Camilo Villegas Joins Eagles for St. Jude, Detroit Pistons Rev Up for Telethon, Is Futbol Still the Beautiful Game?
CAMILO VILLEGAS FOR ST. JUDE
No one has really capitalized on the marketability of our kitten Camilo Villegas…we’ve gotten a few good magazine layouts, rewind-worthy commercials, and a not-to-be-missed-on-air-work-out…now, thankfully, we can add Villegas to the growing list of hotties signing up for the 2008 Eagles for St. Jude program. Villegas has pledged to donate $3,000 to St. Jude for every eagle he makes on the 2008 PGA TOUR. Earlier this year, Vijay Singh continued his participation by committing to donate $5,000 for each of his eagles.
Villegas: “I can’t think of a better motivation to play well than to know you are helping the kids at St. Jude,” he purred. “And while I look forward to making the most eagles I can each season, this year I’ll have an added incentive.” Indeed. As of today, Eagles for St. Jude has a year-to-date-tally of $249,383. To learn more about the program, other hotties involved, or how to contribute, please visit Eagles For St. Jude.
PISTONS HOST TELETHON
For the first time in Detroit sports history, a team will devote an entire day, including their game and their broadcast, to a telethon that will raise money for charity….no this isnt a dream…and yes, I said the entire day. On Friday, March 14, the Detroit Pistons will host the Pistons Cares Telethon Benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation—Michigan Chapter. The telethon will run throughout the day and into the evening on WDIV-TV4. During the game that night, representatives from the Pistons community will ask fans to call and pledge. Sponsors will present their donations and the Pistons will introduce stories of past and present Make-A-Wish kids. “We want everyone involved—fans, sponsors, staff, players – because Make-A-Wish does so much good, for so many kids,” said Tom Wilson, CEO of Palace Sports & Entertainment. “The day we grant these wishes will be a great day … for all of us.”
The Pistons also have a ‘Make-a-Wish-Monday’ on their site; for every order that’s placed on the site, whether the order is for the Monday special or not, a donation of $5.00 will be made to the Pistons Cares Telethon. And starting March 9 and running to Mach 21, AT&T will donate $50 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan for every new subscriber to AT&T Advance TV that mentions the Pistons Cares Telethon. Donations can be made immediately by visiting http://www.pistons.com and clicking on the “DONATE NOW” button. Online donations will be taken up to March 14 at 6 p.m. Donors interested in participating immediately can call toll free 1-877- DPC-WISH (1-877-372-9474) to contribute to the telethon.
IS IT STILL THE BEAUTIFUL GAME?
Today marks the 100-day countdown before the opening match of Euro 2008. This wonderfully sporntastic event runs through June 29, 2008. Adding to the beauty of it the sport is former England and Newcastle footballer Alan Shearer. Shearer stood in a glass advertising board in London yesterday, for the largest global football survey ever undertaken. Futbol? Still the Beautiful Game? (Umbro.com) Seems kinda obvious to me what the answer is…
Ecko Donates Tickets, Thurman Thomas, Jordan Brand and Levis, NFL Disses Women, Look to the Stars, Beckham Touches Down in Seoul, Ian Poulter & Johnny Walker
LOOK TO THE STARS
Just wanted to post a quick update on what I’ve been doing aside from blogging about the pro’s and their exceptional humanitarian efforts combined with a bit of objectification…there’s a link on the right, under category’s, titled ‘contributing pieces.’ It takes you to a site called Look to the Stars (looktothestars.org). The site covers celebrities and their charitable efforts, complete with a database of celebrity supported causes and events. Of course, I noticed a lack of athletes being covered on LTS and quickly secured a spot as a ‘special correspondent.’ Yesterday, I attended a conference for LTS, which focused on athletes, fundraisers, and foundations. Let me just say- it was the bomb. It reinforced my belief that there are endless ways for our hotties to give back to society and people are indeed interested. Its refreshing to see so many others intent on guiding the off-field focus towards giving. In the upcoming months, I’ll be covering some awesome events for LTS (as well as Athlebrities)…this upcoming weekend, for example, I’ll be hitting up the World Poker Tour Invitational at Commerce Casino in L.A., where poker pros and celebrities will be playing for various charities…LTS also has me going out to Phoenix on April 5th for Celebrity Fight Night honoring Mohammad Ali, and the Magic Johnson Hollywood Hero Award in May…I try to list all upcoming events on my Athlete Charity Event Calender, but some events do get by me, so please let me know if there’s one I need to mention!
ECKO SENDS KIDS TO NETS GAME
After fashion designer Marc Ecko rocked the sports world by buying and branding Bonds’ record setting homerun ball, I wasn’t too keen on him. But Ecko may not be so bad after all…Ecko purchased 5,000 tickets for tonight’s Magic-Nets game and donated them to Newark-area children through various recreational centers. “Every kid should have an opportunity to go to a Nets game and I want to help make that happen.”
MIGHTY-MIGHT FINE HALL O FAMER
You know what’s a shame about this story? Its not headline news…in fact, its barely mentioned anywhere on the web…in any case, Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas and his wife have adopted the Cinelli family in efforts to raise money for 6 year-old Jon-Jon Cinelli’s medical expenses and to help find a cure. Jon-Jon was diagnosed in December with Intrinsic Pontillar Glioma, a tumor that wraps around the brain stem, which controls body functions. Thomas, learned about Jon-Jon’s situation through a mutual friend of the Cinelli family, and he and his wife are planning to host a fundraiser for Jon-Jon. Check out jonjonsjourney.com for more info.
Today, Jordan Brand and Levi Strauss & Co. announced that their limited edition co-designed collection, known as 23 / 501 will be available in 23 markets starting March 1, 2008. Doug Sweeny, Levi’s® Director of Marketing: “What makes the 23 / 501 collection so special is that it represents the harmonious union of these two iconic and innovative brands.” The limited-edition collection pairs exclusive co-branded Air Jordan Retro 1 style sneakers with a pair of Levi’s Original, Button-Fly 501 jeans and a signature tee shirt. All three pieces will be sold together as a set for a retail price of $395, and no doubt will be on Ebay for triple that price after they sell-out in about ten-seconds. For information on specific locations, please visit www.levi.com or www.Jumpman23.com. And keep in mind if you do shell out the $395 bucks, Jordan Brand remains active in the community by donating a portion of its proceeds to Jordan Fundamentals.
THE NFL DISSES WOMAN
Oddly enough, this story is spreading like wildfire…hold your breath people, because player weigh-ins at the NFL Scouting Combine will no longer be broadcast on NFL Network’s coverage of the event. Combine Dir Jeff Foster said, “There was concern from current NFL players that the participants would be more comfortable if they were not paraded around without their shirts on.” He added that any drills “that would potentially involve a shirtless player also are off-limits to NFL Network.” Oh pa-lease, these guys love parading around with their shirts off…I think its more likely that by airing coverage of our topless hotties, one too many homophobic male viewers felt “uncomfortable” and ruined it for the rest of us.
BECKHAM AND THE BOYS
Golden Balls and his posse arrived in South Korea today as part of the 3-match Asian Tour. Thankfully, Beckham made no comment on arrival at Incheon International Airport outside the South Korean capital, but does plan to hold a news conference Wednesday. Hopefully, he will introduce his teammates by name, as they’ve routinely become referred to as “other players” in recent days.
The Johnnie Walker Classic tees off at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, about 30 kms from the Indian capital from February 28 to March 2. Ian Poulter and Johnny Walker? Kill me now….
Soccer Balls for Info, Spielberg Versus China, Thomas Daley Diving for Success, Nike Japanese Album Covers, Joe Louis Film.
SOCCER BALLS SAVE LIVES
We take our soccer balls for granted here in the US, unaware of thier potential for saving lives…but one person smart enough to figure it out is Steve Kosier. Kosier is a DynCorp International advisor to an Afghan explosive ordnance disposal team, and when faced with the task of finding the unearthed weapons, he turned to the kids living among dangerous ordnance left from several decades of warfare. “After 35 years of war, there have been a couple of generations raised around these items that have been laying around. [The children] know where they are, and the best we can do is to educate them and get them to participate to help make their country safe again,” said Steve.
But the kids weren’t talking-until he offered soccer balls for info. “The villages and children have been talked to by many other organizations and, as far as they were concerned, we were just another one on the long list. So, I was thinking, what could we do to make us different and stand out to the kids to make an impact in their minds?” After his normal presentation to villagers about explosive ordnance disposal, Steve asked the kids to raise their hands if they knew the location of any unexploded ordnance. The kids were mum. Steve then produced two soccer balls. He asked the children if they wanted to learn how to earn a ball. It was simple, he said. Lead his team to unexploded ordnance and earn a soccer ball…So far, the team has recovered or destroyed more than 150 explosive remnants of war. In one month, they distributed 50 soccer balls and trained more than 2,200 children not to tamper with any of the dangerous devices they find. “[The kids’] faces light up when they see the balls, and when we drive around we always see numerous kids playing in the fields with our soccer balls, where previously there were no children,” Steve said. (Foxbusiness) It really is so much more than a beautiful game…
SPIELBERG VERSUS CHINA
Yesterday, Visa introduced a group of 15 U.S. Olympic athletes and its ‘08 Olympic marketing program; ‘The Fastest Way to Beijing’. The athletes include swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Hoff, track star Allyson Felix, beach volleyball ace Kerri Walsh, gymnast Paul Hamm, and taekwondo expert Steven Lopez. Later, Walsh, Lopez and Hamm appeared on Fox Business, where Lopez addressed the controversy surrounding athletes speaking out on China’s human rights record: “We are all ambassadors to our countries and we go out there to represent our countries the best way we possibly can. As far as everything else, that’s something that’s out of our hands.” Out of your hands? Are you insane? It’s exactly that kind of thinking that impedes progress. It certainly wasn’t out of Steven Spielberg’s hands. After he pulled out of the event, an editorial appeared in the Chinese Communist Party’s official paper: “A certain Western director is very naïve and has come out with an over-the-top act that defies common sense. Perhaps that’s just the special temperament of Hollywood figures.”
Don’t worry, I wont come out with an ‘over-the-top-act’ and go on a rant. You know what’s happening in China. Aside from the bloodline leading from China to Darfur, I’m sure you’ve heard about the displacement of the Chinese people who were forced to move because their homes were in the path of Olympic construction. I’m sure you’ve heard about those arrested for complaining. Maybe you even read about Yang Chunlin, a local land rights activist, who was “tried for inciting subversion” after he gathered thousands of signatures from disaffected farmers and protested against the Olympics, saying: “We want human rights, not the Olympics.”
HE’S ONLY 13
How cute is this kid, Thomas Daley? The precious Brit started diving at the age of eight; is a member of Plymouth Diving Club; won the 2007 BBC Sports Young Personality of the Year Award; is considered a medal prospect for the 2012 Games in London; is being tracked through the years leading up to London 2012 by the BBC television series Olympic Dreams; and its now expected that Daley will make his Olympic debut in Beijing. If he does so, he will become the youngest ever male British Olympian. What a mighty-mighty-fine ah, kid?
NIKE TEAMS WITH TOWER RECORDS JAPAN
Nike and Tower Records Japan have come up with a great marketing campaign, which launched last month. Not sure if it’s the music fans love, or the covers-but they’re already sold out. Tower Records Japan offered limited editions of six new albums from Japanese record companies-complete with specially designed cardboard cases featuring artists posing with Nike shoes. For South Korean pop group Tohoshinki, Tower made two editions of the cover, one featuring the five band members “holding Nike shoes with their eyes open; on the other, their eyes are closed.” Hidetoshi Ohata, who created the campaign at Tower, said, “We’ve seen more buzz about the Nike editions than we imagined.” (Wall Street Journal).
Saturday night at 8:00 pm ET, HBO will premier “Joe Louis: America’s Hero… Betrayed.” The 75-minute documentary contains carefully researched film clips and explores what Louis’s victories brought to black America. I, for one, will be front and center since my grandfather once fought on the same card as Louis. In a perfect world, I’d like to think my undefeated grandpa (right photo, left) would have found his way into this little film, as his victories were notorious in his time. But if not, the documentary is worth watching…at least according to those who’ve seen it.
Sports Illustrated: “The film is a moving portrait of an athlete who truly transcended his sport.” In Detroit, Mike Brudenell: the documentary is a “poignant study of a simple man who became a symbol of strength, courage and goodness in America in the 20th Century.” In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley: the film “captures the glory of how Louis’ emergence as a boxer carried the hopes of both black America and white America.” In Akron, George Thomas writes the “subject is compelling and edgy and the filmmakers do a masterful job of placing Louis into context culturally and historically.” In Ft. Worth, Ray Buck writes the film “shouldn’t be missed. It’s that good. ... You owe it to yourself to see such a well-conceived, unabridged version of the Joe Louis story.” In California, Chuck Barney: “The film is a must-see, even if you’re not into boxing or sports.”
Too bad the Lakers defeated the Suns 130-124…Shaq’s big debut wasn’t nearly as eventful as the foul he inflicted upon Pau Gasol. “I’m in better shape than I thought I was,” Shaq said, “the adrenaline factor and just being out there with the guys.” Shaq-Daddy scored nine of his 15 points in the final quarter and nabbed nine rebounds in 29 minutes. “He did seem to get stronger as the game went on, which is incredible,” Suns coach Mike D’Antoni said. “I did really think he’d run out of steam sometime in the second half, and he really didn’t. Him not being used to anything that we do—124 points—I didn’t think we could put that many up, just starting out.”
OUR LADY OF GOLF
What the hell are publishers thinking these days? We’re still licking our GolfWeek Noose-Cover wounds and in steps Colorado’s Avid Golfer Magazine to stir things up again. Golfer Lorena Ochoa is profiled in a fantastic article-but it’s the accompanying illustration that has a few panties in a twist. The image in the current edition of Colorado AvidGolfer Magazine features the Our Lady of Guadalupe image with Ochoa’s face in place of the Virgin Mary’s. Funny shit if you ask me-at least they didn’t sere her face into a grilled-cheese sandwich.
Editor Jon Rizzi e-mailed this statement to the local news: “Colorado AvidGolfer deeply regrets offending anyone with the illustration that accompanied our feature on Lorena Ochoa. Because the piece was so overwhelmingly positive, praising Ms. Ochoa’s accomplishments and painting a glowing portrait of her as both a golfer and an inspiring humanitarian, we created a clearly iconic image for our illustration. We respect the opinions of those who objected to the image and apologize if it offended them, but we certainly did not intend to show disrespect to anyone.”
If people would just open the magazine and read the article, they may find that the comparison is not far off the mark. The Lorena Ochoa Foundation is one of Mexico’s most successful philanthropic programs; she’s won Mexico’s National Sports Award four times; was named 2007 Sportswoman of the Year; recorded 21 top-10 finishes in 25 starts; won a major title; tied for second in the U.S. Women’s Open; is involved in a new project, El Rio, on the outskirts of Guadalajara; and is in the process of launching the Ochoa Golf Academy…her accomplishments are astonishing considering she’s only 26…seems to me that someone is indeed walking on water.
“It’s nice to be back on the field playing again,” Beckham said. “It’s our first game preseason. We’re still trying to get our fitness.” Golden Balls played the full ninety minutes but Gamba Osaka defeated the Galaxy 1-0 in the opener of the inaugural Pan-Pacific Championship exhibition tournament on Wednesday night. “The first 15 minutes, we were terrible and they capitalized on the first breakthrough,” Becks said. “The second was a lot, lot better. We started playing football. We started playing with confidence. We started defending a lot better. We created chances. But you don’t get any thing unless you put them away.” And I think it’s high-time for Becks to permanently ‘put-away’ all of his shirts.
Why the NBA Behaved in New Orleans, Dwight Howard, Jacoby Ellsbury Men’s Vogue, Laureus Winners, Lewis Hamilton, Avram Grant Gets Abused, Beckham In Hawaii, Ebbsfleet United Controlled by the Fans.
NBA’s GOOD BEHAVIOR
Am I the only one surprised that there wasn’t more ‘tomfoolery’ during All Star week in New Orleans? After last year’s extremely dark shenanigans in Vegas, I was sure we’d have some misbehaving headlines to gossip about. But the New Orleans Police Department reported only 98 arrests related to All-Star festivities Friday-Sunday, and 502 arrests citywide. Last year in Vegas, police made 1,039 arrests during the four-day event, 392 were directly related to the All-Star weekend. Maybe everyone was busy with the NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service, in which an estimated 2,500 volunteers helped with various community service projects? But maybe, just maybe, the city itself infused a little juju into NBA Cares slogan ‘Where Amazing Happens’. Indeed.
DWIGHT HOWARD’S NO JESUS
Dwight Howard issued a collective ‘holy-shit’ via his insane Superman Dunk. (Ironically enough-Howard is repped by Goodwin Sports Management, which includes DC Comics as a client). Aside from his adidas endorsement deal being among the most lucrative at $36M over six years, dudes got the personality, smile, body, skills and charisma to melt a polar ice-cap, so I find it crazy that anyone would dislike him. But let the Crusades begin. Howard has irked a certain magazine focused on Christian athletes after they discovered he had an (oh-god-no) unplanned pregnancy with a former Magic dancer. The magazine dropped a scheduled article about him after learning of this mortal sin. Howard: “I’m not Jesus. You make a mistake, it’s about how you deal with it.” Speaking of Jesus, I came across an interesting tid-bit on Jacoby Ellsbury…
BABY JESUS IN CLEATS
Hudson Morgan begins his article on Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury in the latest edition of Men’s Vogue with the line; “It’s hard to pinpoint the exact moment that Red Sox Nation realized their rookie Jacoby Ellsbury was the Baby Jesus in cleats.” Yes, I had to. Baby Jesus in cleats is about as funnny as touch-down Jesus…in any case, Baby Jesus in cleats is featured in a several-page spread in the new issue of Men’s Vogue. Not sure if it’s a sin to appear in that magazine or not, but maybe the unnamed Christian magazine can get Baby Jesus in cleats for an interview?
“Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to unite people in a way little else does. Sport can create hope, where once there was only despair.” Nelson Mandela.
Last week, a panel of the world’s leading sports editors, writers and broadcasters from over 120 countries voted on a list of nominees in various categories including; Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year, Laureus World Team of the Year, Laureus Sport for Good Award and Laureus World Breakthrough of the Year. And this year’s winners? Swiss Mister Roger Federer nabbed his fourth Laureus World Sportsman of the Year, and as painful as it is to report, Federer made history by becoming the first winner of four awards. Federer: “I had hoped that they might not think three is enough – and indeed, they gave me a fourth. That’s awesome!” Yes Roger, we know…Justine Henin walked away with the Sportswoman of the Year award, Brendan and Sean Tuohey, who in ‘01 founded the basketball-based humanitarian project Peace Players International, were awarded the Laureus Sport for Good Award….
And the World Breakthrough of the Year Award went to the classy and humble Formula One babe, Lewis Hamilton. “I remember last year I was in Bahrain for a test and watched the Laureus Awards on the television in my hotel room and now I am here with all these amazing people,” he said. “It has been a fantastic year and I am very grateful for this award. Actually I feel a bit overwhelmed as looking around the other nominees I didn’t think I deserved it but I am really happy.”
David Beckham. Just the name itself can induce a hot flash. As expected, the kids in Hawaii are going nuts for Sir Golden Balls…hot stuff took part in a community soccer event held at Waianae High School on Tuesday.
FAN OR FOE?
There are some whacked out idiots out there claiming to be fans of Chelsea. The problem is, these “fans” have been bombarding Chelsea’s Israeli manager Avram Grant with anti-Semitic e-mails and letters. Aside from the anti-Semitic death threats, someone sent a suspicious note containing powder to Grant at the teams training facility, which led to an emergency evacuation. A police source was quoted today as saying that the note to Grant included the words: “You are a back-stabbing Jewish b******. When you open this letter you will die a very slow and painful death.” Grants wife, Tzofit, has also been pulled into this disgusting display of hate, as she has been receiving “death threats of a sexual nature.”
Grant has been a target of racists since he was appointed the club’s boss last September. Now, MP’s are calling for a specific campaign against anti-Semitism in soccer to go alongside the ‘Kick Racism Out of Football’ project currently in operation. One message, sent to the MP, Grant and Abramovich, forwarded to Times Online, said: “I have been a Chelsea supporter since 1968. And Chelsea has always been a White, English, Christian football club in the land of St George. I would rather see Chelsea playing in the Isthmian league, than see you Jewish b******* ruin it with Russian, American and nasty israeli terrorist jews.” (Timesonline.co.uk)
MY FOOTBALL CLUB
I don’t think the owners of Ebbsfleet United will suffer at the hands of their fans. The English soccer club has been taken over by the fans. Web site, MyFootballClub, has 28,000 members in 80 countries, and just completed their $1.24M takeover of Ebbsfleet United. The site’s members will collectively hold a 75% interest, each paying $68 annually for the right to vote on team selection, player transfers as well as other decisions affecting the club. This historical ‘power-to-the-people’ move is believed to represent the first website-community takeover of a football club or business in the world. (BBC)
Andy Pettitte Took it Like a Man, Vince Young Back-to-School, Beckham Gets Lei’d, Steve Nash’s Tottenham Hot Spurs?
HE CAME, HE SAW, HE ANSWERED
“I felt like I need to come out, be forward with this,” Andy Pettitte said. “Whatever circumstances or repercussions come with it, I’ll take and I’ll take like a man and I’ll try to do my job.” Well-spoken words from a credible player, talk about refreshing. I don’t know about the rest of you, but during Andy Pettitte’s Steroid-Gate I-did-it-admission yesterday I found myself believing in his sincerity. He wasn’t speaking from a script, or licking his lips ala a liar, or shifting his beady eyes around the room, he spoke (I feel) from the heart. Maybe Pettitte seems like a good guy because he’s currently wedged in between a rapist and a ‘misremembering’ buddy of his, but in any case, he has taken it like a man and its just too bad the rest of the bozo’s didn’t follow the same path as he.
NEVER TOO YOUNG FOR SCHOOL
It’s raining men today as we have yet another pro setting a good example. Tennessee Titan quarterback Vince Young has been a busy little bee, buzzing around the School of Social Work on the University of Texas campus, where he has returned, he says, to complete his academic requirements and graduate. “I have to hunt for a parking space just like everyone else,” Young said. “And they still charge $50 for parking tickets. I know that.” Not sure Vince has to sweat over a $50 parking ticket, he signed a $58M contract two years ago, and has ditched the dorms for a house with a swimming pool, hot tub and weight room until he finishes the semester in June. “I like to get a workout in early, study and go to class and then take care of my NFL business and work on my foundation [for at-risk youth] in the afternoon,” Young said. Young even said “no” to attending the Super Bowl and all of its parties to focus on his studies. He wants his degree because he wouldn’t feel comfortable talking to kids about the importance of education if he didn’t complete his own. “It’s not about the money and fame,” Young said. “It’s about education.”
WHAT’S HIS NAME?
Ringside tickets should be given to the person who properly pronounces the last name of Wladimir Klitschko’s opponent for the upcoming IBF/IBO Heavyweight World Championship fight on February 23rd at Madison Square Garden. Klitschko® V Sultan-Achmed Magomedsalichowitsch Ibragimow.
BECKHAM GETS LEI’D
Honolulu got its first taste of Beckham-mania yesterday, as Golden Balls and others touched down on the island in preparation for the inaugural Pan-Pacific Championship exhibition tournament, which starts Wednesday. “I think the beaches are something to be admired and something that we’re all going to enjoy,” he said. “The atmosphere and the warmth of the place. Everybody has such a friendly aura about them in Hawaii.” Not to snub the other hotties playing in the match, the roster includes, among others, Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching, Sydney FC defender Tony Popovic, and Gamba Osaka defender Satoshi Yamaguchi.
NASH LOVES THEM SPURS
Steve Nash loves the Spurs. And I’m not talking about the San Longoria Spurs; I’m talking about the English Premier League’s Tottenham Hotspurs. “My parents are from north London and so it’s not like I’m some Yank who wants to make a profit out of football. I don’t care about making money. I just want to see Spurs succeed and, if I can help, that’s great.” The sexy Sun recently spoke to the Guardian about his ‘I-want-a-piece-of-the-action’ conversations with Spurs chairman Daniel Levy and director of football Damien Comolli, but the two-time MVP insists any involvement from him would be much further down the line.
“I’m completely behind the group that’s there now and I love what’s going on at Spurs at the moment,” Nash said in the Guardian. But I would definitely love to be part of Spurs once my [basketball] career is over. I’ve got plenty on my plate right now and so I can’t imagine exactly how it might work but it’s a big goal of mine…At this stage I’m just in casual contact with Daniel Levy and Damien Comolli and we’re not necessarily speaking about how I might get involved. They know how much the club means to me but at this point it’s more a friendship than a business partnership.”
8 BALLS FOR LOVE
Yeah, I’m still mad at myself for missing the All-Star fun in New Orleans, watching it from home just ain’t the same as being there. Non-the-less, props to some of our NBA babes for their wickedly delicious dunks, and love to all those who kicked in a few bucks to a city desperately in need…here’s my very brief review, because I dont feel like working today.
The 4th annual ‘Zo & Magic’s 8-Ball Challenge’ was a raging success. The celebrity pool tournement has raised more than $750,000 to-date in efforts to make the kids smile. Toyota also did their part by partnering with the dynamic due of Alonzo Mourning and Magic Johnson, and donated $10,000 to help West Jefferson High’s music department. “Partnering with community leaders like Alonzo (Mourning) and Magic (Johnson) gave us great direction as to how to best lend a helping hand,” said Keith Dahl, national marketing manager for Toyota. “Since they both leverage their celebrity status to assist others, we were able to step in and be a true vehicle of change for this community.” Among the long list of 8-Ball participants: Ludacris, Chris Tucker, Gabrielle Union, Reggie Bush, Julius Erving and my Melo.
Another one that was everywhere was Alyssa Milano. While I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a fan, I gotta give her a break. Milano was busy promoting her new line of jewelry during All-Star festivities, and if Dikembe Mutombo can give her support, then she’s gotta be all right.
AMORE FOR AMARE
Amare Stoudemire. Kill me now…For all the scoop on last weeks NBA All Star hotties in action, along with celebrity sightings, check out NBA.com.
BONO RAISES THE BAR
One person who wasn’t spotted in New Orleans was U2 front-man/humanitarian/god, Bono. Proving that indeed, one man can change the world, Bono held an auction for Red in NY on Valentines Day. Putting most celebrity fundraisers to shame, Bono raised over $40M for aids research. Think about it people, over $40 Million in one night. Read my full review at www.looktothestars.org.
MJ THROWS DOWN A HALF-MIL
NBA All Star festivities are underway in New Orleans, and tipping off the love is Michael Jordan, whose Jordan Brand just threw down a cool donation of $500,000 to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana’s Slidell Unit. The Unit was left in shambles after Katrina, but MJ plans on building a new Jordan Brand gym complete with a professional basketball court, scoreboard and bleachers to be used by the kids of the Boys & Girls Club and other related community events.
“The Boys and Girls Clubs of America has been a visible contributor to the families and children of New Orleans, during and post Hurricane Katrina,” said Michael Jordan. “Slidell is a community that has been somewhat overlooked in recovery efforts and we are proud to aid with its rebuilding and leave a lasting legacy for the community.” During the check presentation Jordan was flanked by All-Star babes Carmelo ‘Sweet Melon’ Anthony and good-guy Chris Paul®, while hundreds of New Orleans-area kids looked on in anticipation. “I have a different perspective from any of the other all-stars,” said Chris Paul, “Everybody else that’s here for the weekend, they got to give back and do different things, then they go back to their cities. This is it for me. I’m facing these things every day. These are my people.”
More love from Jordan and Nike comes via the shoes, of course. Joining Nike’s ‘Considered’ movement is the new Air Jordan XX3, which was created with almost no chemical-based glues- good news for those ‘overseas-workers’ who have historically been wearing face masks during assembly. Nike VP/Innovation Design & Special Projects Tinker Hatfield, has worked with Michael Jordan for two decades in designing his shoes and said that Jordan “had his doubts when presented with the plan.” Hatfield: “The first words out of his mouth were, ‘It better work right.’” Hatfield added that a “key challenge was to create a shoe that could withstand the rigors of the basketball court while reducing the use of chemical glues.” The design team created the shoe’s outsole, midsole and upper sections to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. (Wall Street Journal).
PULLING THEIR WEIGHT FOR CHARITY
More NBA All Star festivities…the Kenner Police Department challenged the Kenner Fire Department as part of the first-ever Southwest Airlines NBA All-Star Pro Tow. New Orleans Hornet Rasual Butler acted as coach for the Police Department, while Hilton Armstrong coached team Firemen. The Hornets ‘coaches’ walked alongside their teams while they pulled an 80,000 pound 737 over the course of 50-yards. “We’re doing this for the kids,” yelled Butler. “You all got to pull hard.” Team Butler pulled the jet several seconds faster than team Armstrong’s firefighters. Southwest donated $12,000 to the Police Department’s charity choice, Special Olympics Louisiana, and $8,000 to the Fire Department’s choice, the American Cancer Society’s New Orleans Chapter. (Nola.com)
Rafa Nadal Foundation, Steve Nash Trash Talking Nikes, Lewis Hamilton Spurs ‘Race Against Racism’, McNamee V Clemens.
NOW WE’RE TALKING
“This can be the beginning of my future, when I retire and have more time,” purred the sexy Spaniard as he launched the Rafa Nadal Foundation in his native town, Manacor, on the island of Mallorca. “I am doing very well and I owe society,” Nadal said. I have never heard such sweeter words at a foundations opening…Rafael Nadal launched the Rafa Nadal Foundation under the watchful eyes of parents, his uncles and his four grandparents at the restaurant of the Manacor Tennis Club. “A month-and-a-half ago I was in Chennai, in India. The truth is we live great here. And if I can contribute something with my image…” he said. Contribute something with his image? I know he’s only 21, but hasn’t he caught-on yet that his image is outstanding? Rafa’s foundation seeks to promote sports as an integration tool for those most needy, mainly childhood and youth. Nadal’s mother will chair the foundation, his father will be vice-chairman, and his uncle/coach Toni will be his agent. “I have wanted people who are close to me to make me build the beginning of my future. I am 21, I hope to have a long career, yes, but this can be a start,” Nadal said. “It is a beautiful time for my life and for my career.” Indeed it is.
LEWIS HAMILTON INSPIRES
Sometimes bad acts can inspire good things, case in point-those racist idiots in Spain who taunted Lewis Hamilton. Thanks to them, the FIA has asked teams, drivers and tracks to back a ‘Racing against Racism’ campaign to be launched at the Spanish Grand Prix in April. “The FIA was appalled by the scenes of racist abuse targeted at Lewis Hamilton,” an FIA spokesman said on Wednesday. “Such behavior runs counter to the fundamental principles of equality enshrined in the FIA’s statutes. Formula One is a global, multi-cultural sport and has never encountered such scenes before and will not tolerate them in future. International motor sport can reach a huge global audience to send out positive messages of racial and sporting equality. We will be encouraging all those involved in motor sport to support our new campaign, from recent world champions to the next generation of potential champions at the grass roots of our sport.”
STEVE NASH TRASH TALKING
The hippest environmentalist in the NBA, Steve Nash, will wear the first basketball shoe made from manufacturing waste. The Nike Trash Talk is comprised of used waste leather and synthetic materials from the factory floor, as well as environmentally preferred rubber. Conforming to Nike’s ‘Considered’ design standards, the shoes were inspired by Nash’s passion for environmental awareness. “Any opportunity to promote the environment and preserve our planet is a step in the right direction. I’m very excited to be one of the first athletes to wear the Nike Trash Talk.” Look for Nashty to be wearing the kicks during tonight’s Suns-Mav’s game. “I’ve practiced in them and I like them. They look great and they feel great.”
Nike will release Trash Talk in three color patterns: An All-Star version, which Nash will wear during Sunday’s game, and two Suns versions, which will be sold at House of Hoops by Foot Locker in N.Y. and New Orleans this week for $100. Nash: “I had nothing to do with the price point, but I was definitely supportive about reusing.”
MCNAMEE V CLEMENS
Jumping aboard the best sports-opera around, MediaCurves.com conducted a national poll that revealed the majority of Americans view Brian McNamee as more believable than Roger Clemens after watching portions of their testimonies in front of Congress. (read the full transcript here) I’m still baffled as to why our tax money is being spent to hold Congressional hearings on baseball-but I am enjoying the dog-and-pony-show that goes along with it. If you’ve been following Steroid-Gate, then certainly you recognize the entertainment value of the scandal…but, there are bigger issues at stake and they extend beyond the bozos involved, so bare with me while I rant for a moment…first of all, I think both Clemens and McNamee are lying. You may recall that McNamee was accused of raping a woman? Last December, ESPN ran a piece that everyone should read. In part, it explains the details of McNamee’s 2001 rape-incident, where he (allegedly) laced a woman’s drink with a near fatal dose of GHB, before (allegedly) raping her in the pool. No charges were filed because the woman didn’t want to reveal she was having an affair with another married Yankees employee. When investigators realized this, they declined to pursue the investigation of McNamee. A few months later, the Yankees quietly let McNamee go. But Clemens and Pettitte kept using him as their personal trainer.
The actions the Yankees took to cover-up the (alleged) rape, to make the situation go away, to protect the married Yankee and their prized players of Clemens and Pettitte, makes me sick. MLB, in my experience, is beyond corrupt. No one can convince me that when McNamee was ‘quietly let-go’ by the Yankees, that this wasn’t the time he started to collect syringes-he may be a liar and a rapist, but he’s not dumb. He was, as they say, holding the smoking syringes to protect himself and his credibility. But this isnt an expose on McNamee, it’s about the way MLB buried and continues to bury it’s dirty little off-field secrets. I know I’m not alone in my belief that MLB has known about steroids use since its inception. They turned a blind eye in efforts to increase attendance while ignoring the victims left behind by its abuse. And you can bet there’s a long road of MLB-road kill left behind waiting to be discovered. That’s the bigger issue. And one day, I really wish the AP or some other credible outlet would contact this little-known blogger and ask her what she knows about steroids, a few Mitchell Report players and another cover-up that flew under the media-radar. Until then, I’ll just sit quietly and watch it unfold and wonder why hasn’t anybody asked me anything?
Egypt Wins Africa’s Cup, Garifuna Kids Have Hope, LeBron James Playground, Will Ferrell Donates Old-Spice Check to Charity, Team Darfur, Olympic Athletes Speak Out for Darfur, Rossi Pays His Taxes.
SAVE THE COWS
Say goodbye to the colorful body paints, braided hair and animal sacrifices as the Africa’s Cup of Nations came to an end with Egypt outscoring Cameroon to take home the trophy. I skipped the final because Didier Drogba and his Ivory Elephants weren’t playing, plus, Egypt scares me.
I would like to say congratulations to Egypt, but I cant. Sure, they retained their African Nations Cup crown with a 1-0 win over Cameroon, making it a record sixth title, with coach Hassan Shehata becoming only the second coach to win back-to-back titles. But I don’t care…it all comes at the expense of the cows. Prior to Egypt taking the pitch, they sacrificed a cow or two for good luck…not sure how many animals were rendered a bloody-mess by the crazed team, but there’s gotta be a more humane way to sprinkle a little ju-ju on the field? (I opted to edit the photo of the animal being sacrificed…)
HOPE FOR HONDURAN CHILDREN
Garifuna children (outside of Honduras’ capitol) enjoy respite from their poverty stricken lives via soccer training sessions which can last up to four hours a day. The young children have high hopes of following in the footsteps of their soccer hero’s and making it all the way to the big leagues. And I wouldn’t write any of them off just yet, Honduras leads the list of Central American countries that export players to Europe…yes, once again, the long-arm of the Beautiful Game inspires hope in even the smallest corners of the world.
Promo deals for the February 29 release of “Semi- Pro” are destined for the history books. Athlebrity favorite Will Ferrell does a sensational job of keeping a straight face while selling us Old Spice and Bud Light. Old Spice has already begun running the spots on ESPN, Comedy Central and MTV, as well as exclusive outtakes on their site OldSpice.com. But the best part? Will Ferrell asked that Old Spice donate his fee for appearing in the spots to the Cancer for College charity, which awards college scholarships to cancer patients. I covered this event last year (photo link on the right) and actually shed a tear when I read about his donation.
ANOTHER REASON TO LOVE ITALY
You may not know who he is, but I’ve had my eye on this little nugget for years. Valentino Rossi is a Moto-GP-babe who’s won 7 world championships, but in the midst of winning, the Italian racer forgot to pay his taxes. Luckily he doesn’t live in this country, because instead of sending their hero to jail, Rossi and Italian tax authorities held a press conference after Rossi agreed to hand over 19 million euros in unpaid tax for the years 2001-2004. “I’m very happy with the way this difficult affair has turned out because I think I will be calmer now and that will help me to concentrate on my work,” he said. Viva Italia!
Correct me if I’m wrong (as I’m sure you will) but I haven’t seen LeBron James doing much of anything to help those still struggling in the aftermath of Katrina. While King James has been sitting on his throne, we’ve seen Chris Paul, Brad Pitt, Dikembe Mutombo, Sean Penn and even the Seattle Sonics doing their part. But wait…this just in…oh, he’s finally going to help…on Thursday, the LeBron James Foundation will open a playground at the St. Bernard Rec Center in New Orleans…but after digging deeper, I find that this ‘playground opening’ is more of a publicity stunt than an act of kindness. LeLame just inked a deal with State Farm Insurance, and they just happen to be the ones sponsoring the event. Good try LeBron.
This week, Noble Peace laureates Bishop Carlos Belo, Shirin Ebadi, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Rigoberta Menchu, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Elie Wiesel, Betty Williams and Jody Williams, along with other Western politicians, former Olympic athletes and entertainers sent a letter to Chinese President Hu Jintao “urging the Beijing Games host to uphold Olympic ideals by pressing its ally Sudan to stop atrocities in Darfur.” The letter read in part, “As the primary economic, military and political partner of the Government of Sudan, and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has both the opportunity and the responsibility to contribute to a just peace in Darfur” (Reuters).
And one team I’m hoping comes home with the Gold is Team Darfur. Team Darfur is an international coalition of athletes committed to ending the crisis in Darfur by pressuring China to use its leverage with Sudan to end the Darfur crisis. Currently, there are 205 Team Darfur members, including Vince Poscente (Canada, Speed Skier); Sarah Poewe (South Africa and Germany, Swimmer); Jon Rankin ( US, Track and Field); Felicity Abram (Australia, Triathlete); Peter Cipollone (US, rower); Brian Stever (Canada, rower); Dennis Stever (Canada, rower); Nikki Stone (US, Aerial skier); Michelle Engelsman (Australia, Swimmer); Genai Kerr (US, water polo); Maria Cruz Garcia (US, Speedskater); John Naber ( US, swimmer); Amber Stachowski (US, water polo) Nathaniel Mills (US, speedskater). All members are hoping to use press conferences and possible podium appearances to protest, although they might get some slack for it due to the confusing rules implemented by the Chinese government to silence their critics. In the last two weeks, the Belgian and New Zealand Olympic committees have drawn ire from human rights organizations for apparent attempts to muzzle their athletes in Beijing. USOC Chief Communications Officer Darryl Seibel said that no U.S. athlete would be “reprimanded or censured for expressing a critical opinion about China’s human rights record, so long as it is done in an appropriate setting.” Most recently, British athletes were forced to sign a contract which bans them from discussing issues such as China’s human rights record or Tibet…A comparable situation? If our government forbid the NBA All Star babes from speaking out about the lack of FEMA/government assistance in New Orleans since Katrina…And please don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to put a damper on the games. It’s just hard to celebrate the thrill of victory while the agony of defeat is being funded by the ‘host’ country…
THE HAMILTON 7
One of the idiots who painted their face black and taunted Lewis Hamilton in Spain, has spoken out. Toni Calderon, a 36-year old trucker, said, “I’m not a racist.” Calderon also expects us to believe that he was dressed ‘that way’ to celebrate carnival day. “I would like to apologize to Lewis Hamilton and his family if our actions caused any offence…I am not a racist. I’m ashamed to appear as one in the English press.” The English press? Dude, do an Internet search and you’ll find you’re reputation has surpassed the English press. I suggest keeping your costume and ridiculous apology in Spain, cuz you ain’t gonna find much love anywhere else.
WORLD CUP: HOUSTON?
Wednesday night, a capacity crowd of 70,103 filled Reliant Stadium in Houston for the Men’s Mexico-US soccer game. And thanks to the success of the match, Houston could host a World Cup. U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) President Sunil Gulati said that the USSF is “considering putting together a bid to host the 2018 World Cup and will make a decision by June 1.” And should the federation make a bid, Gulati said that Houston “would be on the list of candidates.”
The biggest obstacle for Houston seems to be security. According to Houston police, two men were shot outside Reliant as they left the game. The two men, Raul Edgar Belmon, 28, and Manuel Elgua, 36, are expected to survive. Police don’t yet have a motive for the shooting and an investigation is ongoing. (Chron.com)
The only thing that takes the sting out of the Ivory Coasts’ loss to Egypt, and Ghana’s loss to Cameroon in the Africa’s Cup is the topless activity which ensued after the games. No matter how you look at it, it is always a Beautiful Game. Congrats to the animal sacrificing Egypt and Cameroon for making it to the Finals. I gotta go cry now.
SuperBowl Gospel, Hotties Who Bowl, Converse ‘Connectivity’, Eli Manning on Late Show, Racism in Spain.
The Super Bowl Gospel has been around for 9 years, but I had never heard of it until they finally kicked-it up a notch by holding the first NFL Players All-Star Choir last Friday in Phoenix. Hotties such as Giants David Tyree, Ravens Ray Lewis, Patriots Richard Seymour and Benjamin Watson, along with other NFL players and coaches, participated in a performance to be aired Sunday on the Gospel Music Channel. The choir’s performance was part of Super Bowl Gospel Celebration ‘08.
BABES WHO BOWL?
Apparently, 70 million people bowl at least once a year in the United States alone, making it the largest participant sport in the world. Personally, the closest I’ve come to bowling is watching the Big Lebowski, and if I were to vote for a hot celebrity bowler, the award would go to John Turturro for his role as Jesus in the film. Not wanting to be left in the dust of other sports, the folks at Bowl.Com issued a call last month for fans to vote on their favorite ‘celebrity’ bowlers. (Winners will be announced today) Among them listed, Magic’s Dwight Howard, who bowls every chance he gets and owns five balls, including a New York Yankees ball, a “Finding Nemo” bowling ball and three “pro” balls…Grizzly Michael Conley who throws a strike ball right handed and spare ball lefty…Hornets babe Chris Paul, who acts as spokesperson for the USBC…Terrell Owens who claims a high game of 288…and Washington Wizards good guy Gilbert Arenas, who owns three balls – two 16 lb. balls and a 14 lb. translucent ball. “When I bowl I have special bowling names.” Arenas said, “They call me Black Fever and Hurricane.” Which leads me to declare, any sport that hosts hotties with extra balls and nicknames such as Black Fever has gotten my pins’ full attention.
CONVERSE GETS CONNECTED
In honor of its 100th anniversery, Converse is busting out a new campaign titled “Connectivity.” The campaign, which launches this month, celebrates its Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers and their connection to pop-culture icons. Among the classics being brought back are the original Pro Leather 1976 high-top, worn by Basketball HOFer Julius Erving, the Weapon and Pro Team high-tops from the ‘80s, the Turf Pro and Tennis All Star shoes and its Scout sneakers.
Two of the coolest releases by far, are the new Black Fives kicks (above) which pay tribute to the first professional African-American basketball teams in the U.S, and as part of its collaboration with (Red), Converse is releasing a limited edition 1Hund(Red) Artists collection. Converse commissioned 100 artists to create their own sneaker designs. Contributors range from 28-year-old Boston artist Kenji Nakayama to U2’s The Edge to Billy Armstrong, lead singer and guitarist for Green Day.
ELI GETS STANDING OVATION ON LATE SHOW
When Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning appeared on David Letterman last night, he was met with a standing ovation from the studio audience. Letterman to Manning: “The nice thing about it, as you probably know, is you’re going to get that kind of response for the rest of your life.” Manning: “I’ll take it.” Manning also said of Patriots coach Bill Belichick leaving the field early during the Super Bowl, “Trying to beat traffic, I guess.” And for all you nasty girls wondering if ya got a shot at the hottest athlete in the country right now- Eli is engaged and plans to do the deed this April in Cabo, where Eli’s brothers, Peyton and Cooper will be his best men.
LEWIS HAMILTON UPDATE
I’m really happy to hear that the FIA is not letting up on the racists in Spain. In London, Paul Hamilos reported the FIA on Monday said that it is “considering legal action against the spectators involved in the racist taunts.” Anti-racism organization “Kick It Out” Dir Piara Powar “blamed the Spanish authorities for failing to respond to previous incidents of racism in sport.” While Spanish motorsport federation officials pointed out how ignorant they are by saying that “only a small minority of the 55,000 fans … were involved in the abuse of Hamilton,” BUT, they said that they also “strongly support the stance taken by the FIA and may consider legal action against those responsible.” And I feel that Spain should bring back public executions and string these idiots up for the world to see.
But classy Formula One beast isnt sitting around licking his wounds, he’s partying it up in his grandfathers homeland of Grenada to take part in the southern Caribbean island’s 34th anniversary of independence from Britain. The peeps in Grenada rolled out the red carpet for Lewis, where he was welcomed by a large delegation including Prime Minister Keith Mitchell and Hamilton’s Grenadian relatives. “Grenadians are very proud of you. Everywhere people are excited about your visit,” Mitchell told Hamilton during a ceremony at the international airport.
Looks like the suns going down in Arizona, that is, if Shaq-Daddy passes his physical. The Miami Heat have dumped-I mean, agreed to trade Shaq to the Suns for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. Shaq is scheduled to travel to Phoenix today for the physical. Sources said that the deal “could be imminent,” but issues ranging from the Suns’ “long-term finances to O’Neal’s health have to be weighed” before agreeing to the deal. Please be unfit Shaq, pa-leeze.
NHL ALL STAR GIBSON GUITAR
During the 2008 NHL All-Star Weekend, the NHL partnered with singer, businessman and humanitarian Usher with a goal to raise more than $200,000 for Usher’s New Look Foundation, a non-profit program established to expose young people to the business side of sports and entertainment. And continuing efforts to raise money began yesterday, when the NHL put three Gibson Les Paul Studio guitars, signed by the NHL babes, up for auction, with all proceeds benefiting Usher’s New Look Foundation.
This guitar is autographed by all members of the 2008 Western Conference All-Star team including Nicklas Lidstrom, Jarome Iginla, Dion Phaneuf, Pavel Datsyuk, Ed Jovanovski, Mike Ribeiro, Duncan Keith, Jason Arnott, Chris Pronger, Marian Gaborik, Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf, Shawn Horcoff, Anze Kopitar, Manny Legace, Rick Nash, Evgeni Nabokov, Henrik Sedin, Chris Osgood, Corey Perry and Joe Thornton. (Auction)
Fifty years ago, in 1958, a plane carrying Manchester United home from Belgrade crashed after a refuelling stop at Munich, killing 23 of the 44 people on board, among them eight Man-U players died. A commemoration ceremony was held in England and Germany today as survivors fell silent to remember those who died….
Steve Nash Investing In Women’s Soccer, Karma in China, Eli Manning Marches for Kids, Dodgers-Red Sox Game for Charity, Dodging Hippos in Africa.
NASH INVESTS IN WPS
Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) has just gotten a big promotion, thanks to Steve Nash and former Yahoo President Jeff Mallett. The two big boys have become investors and part owners of the league, which begins play in 2009. “I am really excited to play a role in bringing professional women’s soccer to North America,” said Nash. “As a father of twin girls, I’m especially pleased to help young women around the world realize that their dreams of being a pro soccer player can indeed come true.” Nash and Mallett both come from soccer backgrounds, but won’t operate a team, they simply kicked-in the cash needed to fund the ongoing development of WPS. Teams will be based in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. “I look at my childhood and realize how many athletes I had to look up to,” Nash said. “I look at the opportunity to put some of these wonderfully talented athletes who are dedicated and committed and put them in a setting to inspire a whole generation below them.” For those of you unfamiliar with the scrumptious MVP’s background, Nash’s papa played professionally in South Africa, his sister was the captain of the University of Victoria women’s soccer team, and his brother plays professionally for the Vancouver Whitecaps and also represents the Canadian National Team- and Sir Nashty himself once kicked it for the Mount Douglas Secondary School soccer team that won the provincial championship, leading him to be named British Columbia’s Most Valuable Player. (WPS)
ELI MARCHES FOR THE KIDS
Ya’ll know I’m a sucker for hotties with babies, but add a SuperBowl MVP into the mix and we got a winner. The March of Dimes (NY Division) announced today that NY Giants Quarterback, Eli Manning, will serve as the official Celebrity Chairman for March for Babies in New York City. Not to be confused with a Patriots parade- the March for Babies is the March of Dimes premier fundraising event that benefits all babies-those born healthy as well as those who need help to survive and thrive. “I’m proud to be partnering with March of Dimes and part of the effort to ensure that every baby has a healthy start in life,” said Manning. “Everyone can be a champion for baby health by signing up for March for Babies.” Sweetness plans to walk with over 15,000 New Yorkers on Sunday, April 27th in Manhattan to support March of Dimes’ largest fundraising event. Participants can sign up by going to http://www.marchforbabies.org.
In took less than an hour to sell 90,505 tickets to the Dodgers- Red Sox March 29-exhibition game. The game, which will be held at the LA Coliseum, benefits ThinkCure, a cancer research fund launched by the Dodgers last July.
After the Ivory Coast beat Guinea 5-0 last weekend, Drogba looked mighty delicious until…he…opened…his…mouth…Drogba said the African Footballer of the Year award picked up by Frederic Kanoute was originally destined for him. But hot stuff couldn’t travel to Lome due to his commitments with the Ivory Coast at the African Nations Cup in Ghana, and the Chelsea star revealed that his no-show meant Kanoute picked up his title. And while I couldn’t agree more with him, I think he best not go down such a Federer-like road…
KARMA CATCHING UP WITH CHINA
I don’t wish ill will on anyone, but I am a firm believer in Karma. China’s support of the genocide in Darfur has brought some well-deserved negative publicity to China just six months before the Summer Olympics kick off. The powerful winter storm sweeping through the country seems to be Karma slapping the face of Chinese President Hu. Why? Because as we mark the fifth-year of genocide in Darfur, Sudanese President Bashir appointed Musa Hilal as his senior adviser on ethnic affairs. Hilal is a notorious militia leader famous for orchestrating some of the worst atrocities of the genocide. But with China protecting him, Bashir is able to get away with some of the most outrageous affronts to the international community. Get involved people. Save Darfur.
So, as the Olympics near, it’s important to find a balance between supporting the participants and pressuring the government. Make no mistake, I’ll keep hounding you to take action to Save Darfur, but I’ll also give love to the Olympic athletes. In yesterday’s paper, there was a great article that reminded me of the 2000 Olympic swimmer from Africa that just wouldn’t give up. But this time, we’ve got two incredible men, one from Kenya and another from Senegal, who have dodged hippos to kayak in the Olympics. It doesn’t hurt that Chris Zimmer, the ultra-hot assistant coach for the US canoe/kayak national team, is training them locally here in San Diego.
Giants Answer Patriots, Ranking SuperBowl Ads, Carmelo Anthony Etch-A-Sketch, Chuck D the Chosen One, Lewis Hamilton Faces Racists in Spain, Ivory Coast-Ghana On Course for Final.
BLAME IT ON GISELE
Since 1999, Anheuser-Busch has aired the best-liked SuperBowl ads. This years’ spot featuring a Dalmatian and a Clydesdale was a no-brainer, with its Rocky themed music and high-fiving beasts, it was hard to not get a bit choked up during the spot. For complete list of ad rankings, check out today’s edition of USA Today… and if you don’t think its worth the price to advertise during SuperBowl, think again, TiVo reportedly counted people who played back material on their DVRs, and oddly enough, the commercials were watched by more people than the game itself.
As for the Super Bowl…I daresay it would be nearly impossible to cover every aspect of why I have no voice today. In part, I have to thank the entire Giants defensive line, particularly Jay Alford for each time Tom Brady was shocked into submission. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am over-the-moon with the Giants victory. I am a sucker for the underdog, especially when pitted against a team who’s record should be asterisked. Congratulations to Eli for adding another MVP Trophy to the Manning family home…Thank you to Plaxico Burress, Rick Seubert, and Corey Webster for sharing the joy with your kids, and thank you to all the NY Giants for giving us one hell of a 17-14 victory in Super Bowl XLII. You boys did it with class and we love ya for it.
CARMELO GETS ETCHED
Sweet Melon Carmelo Anthony is the latest beast to be etch-a-sketched by George Vlosich. The Etch A Sketch portrait-which does Not do Melo any justice-took more than 25 hours to complete. Last year, during the NBA Finals, Vlosich created an Etch A Sketch portrait of LeBron James, and the video of the creation of that portrait received 1.8 million views and was featured as one of the “Most-Viewed Internet Videos of 2007” according to ABC’s 20-20. I, however, am of the strong belief that Melo’s video will trump LeBron’s as the most viewed. “I’m really glad to be able to work with KeyBank on this project,” purred the Melter. “George’s portrait is amazing. I’ve never seen an Etch A Sketch like that before. I can’t believe he took the time to do it!” The delicious video is now available at KeyBank’s KeyClub.
CHUCK D ‘CHOSEN ONE
I’ve made mention of a great writer by the name of Michael Tillery before. Recently, he interviewed Chuck D of Public Enemy fame, and between the two of them my eyes have been opened wide. So it’s with great pleasure that I’m able to give Chuck D some love via his latest stint as announcer and studio-host for the xBox 360’s NBA Ballers Chosen One tournement. Also lending his beautiful voice to this project is producer Just Blaze, and while I’ve admittedly never played with this ‘interactive entertainment software’, I do feel tempted now that Chuck D is on-board. If you wanna know why- please take a few minutes to read Tillery’s Chuck D interview. Its one of the most powerful, intelligent, and necessary interviews I’ve ever read.
LEWIS HAMILTON RUFFLES THE RACISTS
Im gonna try to break this down as simply as possible for those of you not hip to the wonderful world of Formula One. Lewis Hamilton drives for McLaren Mercedes. Last season, F1 fans in Spain blamed Hamilton because (then-teammate) Fernando Alonso couldn’t clinch a third straight F1 championship. Hamilton outshined Alonso, and essentially Alonso couldn’t handle all the attention being lavished on the first black driver and left McLaren for Renault. So, it’s no surprise that the Spaniards weren’t happy about Hamilton hitting up the racetrack near Barcelona on Saturday for a training session. But the fans took it too far, and now Spain is in danger of being stripped of their two F1 Grand Prix’s this year because of a bunch of racist idiots. Pictures taken at the circuit showed some spectators aiming abusive gestures and mocking Hamilton by wearing wigs and dark make-up, while others held banners that read ‘Hamilton you are a big mouth’. The McLaren star was jeered and insulted when he moved between the McLaren motorhome and the team’s garage at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday and world governing body, the FIA, has condemned the behavior of the fans. “FIA are surprised and disappointed at the abuse directed at Lewis Hamilton. An act of this kind is a clear breach of the principles enshrined in the FIA statutes, and any repetition will result in sanctions,” said a spokesman.
Much to my delight, Hamilton didn’t stoop to their level, and responded with digity and class (ahem-Tiger) and said, “The truth is that I feel somewhat sad, I am in love with this country, and especially the city of Barcelona and this circuit, which is one of my three favorites,” said Hamilton, speaking to sportlifepress.com. “The people in Spain have always been very warm with me, and even though I imagined what might happen it has not been pleasant. But maybe these types of things make you learn to appreciate more the warmth of the public, who although you always try to be there for them, you never know how important they are to you until these types of things happen,” he added. (cnn.com)
AFRICAN CUP OF NATIONS
While about 100 million peeps in the US had their eyes glued to the SuperBowl, all eyes in Africa were focused on the African Cup. Host team Ghana and tournament favorites Ivory Coast, were both victorious in reaching the African Cup of Nations semifinals on Sunday, giving us two amazing teams on target for the Feb. 10 final.
Camilo Villegas at FBR, Portland Trail Blazers Spelling Bee, Donyell Marshall Forgets Jersey, Lost Boys Need Help, Ronnie Lott’s Big Heart, David Beckham Blows Off Charity Event
YES, YES, YES
It’s been far too long since Camilo’s prowess has been documented. Our Columbian kitten, Camilo Villegas, rests in fourth place at the FBR Open after finishing the first round at 5-under par. Obviously I’d love to see Villegas win one, but admittedly, as long as he continues to cut an ultra-fine figure in his Lindeberg gear, and get down on all threes once in a while, then I’m really not gonna complain.
DONYELL FORGETS HIS JERSEY
Ya gotta love a hottie who enters a game without their jersey. Cav’s beast Donyell Marshall checked into Cavs/Sonics game for the first time since November due to a wrist injury, and dude was so excited he tore off his warm-up along with his jersey. He was left in an undershirt and actually had to be told by an official that he wasn’t wearing his jersey. Teammate LeLame James was in stitches. Even after the game he was still laughing. “They are going to be showing that on the bloopers for years,” LeBron said. “My kids are going to be laughing at that.”
BUT CAN THEY SPELL?
Seems like every time I turn around, the Portland Trail Blazers are up to something good. Yesterday, Blazer James Jones, along with teammates and Mayor Potter, took part in the Schoolhouse Supplies Celebrity Spelling Bee at the Portland Art Museum. Schoolhouse Supplies is an award winning nonprofit that supports public education in Portland by giving students and teachers free classroom supplies. All proceeds from the event will be used to operate the organization’s free store, which is stocked with supplies donated by the community. To date, School House Supplies has donated $8,825,000 worth of freebies to the kids.
LOST BOYS NEED HELP
The Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan is asking for help. While they have already raised $30k to send students to school, several of the Boys are in need of educational funds. “Our immediate goal is to raise $15,000 as soon as possible to pay for tuition and books for the current Spring term, and the coming summer term. The situation is critical since these students are considered “working poor” and do not qualify for Federal Financial Aid,” writes John J. Trifiletti, Director of Grants and Scholarships, Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan. “They are in the difficult situation of working full time, going to school part time or full time, and trying to support themselves and other family members. We believe that these young men and women are the future of their country. In supplying them with an education, we believe that will help them to change the face of their nation. Any contribution would be greatly appreciated.” Please visit their website for more info, because this really is a worthy cause.
RONNIE LOTT HELPING KIDS
Yesterday, the Sports Business Daily ran an interview with Football HOFer Ronnie Lott. In summary, Lott has blown me away with his caring attitude and has proven to be an example we can all look up to.
The interview, in part…Q: What is All Stars Helping Kids. Lott: All Stars Helping Kids is a platform that we have been involved with since 1989. It allows young people to be engaged with opportunities that allow their education, their health initiatives, ways of getting them a chance to succeed or a chance to stand on someone’s shoulders to have success. Q: About the program you have said, “We can achieve more collectively than we can individually.” Lott: That is true, and that’s why we are calling on more athletes to be engaged with the philanthropic efforts of our society. We believe that there should be a calling for more athletes to get involved. I had an interesting phone call from Jim Brown a year ago. He shared with me his thoughts on what he started doing in the early ‘60s: creating a social change, a social opportunity for others. Q: What did that phone call mean to you? Lott: For him to say that we are a part of that network, and that we continue to carry that baton and really try to inspire others to be a part of it, is a huge statement and a huge responsibility for all of the people who are associated with All Stars Helping Kids—Emmit Smith, Marcus Allen. All of us have to carry the torch of guys like Bobby Mitchell and Bill Russell and Jim Brown, who tried—and continue—to create social change. If you have any faith in your life, you realize that you’re here to serve, to empower and to give. If you can apply those three characteristics, you can definitely allow a young person to achieve some things greater than they have today. Q: What’s the mission of Play It Smart? Lott: Play It Smart is a phenomenal program centered around elevating young people who might not have the resources and it provides for them the opportunity to see that they can enhance their needs. So, when they do move beyond the playing field and beyond their careers in sports, they have a chance to have the right resources to compete…and with this, Mr. Lott earns a mighty-mighty-good-man nod.
DAVID BECKHAM BLOWS OFF CHARITY EVENT
In efforts to raise money for cystic fibrosis, guests in London paid close to $2,500 each to attend a fundraiser hosted by David Beckham. Problem is, after Beckham wasn’t selected to play in the England/Switzerland game, he opted to pull out of the charity event, claiming he had to get back to the Galaxy. Beckham withdrew from the event, which expected to raise more than $1.9M, less than two hours before it began. Simon Olivera, Beckhams agent, said: “David asked whether he could delay and come back on Monday, but they (Galaxy) said no, you have to come back as soon as possible. He needs to be back for fitness tests this afternoon, he also needs to see the kids and his wife. He is very disappointed not being able to front this. His commitment to charity is something he is incredibly proud of and when he can’t do something it’s a big disappointment. But when the club says you need to get back you have to get back.” Arsenal babe Emmanuel Adebatoy was quick to respond, “We have a chance to do something good to help these people. I’m sad that Beckham is not here.” Beckham agreed to host the event after Thierry Henry, the Barcelona and ex-Arsenal player, dropped out. Fixture changes had left Henry stranded in Spain, and Beckham stranded in his own ego. (Timesonline)