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4 Things You Didn't Know About Bernie Sanders - Star Athlete And Reggae Singer

Former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has too many great cannabis moments for us to choose just a few to celebrate his 75th birthday today. So instead of rehashing dozens of old articles, we decided to take a look at some lesser-known facts about the Vermont senator, who was once a star athlete and reggae singer. Check it out.

1. Baseball magnate

What does Bernie Sanders have in common with World Series champions Rob Dibble, Barry Larkin and Paul O'Neill? The Vermont Reds - a Double-A baseball affiliate of Major League Baseball's Cincinnati Reds. In 1984, then Mayor Sanders brought the team to Burlington, Vermont. Check out this article from The Guardian to learn how The Bern brought professional baseball to Vermont. 

2. Star athlete

The 75-year-old senator might not look it, but he was a star athlete in his younger days. He won a Brooklyn basketball championship in elementary school. And when he started high school, he became a standout on the James Madison High School track team. But that success didn't go to his head. Sanders was downright humble when asked about his amateur sports career.

"I was a pretty good basketball player," a bashful Sanders told CNN's Chris Cuomo last January. "My elementary school in Brooklyn won the borough championship - hardly worth mentioning, but we did. And, yes, I did take third place in the New York City indoor one-mile race. I was a very good long-distance runner - not a great runner, but I was captain of my cross-country team, won a lot of cross-country meets and certainly won a lot of races."

Words can't capture how bashful Sanders was during the chat, so check out this clip.

3. He's got a friend in Carole King

Bernie Sanders isn't the only famous alumnus of Brooklyn's James Madison High School. One of his classmates was Carole King, the singer/songwriter who released the landmark Tapestry in 1971. Sanders was a sophomore when King (Carol Klein) began her freshman year. 

And she gave Bernie a special shoutout in the revised version of the hit "You've Got a Friend," which she sang at the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

4. Reggae singer

Long before Sanders clamored to end the War on Drugs and reform Wall Street, he led a musical revolution in Burlington, Vermont.

According to Tessa Stuart of Rolling Stone, "Pre-Bernie Burlington was home to antiquated, Footloose-style sound ordinances restricting the use of amplified music in city parks or public buildings, and in order to book a show at the city's one auditorium, a promoter would have to appear before the city council to play a sample of the artists' music and get approval."

And to help brighten up Burlington's musical landscape, Sanders joined a group of Vermonters that recorded a "We Are the World" type ensemble record in 1987. His contribution was a reggae-inspired cover of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."

The record didn't do well in its initial release. But nearly 30 years later, it's begun turning a profit thanks to Bernie's run for the Democratic presidential nomination. There's no word yet on whether The Bern plans to release a follow-up album.


Banner image: NEW YORK CITY - APRIL 8 2016: Senator Bernie Sanders addressed a rally in Greenpoint, Brooklyn's WNYC Transmitter Park. (a katz /


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