NBA political donations to Mitt Romney and Barack Obama revealed

NBA owners, players and coaches are taking sides in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, with players and coaches favoring incumbent Democrat Barack Obama and most owners supporting Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

According to research by, the largest individual donation was $15,000 (to the Romney campaign) by Michael Gearon of the Atlanta Hawks’ ownership group.

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey donated $8,500 to the Romney campaign (outspending his colleague in Boston, Danny Ainge, by $6,000), and $7,500 Romney donations were made by Pat Riley (Miami Heat president), Herb Simon (Indiana Pacers owner), and Thunder minority owner Aubrey McClendon, who donated $2,500 more than principle Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett.

Among Obama supporters, Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers and San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich donated $5,000 apiece, as did players Baron Davis, Vince Carter and Grant Hill.

Another notable Obama supporter is NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver, who donated $2,000. Among owners, Ted Leonsis of the Washington Wizards donated $5,500, and Philadelphia 76ers CEO Adam Aron went into his wallet for $5,000 for the Obama campaign.

A full list of NBA personnel who have donated to presidential candidates can be found here on the HoopsHype site.

Interestingly, from a journalistic perspective, the story of who is giving away their money to presidential candidates was broken overseas with data culled from HoopsHype is not run by an American, but by a Spaniard living in Madrid. (Full disclosure: and are both affiliated with the USAToday Publishing Group.)

“I was reading news about NBA players taking part in Barack Obama fundraisers, so I thought it would be interesting to know which guys were putting their wallet where their mouth is,” said Jorge Sierra, HoopsHype’s editor-in-chief. “Not hard to find since the donations are for the world to see online.

“So far, very little money has gone from the players’ pockets to the campaigns. I was surprised by the amounts the NBA owners are donating, though. It’s not just the presidential candidates, but many other politicians running for office. And that’s not counting the PACs.”





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  1. […] One analysis of political donations during the 2012 cycle found athletes less engaged in terms of contributions than those in the corporate sector. And it’s possible that some athletes are following the Michael Jordan example. He famously stayed out of politics for most of his career, reportedly saying, “Republicans buy shoes, too”—an apparent reference to his Nike deal. That’s a cute quote, but I’m more of a fan of another one, which has been attributed to everyone from Malcolm X to Alexander Hamilton: “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” […]

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