Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo embraces politics: ‘We’re not just athletes’

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Pacers star Victor Oladipo explains why he decided to “step outside the box” and endorse Sen. Joe Donnelly.
Jim Ayello, jim.ayello@indystar.com

INDIANAPOLIS — Stick to sports? No thanks, says Victor Oladipo. That philosophy is reserved for people who define themselves as athletes and nothing more.  

That’s not Victor Oladipo. Not anymore.

The budding Indiana Pacers superstar vowed to start pushing the envelope, to “play nothing safe now. I used to be conservative but that really didn’t get me anywhere.”

Tim Swarens: Pacers’ Victor Oladipo has future in politics, if he wants it

 

That’s why Oladipo had no problem defending LeBron James when President Donald Trump attacked the face of the NBA on Twitter, and that’s why he was in Hammond, Ind. on Friday. The Pacers star attended a campaign rally last week with former Vice President Joe Biden where he publicly endorsed Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.

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Cautious thinkers might have warned Oladipo that sticking his hand in the political arena would risk alienating half of his growing fan base. They might have told him that it’s safer to keep his name and developing brand away from politically charged issues, especially during election season. They might have told him to keep his opinions to himself, but Oladipo says he isn’t interested in staying quiet. He says he’s interested in helping change the world, and he’s not sure that can be done quietly from the sidelines.

“I just went out there and hung out with some pretty important people I guess you would say,” Oladipo said after Pacers practice Monday at St. Vincent’s Center. “After that, after leaving there, I was enlightened. Enlightened to continue to change people, change lives in a positive way. That’s what it’s all about, no matter what you believe, no matter what you represent, no matter w

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