Posts Tagged ‘dream team’

Reason #1: Obama’s Dream Team

November 4, 2008

Brotha’s on the street / and everyone is scared a ya
So how could ten africans represent america?

Remember the Dream Team in the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics? The USA Basketball team, for the first time composed of NBA players, swept the gold. On the team were some of the world’s greatest players ever:

Start with three of the game’s all-time greats: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Add the irrepressible Charles Barkley for a little spice, as well as seven more NBA All-Stars: centers David Robinson and Patrick Ewing, power forward Karl Malone, swingmen Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin and Clyde Drexler and point guard John Stockton. Complete the roster with Christian Laettner, the best college player of 1991-92 and a future NBA All-Star.

The Dream Team was amazing on the court, but as Michael Franti of the hip hop/funk band Spearhead notes, “in the same year we saw Rodney King.” In asking how “ten africans can represent america,” he calls out persistent racial politics in the USA and proposes his own “dream team” of politically active, socially engaged black americans who have made their marks (publicly recognized or not) on history.

Who’s on Franti’s Dream Team? Here are some of the lyrics from the song (and click here to listen):

Well Chuck D’s announcin’/ Flava’s doin’ color
Halftime enterntainment by Dre and Ed Lover
Malcolm X is the coach he’s drawin’ up the strategy
He’s choppin up America’s anatomy
’cause they’re the ones/ we’re up against of course
Our general manager is Chief Crazy Horse
Huey Newton/ ’cause he was extra hard
He’s the one/ who would be playin at the shootin’ guard
I dreamed Charles Barkley would be
Played by Marcus Garvey
He’d be throwin people off his back and makin
Sure they never got a rebound rebound / and
He’d throw it to the outlet
Nat Turner/ ’cause he can turn the corner when
He’s out there
He be flyin through the air/ throwin passes like
He really doesn’t care/behind the back /and in
Between the legs
He’s handlin the rock /as gently as an egg
He’s throwin it in/ to Angela Davis’s neighborhood
She’s postin up down in the extra hard wood
She grabs the pill/ and then she puts her shoulder down
Get out the way/ ’cause she’s gonna throw down now
Boom /oh my god! i just can’t believe it
Get anotha backboard or bettah yet leave it.
We always play for fun /but we always play for keeps
The game is over and the loser’s gotta sweep.
Up the glass/ that we busted in the ass
Set the record straight /about america’s past
This is my dream team.

Sister Rosa Parks is the first one off the bench. And Dr. King? He rotates in.

If only some of these people were alive to see today. To see Barack Obama as the Democratic candidate for the office of President of the United States of America. And even though there is still much work to be done, to see how far this country has come.

In “Daring to Dream of a Black President,” celebrated poet Maya Angelou brings this home with her comments:

I never thought I’d see a black president in the White House in my lifetime. I didn’t even dare dream it. I feel like a child approaching Christmas, you can’t believe election day is finally here. It’s been so long since we’ve had people — Asian and black, white and Spanish-speaking — come together and say YES. Some did during the civil rights struggle but not as many as today. What it means if Mr Obama is voted in, is that my country has agreed to grow up, and move beyond the childish idea that human beings are different.

Samuel Jackson speaks out too:

It’s not just about what an Obama victory will mean to the African American community, it’s for the nation in general. It means something for the little Asian kid, or the little Hispanic kid, for everybody of a different origin than Anglo-American. It actually means that the lie that they told us all these years — that you can grow up to be anything you want to be in America, even the president — might actually be true now. Until this election, it was just a fantasy — you had to be white to be president. The closest we got to it was when Jimmy Smits was elected president on the West Wing or Morgan Freeman being president on screen.

Stevie Wonder calls Obama a “combination of JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr.” As Ta-Nehisi Coates muses in Time magazine—–right now “the most famous black man in America isn’t dribbling a basketball or holding a microphone.” Instead, he is running for President.

So, what would Obama’s Dream Team look like?

Obama himself says that it would be bipartisan.

Given the vast network of supporters Obama has across the political parties, there is no shortage of excellent candidates for him to draw upon. Foreign Policy magazine solicited “Dream Team” cabinets for the next president from pundits of all political persuasions, and got some thoughtful and creative replies.

Want to see who’s supposedly being considered? Check out this list of potential nominees from “sources close” to the Obama campaign.

Sitting here in Colorado while the country votes (its roughly 2 pm mountain time), I feel a sense of anticipation, enthusiasm, and energy unlike anything I’ve experienced before in my twenty years of voting in presidential elections (R.I.P. Dukakis 1988). There is a groundswell of support for Obama that is both humbling and inspiring. Change is not just coming. No matter the outcome of the election, change is already here.

The last word before election results are in goes to the rapper Jay-Z. He says:

Rosa Parks sat so that Martin Luther King could walk. Martin Luther King walked so that Obama could run. Obama’s running so that we all can fly. I can’t wait until 5 November and I’m going to say ‘Hello, Brother President’. I can’t tell you who to vote for. All I can do is tell you to vote.

Here we go, flying at last.

-Carole, mother of two, proudly wearing her Hockey Mama for Obama shirt today, and hoping and praying that our collective dreams are converted to reality tonight, Gunbarrel, Colorado

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