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SPORTS WORLD PAUSES TO TALK OBAMA November 6, 2008

Donovan McNabb grew up in Chicago never believing he would see a black man become president.

 

     Perhaps that was one reason why the 31-year-old Philadelphia Eagles quarterback didn’t register to vote until this election.

 

     McNabb, though, had met Barack Obama, believed in his ideas and supported his policies. Watching Obama deliver his victory speech at Grant Park brought back all sorts of memories.

 

     “It reminded me of, obviously, when Martin Luther King spoke and the messages that he spoke about,” McNabb said Wednesday. “As a man, if you teared up, it was acceptable because it was that deep.

 

     “For the first time, I had the opportunity to vote and I can say that I was a part of it,” he said.

 

     From the NFL to the PGA Tour to the baseball general managers’ meeting to a tennis tournament in the Middle East, sports paused Wednesday to reflect on the election.

 

     Several Eagles hollered Obama’s motto, “Yes, we can!” in the locker room. Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter was among several NFL players wearing Obama shirts a day after the win over Sen. John McCain.

 

     “Inspiring and transformational,” NBA commissioner David Stern said. “Hooray for the USA.”

 

     Moments after Obama closed out McCain, the Boston Celtics finished off their win at Houston.

 

     “I thought it was really interesting right after the game, the guys were celebrating Obama’s victory more than we just beat the Rockets on the road. I thought that was really cool,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.

 

     “Like I told them three or four days ago,” he said. “I told them, `I don’t care who you vote for. That’s none of my business. I just want you to vote. I just want you to be involved.'”

 

     Several players and golfer Boo Weekley wondered how Obama’s tax plan would affect their wallet. Previously, Weekley said he planned to retire once he reached $8 million in career winnings.

 

     “That number went up, as of last night,” he said before the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney.

 

     Venus and Serena Williams embraced Obama’s victory during the WTA Tour’s season-ending tournament in Doha, Qatar.

 

     “America is a wonderful place. I love my country, and I love living there. I love my passport. But also it’s a country that almost since its beginning, it was supposed to be a place where people were escaping intolerance. It became a country that was really intolerant of different minorities and skin colors,” Venus said.

 

     “My dad grew up in Louisiana, a place where he was called ‘boy’ and shown no respect. Where he couldn’t say anything. His mother was a poor sharecropper,” she said. “So I think it’s amazing that America has the opportunity to have someone who is a minority of mixed race or whatever you want to call it.”

 

     LeBron James campaigned for Obama and arrived at Wednesday night’s game wearing a T-shirt with the president-elect’s likeness on the front. The Cleveland star contributed $20,000 to a committee supporting Obama, participated in an early-voter registration rally and hosted a free concert at Quicken Loans Arena with rap star Jay-Z to support the Illinois senator.

 

     James recently met Obama when they both were on David Letterman’s show. The Cavaliers’ franchise player liked that Obama played hoops in the hours leading up to his election.

 

     “They say that’s a ritual for him, like me coming in early and getting a massage before the game,” James said. “It got him prepared. The speech was, wow. If it takes basketball for him to say things like that, then let him do it.”

 

     Grant Hill and the Phoenix Suns kept tabs on the election during their win at New Jersey. The Suns were on the team bus when they found out Obama had won.

 

     “It would have been nice to have been at home with the family, taking it all in, but we were playing and trying to get updates while we were playing, during timeouts. I will always remember playing against Jersey on Nov. 4, 2008,” Hill said.

 

     “We talk about the black vote, but white America is the one that makes the difference, and they voted for an African-American. You can have all the black votes you want, but if you don’t have the white vote, you ain’t going to win. It just shows a lot,” he said.

 

     Get MORE of AP writer Dan Gelston’s report here.

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