Pursuant to the Hollywood myth that celebrities die in threes—when one entertainer passes on, two more tend to follow—let’s look at three political developments of late in California.

One we won’t delve into, not until later in the election year. And that would be Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s choice of Silicon Valley lawyer Nicole Shanahan as his running mate—significant in that she’s the first California tech luminary (or at least the ex-wife of one) to appear on a national ticket.

Instead, let’s look at two other stories. Both, oddly enough, are related to the political aspirations of a pair of Californians affiliated with professional basketball.

First up: Johnny Buss, a part owner of the Los Angeles Lakers (Buss has an 11% stake in the team, bequeathed to him by his late father, while his sister, Jeannie, currently serves as the Lakers’ controlling owner).

Earlier in March, Buss announced a presidential run as an independent candidate with this lofty prose, per his campaign’s website: “I envision an America that leads with compassion, innovation, and most of all integrity. An America where racial equity is not just an ideal, but a lived reality for every citizen. Where our policies reflect our commitment to the planet, and where education opens doors to futures bright with promise.”

Fair enough. But where does Buss stand on issues? Here’s what the website offers in the way of a policy platform:

Education: “Providing universal pre-K, addressing equity and access issues, improving school safety and mental health support, addressing teacher and nurse shortages, enhancing disabled accessibility, and increasing teacher pay.”

Racial Inequality: “We understand that systemic racism has created deep disparities and injustices that affect communities of color across the country. Our goal is to dismantle these barriers and build a society where every person, regardless of their race or ethnicity, has the opportunity to thrive.”

Climate: “Our approach is grounded in science, innovation, and environmental justice, ensuring that our policies not only combat climate change but also promote economic growth and equity.

Immigration: “[Balance] the enforcement of immigration laws with compassion and respect for the dignity of all individuals.”

Healthcare: “We are committed to policies that expand access to healthcare, lower costs, and improve the quality of care, while also addressing the long-term sustainability of the healthcare system.”

Time will tell if Buss somehow manages to get traction in a space already brimming with third-party alternatives. Just as it remains to be seen what, if any, media coverage his candidacy elicits, as Johnny Buss is not as colorful a character as his playboy father or his Playboy-posing sister (both figuring prominently in the recent HBO series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty).

A disinterested media isn’t the case with our third political subplot: Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry may be seeking public office when his playing days are over.

Such speculation began earlier this month when the NBA’s all-time three-point scorer said the following during an appearance on CBS Mornings: “I have an interest in leveraging every part of my influence for good in the way that I can, so if that’s the way to do it . . . I’m not saying the presidency, but if politics is a way that you can create meaningful change or if there’s another way outside of politics that we can do . . .”

Asked later if he felt like the subject of a full-court press by the CBS interviewer, Curry again kept open door to public service: “I haven’t thought about it at all other than if the opportunity presented itself. I don’t what the pipeline is to even be in that position. But my answer was made because I have the interest in leveraging my platform in the greatest way I know how . . . Whether that’s in politics or out of politics, whatever the right moves are whenever basketball’s done, I’m going to do it.”

For the record, Curry did rule out a 2028 presidential run (he turns 40 that election year, so maybe he’s still playing basketball—and performing well, in line with what a still-dynamic 39-year-old LeBron James is demonstrating these days).

Then again, if elected office is the goal, a national campaign might be Curry’s best option given a complicated California landscape.

Let’s begin with the premise that Curry runs as a Democrat (he and his wife, Ayesha, endorsed the Biden-Harris ticket in 2020) and decides he wants to hold office somewhere in the Golden State.

Let’s also assume that a celebrity with Curry’s name recognition and resources—and, yes, ego—wouldn’t settle for something as workaday as a seat in the state legislature (though it’s worth noting that Kevin Johnson, like Curry a very successful NBA guard, would go on to become a two-term mayor of Sacramento).

Otherwise, Curry’s California’s options aren’t so stellar. Sure, he could run for Congress. Then again, the 16th Congressional District in which he resides is presently an open seat with the retirement of Democratic congresswoman Anna Eshoo, who’s represented Silicon Valley since the advent of the Clinton presidency, at the end of her term. (Including her time in local office, Eshoo has been a fixture on the Northern California scene dating back four decades; one assumes her successor likewise won’t be in a hurry to give up the rarely-available House seat)

As Northern California congressional vacancies are about as rare as Los Angeles Clippers playoff successes, maybe Curry sets his sights on the US Senate. If so, the shooting legend again missed a wide-open shot, as this fall’s election will determine who gets the Senate seat vacant for the first time since the same 1992 election that brought Anna Eshoo to Congress.

There is one other option if Curry wants political fame, not to mention a shorter work commute from his San Francisco Peninsula home: run for governor in 2026 or 2030. Then again, the line of aspiring Democrats already forms to the rear. State Senate leader Toni Atkins, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond have launched campaigns. Former controller Betty Yee is expected to join the field; state attorney general Rob Bonta reportedly is “seriously considering” a run. For Curry (again, excuse the basketball metaphor), it’s not exactly an open look at the basket.

All of which sets the stage for a Curry presidential run in 2032 (at the age of 44, he’d be three years and two years younger, respectively, than Barack Obama and Bill Clinton at the time of their first presidential wins).

If that’s the play Curry wants to run, here are two pieces of advice:

First, Curry should study the approach taken by Arnold Schwarzenegger, which included a “soft launch” of sorts—2002’s Proposition 49, which had the film star championing after-school programs in a slick media campaign—before his fabled run in the following year’s gubernatorial recall election. For Schwarzenegger, that initiative campaign was a proving ground, to see how much he enjoyed the sweat equity (personal appearances, fundraising) associated with a political campaign.

Second, Curry should watch the HBO documentary devoted to former senator and fellow basketball legend Bill Bradley.

Rolling Along, which features Bradley alone on a stage, giving a monologue on his life and times, is more than a story of a man whose journey took him from a small town in eastern Missouri, via Princeton and Oxford University, to New York City’s Madison Square Garden and later Capitol Hill. It’s also a treatise on Bradley’s personal enlightenments, be they on race relations, bipartisanship, or the similarities between politics and basketball (parallels Bradley drew during an unsuccessful run for president in 2000).

The documentary is also a reminder of a lost nobility in politics. Bradley chose not to seek a fourth Senate term in 1996, citing Washington dysfunctionality. “We live in a time, when on a basic level, politics is broken,” Bradley declared. “In growing numbers, people have lost faith in the political process and don’t see how it can help their threatened economic circumstances.”

And it poses the question: Where is today’s “thinking man’s moderate” in today’s politics, especially in a California of partisan extremes both Left and Right? (Bradley was considered a centrist intellectual during his Senate years for his embrace of such nonglamorous pursuits as South American debt consolidation and monetary exchange rates.)

Could Johnny Buss win an election? Doubtful.

Could Stephen Curry? Perhaps.

But as a reincarnation of Bradley’s political wisdom? That might be a long shot, even for a legendary shooter.

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