The Plank

Obama And H20

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My biggest man-crush was for former New York Knicks shooting guard Allan Houston, back in his late-1990s prime. Houston's jump shooting form was like a Da Vinci creation. He (barely) hit one of the greatest shots in Knicks history. And although he was wildly overpaid, he was a model citizen on and off the court. Until a most unfortunate 2001 incident in which Houston essentially argued to a New York Times reporter that the Jews were to blame for Jesus's death. It was never quite as much fun rooting for him after that.

Houston's monotonous religiosity had always been a bore, but now also seemed to have left him insulated and ignorant. Yet I never felt he was hateful or prejudiced. One also hoped the controversy finally exposed him to certain historical facts for the first time, perhaps leading him to a more enlightened view.

All of which is a way of saying it strikes me as extremely silly of the American Jewish Congress to criticize Barack Obama for attending a fundraiser at Houston's home six years after that event.

P.S. A friend poses a good question: How many religious-right GOP donors likely share the view that has Houston in the AJC's doghouse?

--Michael Crowley

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