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Poll players in pole position

Jerry The King Lawler, soon to be The Mayor?

Jerry "The King" Lawler, soon to be "The Mayor"?

There is nothing particularly unusual about professional athletes becoming politicians. Many pro athletes, especially superstars, are perfectly equipped for the job. They have experience dealing with a scandal-sniffing media, often possess a commanding — or at least imposing — physical presence, maybe even have the beginnings of a campaign war chest already stocked with salary squirreled away. And there are plenty of successful examples: Bill Bradley (six biographies in Biography Resource Center), Jim Bunning (two biographies), Steve Largent (two biographies). There are failures as well — see Lynn Swann (three biographies).

Why do we bring this up? Lately we’ve noticed a rather odd trend: NBA mayors in NBA cities. Out of 30 teams playing in 29 cities in the League, two have ex-NBA players as mayor: Kevin Johnson in Sacramento (two biographies), and Dave Bing in Detroit (three biographies). That’s 6.9% of NBA cities with former basketball pros at the helm! (Yes, we can do math in addition to biographies.) We ignored in this calculation Sheila Dixon, mayor of Baltimore (no NBA team) and aunt of player Juan Dixon, lately of the Washington Wizards and currently a free agent, as well as Wilmer Jones-Ham, ex-mayor of Saginaw, Michigan and ma of retired NBA journeyman Darvin Ham.

Know any other baller mayors? Keep us informed. We considered expanding this line of inquiry to elected officials other than mayor, but that list gets too huge too fast.  So if there are any mayors — either big or small town — that we’ve missed, please let us know. We’re curious about other pro sports mayors as well, so NHL/MLB/NFL/NASCAR/PGA/WTA/PBA/WWE and their immediate family members are welcome. (Actually, it appears that WWE is looking to challenge NBA to a fight — Jerry Lawler (a biography is in the works) is running for mayor of Memphis, whose only professional sports team is the NBA’s Grizzlies. Look out, Bryant Reeves!)

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Posted on: July 29, 2009, 10:07 am Category: Factoids Tagged with: , , , , , , ,

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