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Laker touts Obama in Indian Country

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  • Robert Schmidt
    http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080926/NEWS01 /809260325/1002/news01 Laker touts Obama in Indian Country BY TRAVIS COLEMAN
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2008
      http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080926/NEWS01
      /809260325/1002/news01

      Laker touts Obama in Indian Country

      BY TRAVIS COLEMAN Tribune Staff Writer • September 26, 2008

      NBA star Derek Fisher urged Native Americans in two Blackfeet Reservation
      communities Thursday to do what it takes to vote in this year's
      presidential election.

      Fisher visited Heart Butte High School and Browning High School to
      emphasize the importance of the Native American vote in this year's
      election, along with promoting voter registration.

      "The main message is getting voter registration numbers as high as
      possible," said Fisher in a phone interview.

      The Los Angeles Lakers point guard was on the reservation on behalf of the
      Barack Obama campaign. Fisher said he volunteered his services to campaign
      officials, thinking he would be dispatched to events in southern California
      or his hometown of Little Rock, Ark.

      "I had no idea it would turn into these type of opportunities," he said,
      adding that he is humbled by the campaign's trust in him.

      Obama campaign officials say Obama has a plan to address key issues on
      reservations, such as health care, economic development and crime, along
      with changing the relationship between the White House and tribes.

      "(Voting) always has been important. In this election, it's of greater
      importance than any other time," he said.

      The buzz for Fisher's appearance has been brewing in the reservation
      communities since Tuesday.

      Heart Butte Superintendent of Schools Lori Falcon said she was told about
      Fisher's visit Tuesday and students became excited soon after flyers
      advertising his appearance were posted.

      "The kids are interested. They're looking up his stats," Falcon said,
      adding that Fisher's appearance is an opportunity that the Heart Butte
      students normally do not get.

      Browning Schools Athletic Director Book St. Goddard said there was a buzz
      in the schools Thursday, as there are some Los Angeles Lakers fanatics in
      Browning schools.

      "Just to be able to stand next to a NBA player would be pretty exciting,"
      St. Goddard said, adding that former Lakers player Kurt Rambis hosted a
      summer camp in Browning about eight years ago.

      The 34-year-old Fisher has played in the NBA for 12 seasons, mostly with
      the Lakers, who whom he has won three NBA championships. He said Thursday
      was the first time he had been on an Indian reservation in Montana.

      "It was a very moving experience," he said.

      He is set to continue touring some of the state's Indian communities today,
      first attending parades in Harlem and Rocky Boy before heading to the Fort
      Peck Reservation for a basketball game and a presidential debate watch
      party.

      After a question and answer session, Fisher said the crowd pushed him to
      reenact his "0.4 shot" against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 5 of the 2004
      Western Conference Finals.

      "The crowd pressured me into one badly attempted shot. I don't think I
      would've gotten out of there in one piece if I didn't attempt one shot.

      "I reenacted everything except the make," he said.
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