recount them all. (I simply refer to Gilbert's Wikipedia entry.)
*Both are grassroots, blogosphere sensations. No explanation necessary.
*The "Black President" Factor: Obama would like to become the first black president. Arenas actually calls himself "The Black President." (I'm not kidding: It's the name of Gilbert's MySpace page.)
*And, yet, both are relatively untested at the "national" level. For Obama, that's a Presidential race; for Arenas, that's the NBA Playoffs/Finals. Their critics use this against them.
*And even though both are insanely popular, both are still not considered the frontrunner in their respective races. For Obama, that's winning the Democratic nomination; for Arenas, that's winning League MVP.
"Agent Zero" and Agent "O": I'm happy to be up-front about it: Obama is my favorite politician, and Arenas is my favorite athlete. Is it too much to ask for a "Obama/Arenas" Presidential ticket in '08? (Cripes, I'm kidding. Uh, wait: Can we get a Mothering Hut T-shirt of that?)
You don't have to agree with me in my support of either (or both) to recognize the fascinating similarities in their situations right now. (My only concern is that I have it flip-flopped: Maybe it should be "Arenas is the Obama of the NBA." Next stop:
Around the Horn! Meet the Press!
Here's a coincidence: The Wall Street Journal just sent me an email with a URL to a free version of their article today on Gilbert. Needless to say, I imagine the WSJ isn't backing Obama.