California State Senator Tony Strickland used to tear up the basketball court when he was a player for the Poets. Now, the 6' 5" Whittier alumnus towers more often in the Sacramento capital than on the court, though he's had the opportunity of late to do both. Beginning with a one-on-one challenge (which he won) against a local sports radio host, Strickland is now joining minor league Los Angeles Lightening basketball team for at least one game this season (Saturday, May 2, at Gilbert Sports Arena in Thousand Oaks), joining other teammates formerly of the Utah Jazz, L.A. Clippers, and Phoenix Suns. Beyond that, Strickland, a Republican representing CA's 19th District, has also issued a friendly one-on-one court challenge to fellow basketball enthusiast President Barack Obama.
Aptly noted in the Ventura County Star, "It already has all the makings of a classic rivalry between hoops-crazed politicians. Republican versus Democrat. Current state senator versus former state senator. Whittier College graduate versus Occidental College alumnus."