Spencer Hawes one day will consider following a certain right-wing right tackle into elected office. In 2010, Jon Runyan parlayed his fame as an Eagle into a congressional seat in New Jersey -- a tack Hawes can see taking:

"If the opportunity presents itself ..."

For now, Hawes, 24, will just play center for the Sixers as they seek their first title in almost 30 years. He said he has a hard time finding informed debates with his less civic-minded peers in the NBA.

"They don't last very long. Or get too deep," said Hawes. "They do arise from time to time. Especially in the political landscape we have right now."

His place in that landscape? "I'm very, very conservative."

Remarkable, since Hawes hails from left-leaning Seattle. But he wrapped himself in the flag after the 9?/?11 attack and held his ground.

"In high school, I had a lot of liberal teachers and other people around me who drove me the other way," said Hawes, who has made more than $13 million in his five NBA seasons. "People accused me of being conservative because of my tax bracket. I tell them, 'I was conservative long before I knew what a tax bracket was.'"

Hawes admires fellow right-wingers Karl Rove and Sean Hannity, but he also respects lefty Bill Maher for his fairness. Simply, Hawes craves discourse:

"If more people took an interest, whatever side you're on -- left, right, middle -- if people tried to educate themselves more, it would be for the better."