Utah Jazz basketball: Pres. Barack Obama? Try Pres. Mo Williams and VP Paul Millsap
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — The morning after Pres. Barack Obama earned a second term, the elections were naturally a big topic of conversation around the Utah Jazz.
But not just the national elections.
While U.S. citizens chose Obama over Gov. Mitt Romney to be the nation's president, Al Jefferson provided laughs when answering a lighthearted question about who Jazz players would elect for locker-room leadership.
"I have to go with Mo Williams for the president. He talk a lot," Jefferson said Wednesday after shootaround. "Vice president would probably be Paul (Millsap) because he don't talk at all."
For what it's worth, Williams accepted the faux inauguration.
"Absolutely," the 10-year NBA veteran said. "I'd be very proud to serve my Utah Jazz team and organization."
The point commander in chief laughed when told why Big Al made his nominations. But he went a step further, giving Millsap additional duties.
"He's a slash (VP) and my enforcer also," said Williams of his new secretary of defense. "I'm a different type of president. I lay the hammer down."
The vocal Williams didn't keep it secret which presidential candidate he preferred — a point made on Halloween when he wore an Obama mask.
Williams didn't pull that costume out this week to give additional support, but he now hopes the nation will come together.
"You've just got to believe in your leaders," he said. "You're not (always) going to agree with them, but you have to believe in them. If it was the other way around, I'd have to believe in (Romney) also. We pay our taxes. We do all those things and we do these things to support our country."
Like Williams, Jefferson was happy that Obama was given another four years. He's hopeful the future will be better.
"I think Pres. Obama is heading down the right direction as far as trying to get America back on its feet," he said.
Gordon Hayward kept it safe when sharing his thoughts on the national election.
"I'm just proud of everyone that voted," he said. "Whether their person that they voted for won or not, you've just got to follow the leader, and that's that."
Hayward did endorse a player president: Millsap, the longest-tenured Jazzman.
"He represents what the Jazz are all about," Hayward said.
Millsap, who shares captain duties with Williams and Jefferson, was fine not being in the political spotlight.
"I agree with Mo. He's the talkative one," Millsap said. "He's got all the ideas. He's a good fit for it."
Asked about election differences between his homeland and his current country of residence, Turkish citizen Enes Kanter shared what he admitted was a prepared politically correct political statement.
"My job is to play basketball," Kanter said. "I don't know anything about politics."
That goes for politics back home, too.
"I don't watch Turkish TV," he said, "so I don't really know."
One thing Williams knows?
Don't look for him to appear in any post-NBA-career campaign ads.
"No way. I can't be a politician," Williams said. "I'm too honest."
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