[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/25/art.montross.gi.jpg caption="Former UNC center Eric Montross was a big backer of John Edwards' White House bid."](CNN) - The pageantry, the emotion, the packed gymnasiums - basketball fanatics in Indiana and North Carolina have seen it all before.
Democrats in both primary states are beaming about their newfound roles in this extended nomination contest, but long after the bumper stickers and campaign buttons are packed away, and when the awkward sports metaphors are nothing but distant memories, Hoosiers and Tar Heels will always have that familiar sound of sneaker-on-hardwood to fall back on.
Still, with politics and hoops now crossing paths, a handful of basketball icons have become caught in the moment, stepping off the court to endorse presidential candidates this cycle.
Here's a quick look at which basketball celebrities from North Carolina and Indiana have weighed in on the 2008 race, according to Federal Election Commission data and news reports.
Where else to start but with University of North Carolina legend Michael Jordan? The careful capitalist once sought to avoid politics, declaring in 1990 that "Republicans buy sneakers, too." But the greatest player of all time apparently leans Democratic - he has contributed $2,100 to another gym rat, Barack Obama.
Jordan's college coach, the vaunted Dean Smith, kept his money close to Chapel Hill this primary season, maxing out his contributions to former North Carolina senator John Edwards. Former UNC center Eric Montross (remember him?) also gave $4,600 to Edwards.
Edwards, a UNC law school alumnus and Tar Heel fan, has been spotted at a few North Carolina basketball games since leaving the race.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, a longtime Republican, has yet to officially weigh in on the race, but he has been spotted with John McCain. In 2006, Coach K - who is also the head coach of the men's U.S. national team - invited the Arizona senator to speak to the basketball squad about his experience as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.
Former Duke stars Shane Battier and Grant Hill are both Obama backers - each has maxed out their primary donations to the Illinois senator.
No high-profile alumni from the Tobacco Road powerhouses of Wake Forest and North Carolina State appear to have contributed campaign cash to a presidential candidate this cycle.
As for the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, the team's owner is BET mogul Bob Johnson, a high-profile Hillary Clinton backer.
Indiana University legend Calbert Cheaney, a native of Evansville, has endorsed Obama and is campaigning for him in the state. His legendary coach at Indiana, Bobby Knight, hasn't weighed in during the current cycle, but he was a George W. Bush donor in 2004.
NBA star Greg Oden, who played high school ball in Indianapolis and was named Indiana's Mr. Basketball in 2006, endorsed Obama earlier this year on his blog, saying, "He is a very nice man and I am a big fan."
Notre Dame alum and current Chicago Bulls general manager John Paxson gave $500 to Edwards.
Mel and Herb Simon, co-owners of the Indiana Pacers, each contributed $4,600 to Clinton's campaign. Mel Simon also gave $4,600 to Bill Richardson, and Herb Simon gave $2,300 to Chris Dodd.
Indiana basketball icons like French Lick native Larry Bird and former Purdue coach Gene Keady have not weighed in on the presidential race. Nor have voters heard from Hoosier heroes Keith Smart or Steve Alford, who are probably content to keep their sterling legacies intact among Indiana fans.
What do these endorsements mean? Given the track record of celebrity endorsements this election cycle, probably not much. At least not until Serge Zwikker, Randolph Childress and Tom Coverdale weigh in.
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby