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McNabb, others reflect on Obama's historic victory

11/6/2008 - Golf MLB NBA College Football NFL Tennis + more

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.'"

Oregon State men's basketball coach Craig Robinson had a special
rooting interest: His sister, Michelle, is Obama's wife.

Robinson was in Chicago for the celebration Tuesday night and
was back in Corvallis, Ore., for practice Wednesday.

"It doesn't get much better than that," he said. "Although I
would imagine that winning a Pac-10 championship would feel pretty
good right about now."

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.

Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen also thought about
the tax implications.

"It's a sad day for me. I'm a McCain supporter. There is
nothing I can do about it now. Our paychecks will be cut in half,"
he said. "It is what it is and McCain, I still love you, and
Obama, you better do what you promised because the whole country is
watching."

Not to worry, Saints linebacker Scott Fujita said.

"We heard so much about how he's going to be taxing everybody
who makes over $250,000. That's everybody in our business. So
everyone's going to be affected by that," he said. "And my
argument to them was maybe there's a chance our tax dollars are
going to be spent a little more wisely than they have in the
past."

New York Jets nose tackle Kris Jenkins thought about his taxes,
but, more importantly, his three young children and his
half-brother serving in Iraq.

"I can't be selfish enough to think about keeping all of my
money and just being in a better tax bracket because I have to be sure that I do my part for the world to be a better place for my
kids," he said.

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.

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."

Sister Serena saw it the same way.

"I was just thinking about everything, thinking about Martin
Luther King and Malcolm X and all the pioneers. ... All of these
people, Arthur Ashe, who led the way for us. It's amazing," she
said."

Kansas City Chiefs coach Herm Edwards woke up daughters
Gabrielle, 3, and Vivian, 2, to watch Obama's speech.

"It was about 10 o'clock. They were watching the television and
clapping. I said, 'There's your President.' I wanted them to know
our country is great," he said. "When they have children they'll
be able to say, 'I saw him. I didn't have to read a history
book.'"

As the Broncos packed up for their trip to Cleveland, the music
blaring in the locker room was Cocoa Tea's reggae song "Barack
Obama."

Wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had worn Obama shirts for
all his interviews this season, was beaming.

"As soon as we found out that he won, my mom called me and she
said, 'When you have your first child, just look them in the eyes
and tell them, you know, you can be anything you want to be,'"
Marshall said. "It happened for me and it happened for Barack and
it happened for the United States."

Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, the first black coach to
win a Super Bowl, hoped Obama's victory would have far-reaching
effects.

"My wife was talking to my 7-year-old daughter and she was
asking a lot of questions about what electoral votes are and how
they work and that sort of thing. I think it could bring a lot
of African-Americans into the process that maybe weren't in it
before," he said.

A number of Steelers players were clearly excited by Obama's
victory -- as was their owner. Dan Rooney was one of Obama's most
visible supporters in western Pennsylvania and introduced him
before a full-house rally at Mellon Arena on Oct. 27.

Wide receiver Hines Ward went around the Pittsburgh locker room
with a camera crew, interviewing players about the election for his
weekly TV show.

Dallas wide receiver Terrell Owens said coach Wade Phillips used
"change" as a theme in a team meeting. "Hopefully that can
trickle on down to our season," Owens said.

Boston College receiver Brandon Robinson recalled hearing Obama
speak on campus three years ago, welcoming the class of 2009.

"My grandfather's 92 years old, and was a sharecropper, and he
lived to see a black man elected president," Robinson said. "It's
a pretty big deal."

Robinson, who is biracial, said he has not read Obama's book
"Dreams from My Father", adding, "But it's on my desk right
now."

Bears coach Lovie Smith began his news conference Wednesday with
these words: "It doesn't get any better than this, a historic day
like we have today -- the first black president."

Boxer Roy Jones Jr., preparing to fight Saturday night against
Joe Calzaghe, followed the election in New York.

"I'm so proud to be an American now, more today than I've ever
been in my life, because last night was a true change -- last night
we were all equal before we're black, white, Haitian, whatever,"
he said.

New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya watched the results
from the GMs meeting in Dana Point, Calif.

"Because he's a first, I think that he gives you the feeling of
Jackie Robinson," Minaya said. "In the sports world, you tend to
have people that are conservative. Maybe that will change now."

Tyrone Willingham, who is stepping down as football coach at the
University of Washington at the end of the season, said it was hard
to imagine anyone not having a reaction to Obama's election.

"Mine is that it's a great day for America because now what is
written in the Constitution now comes to life," he said.