by Lang Whitaker

I have never voted in a U.S. Presidential election. It’s my right, I understand, and as a member of this democracy we call the United States, I have the choice of selecting whichever person I feel best represents my social views to represent me, should they become President. The reason I never voted before was because I was trying to stay under the radar and not get jury duty. Ignorant? Perhaps. Selfish? Definitely. But that all changed in 2007. The judicial process found me, so in 2008, I’m jumping in with both feet. And since Stephon Marbury isn’t running for President (YET!), I’ve been doing a little research into the various candidates.

If you don’t live in the U.S., you probably don’t understand why last week’s Iowa Caucuses were such a big deal. This is understandable. I live in the U.S. and I’m not sure why they were such a big deal. After all, this is Iowa we’re talking about. But what happens in Iowa apparently doesn’t stay in Iowa. A win (or a loss) in Iowa apparently portends big things for these candidates. For instance, Sen. Hillary Clinton finished third last night among Democratic candidates, and now some are saying that she needs to dramatically change her tactics to remain in the race. I’m no political expert, but maybe she needs to change her personality to remain in the race.

At this point, I don’t know who I’m going to support. Someone asked me the other day if I would vote for a Republican, and I said Yes, I would, if there was a Republican candidate out there I felt was worthy of my vote. I have historically found myself siding more with Democratic candidates on most issues, although I don’t want to label myself a Democrat, because once I become a billionaire from writing about basketball, I’ll probably support a Republican who will introduce big tax breaks for the rich. But for now, I tend to support people and ideas more than any specific party.

I’ve generally been that way with the NBA as well. Whenever I’m asked what my favorite team is, I say the Hawks, and then people say, Well, what other teams do you cheer for? But I don’t really cheer for any other specific teams. I like players, I like styles of play, I even like some coaches, but I don’t find myself glued to every Spurs game or Suns game or Celtics game. I like to watch KG go against Rasheed, though, and I like seeing Kobe score billions against the Raptors. But teams? Teams that I like? None. Other than the mighty Hawks.

Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think it is. Does anyone else root for particular players instead of teams? Or do we mostly just root for our favorite team and then a bunch of individuals?

Also, I was going to do a post comparing the various Presidential candidates to NBA players, but Brown Recluse did it over at FreeDarko, so instead you just get ramblings from me about all this. Also, here’s a great Rudy Giuliani story to read.

• Last week I linked to that story about the Cruz sisters getting their makeout on. Now there’s some conjecture that perhaps it wasn’t the Cruz sisters but Penelope Cruz and Mia Maestro. I guess we shouldn’t care either way. Ryan, calm down.

• One reason I feel pretty strongly that the Pistons are going win the East this year, despite losing to the Celtics the other night, is that the one unifying element of the previous Pistons contenders is back: that chip on their shoulders. After beating the Pistons, the Celts were going crazy, with Paul Pierce popping his jersey (as pictured here). And according to that article, the Pistons definitely noticed.

• Been meaning to post the picture here for a while. When I was in Atlanta over the holidays, I was in the Hawks locker room pregame when someone noticed that Shelden Williams had a pair of red gators in his locker. Shelden wasn’t around, so we all started laughing about them, and then Al Horford decided to document the moment with his iPhone. As Al was snapping a picture, Shelden came walking around the corner.

• Hey Matt Bonner…watch what you say.

• I went to a restaurant here in NYC over the weekend and ordered this. It is the greatest thing I have ever eaten. Also the most barbaric, probably.

• Come on, not again.