RYAN SHECKLER STARTING YOUNG
If you’re a cougar with teenaged kids, then most likely you know who Ryan Sheckler is…he’s become a star in his own right by parlaying his skateboarding skills into a multimillion dollar career which includes the MTV reality show: Life of Ryan. But the young buck isnt just about skateboards and tattoos; he’s already giving back to the community and has just announced the Ryan Sheckler Celebrity Golf Tournement (July 29, 2008, Trump Golf Course, Palos Verdes, CA). Pretty amazing coming from a 19-year-old! (Who says you cant be young, rich and generous? (a-hem Lebron).
The X Games champ will host his first celebrity golf tournament for charity as part of the mission of his non-profit organization, The Sheckler Foundation. Kids got pull: celebrities such as Jerry O’Connell, Dean Cain, Kevin Federline, Brody Jenner and athletes, Mia Hamm, Bode Miller, Carey Hart, Travis Pastrana, and Dave Mirra have all agreed to tee off alongside Ryan to raise money for various charities. “I’ve always had a desire to help the kids who support me in my career and may not have had the same opportunities that I did,” Sheckler explained, “I have reached a point where I have the ability to give back, and I’m honored to have such a great response for this tournament from my professional colleagues and friends.” Charities benefiting from this contest include Wings for Life, a charity that funds scientific research into spinal cord injuries; Road 2 Recovery, which provides financial assistance to seriously injured motocross and supercross athletes and their families; The Athlete Recovery Fund, an organization which provides financial support for injured BMX, FMX, and Skateboard athletes, and Boarding for Breast Cancer, a non-profit youth focused organization that works to create awareness about the disease.
DOUG FLUTIE DOES IT BECAUSE HE WANTS TO
Doug Flutie held his ninth annual Doug Flutie, Jr. Celebrity Golf Classic last week, to raise money for autism. Doug and his wife established their foundation in 1998 to honor their son, Doug Jr., who was diagnosed with autism. The foundation raises money through events such as the golf tournament. “We do it because we want to do it, and it’s our life, and it’s for Dougie,” Doug said, “It’s not that big of an effort for us because it’s that important to us. We’ve been able to increase our grants year after year. Initially, the first year or two when we were giving grants, we were going through the paperwork, and we were reading the grant applications and giving them out. And then all of a sudden you get out there and you visit some of these schools that start up or a camp that starts up and you realize the impact you’re having, and that’s pretty special.” (Source)
SAY IT AINT SO ZO?
A $50,000 lawsuit was filed this month by the Wynn in Las Vegas…this time, Charles Barkley wasn’t named, but it does claim that Alonzo Mourning Charities, Inc. used the convention and meeting space for a fundraiser during the All-Star Week and hasn’t paid the bill. Now, I’m gonna give Zo a break until we learn more details…I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of inept ‘foundation or PR company’ employees in the past, so, not ripping on his admin peeps (just yet) but from my experience, many of the athletes foundations are run by twenty-something blond admin girls getting paid ten-bucks an hour and have no idea what they are doing-again, not saying this is the case at Zo’s Foundation…just saying I’ve seen this glitch in action before.
Ok, so when did our ballers turn into cardboard? The NBA Nation Tour event made a stop at Pier 17 in New York over the weekend, but I’m wondering if, in fact, any ‘real life’ babes were there? Granted, the cut outs of Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki are eerily lifelike and I wouldn’t mind a few of ‘em adorning my house…but come on, we at least need a pulse.
And it seems the trend is not limited to cardboard, according to the photo-cap for the above photo…’Milwaukee Bucks first round draft pick Joe Alexander rests next to a sculpture of a security guard on June 27, 2008 at the Bucks Training Center in St. Francis, Wisconsin.’ Huh? What? Why? The Bucks can’t hire a real guard?
MICHAEL PHELPS MAKE ME YELPS
Love going to Michael Phelps, who set a new world record of 4:05.25 after winning the final of the 400-meter individual medley during the U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
MEN’S U.S. OLYMPIC BASKETBALL TEAM
Monday, we got our starting line-up for the Men’s U.S. Olympic Basketball team that hopes to capture the gold medal in Beijing in August. Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, and Deron Williams, Tayshaun Prince.
I’m gonna break down some of these beasts and their charity work for ya…yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve seen Jason Kidd at just about every charity gig you can imagine. To name a few- the ‘Showdown in Chinatown event,’ The Pro Team Sports Challenge’, and now Kidd’s headed off to Vegas for the Ante Up For Africa Poker tournement: “Role model is something that comes with my job description. It’s a given that kids will look up to you.” Kidd’s Foundation-oddly named the Jason Kidd Foundation, provided funds for children’s medical research and to charities supporting the needs and interests of children…he also launched the “Assists for Kidds” program, which asks fans to make donations to charity for every one of his assists, while he himself has pledged $100 per assist. He also holds the usual youth basketball camps and charity golf tournaments every summer. To me, Kidd is one of the mighty-mighty-fine good guys out there. I’ve seen him in action at the Pro Team challenge, and I can tell you he was more focused on winning the event for his teams’ chosen charity than he was in the silicon-how’d-they-find-out-about-this-event-girls traipsing around the pool. *The Pro Team Sports Challenge will be broadcast this weekend, Saturday and Sunday on FoxSportsNet.
What can I possibly say about Chris Paul and his charity work that hasn’t been said? Chris and his family created the CP3 Foundation in partnership with the Winston-Salem Foundation to feed hungry families, support worthy causes and provide scholarships. We’ve seen him getting down and dirty in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans-helping rebuild and clean-up the mess left behind by Hurricane Katrina. He passes out thousands of Thanksgiving turkeys every year-with a sincere smile on his face and in 2006 Chris won the NBA’s Community Assist Award, which garnered an additional $5,000 for his CP3 Foundation and applauded him for his emphasis on community involvement, service, and his donation of food baskets and bikes for underprivileged children in Oklahoma City and New Orleans.
In April 2008, Men’s Vogue ran a great piece on Chris Paul; which-in part- exemplifies his heart, soul, passion and past that have made him the mighty-mighty-sexy-good-guy he is today. Excerpt: Paul was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he developed into a high-scoring high-school point guard. In 2002, the day after Paul signed his letter of intent to play college basketball at Wake Forest, his grandfather, Nathaniel Jones, was murdered in his driveway. A few nights later, Paul took the court and scored 61 points — his grandfather’s age when he died — before taking himself out of the game and weeping on the bench. He now runs the Nathaniel Jones Scholarship Fund, which sends deserving high-school grads to Wake Forest. And if that didnt give you goosebumps, you’re on the wrong blog.
I dare anyone to find something negative written about Dwight Howard. (And I ain’t talking about his hoops skills-although I’m willing to bet there’s not much you can rip on there either). Hot-stuff, along with his parents, established the Dwight D. Howard Foundation in 2004 to empower kids to reach their highest potential- he’s given out scholarships for students who want to attend his alma mater, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in Atlanta Georgia and provides grants to Lovell Elementary School and Memorial Middle School in Orlando Florida. He’s personally donated money for the Katrina Hurricane relief efforts, and helped to build a playground at the Boca Club Apartments in Orlando. And to top this sundae with a plump cherry- Dwight has faith. When he’s home in Atlanta, he attends the Fellowship of Faith Church and donates his time to the youth programs at the church. Needless to say, it’ll be a cold day in hell when you read anything about Howard getting a DUI, arrested for gun possession or accidentally picking up a stranger who later beats and robs him. Dwight Howard is more than a mighty-fine-man, he’s a stellar example for all of us to look up to.
Of course, not much ‘community’ news available on Chris Bosh, but according to his foundation website-Bosh is okay by me. Each year he runs a Chris Bosh Foundation Book Club where over 2000 kids get involved to read as much as possible during hoops season. Throughout 2007 Chris supported and initiated a variety of community events including a holiday party for more than 300 kids, his first annual basketball tournament, homework and book clubs…he’s the Read To Achieve spokesman for the Raptors and has attended a ton of Raptors community events including the Raptors Foundation Court Launch, Sick Kids Hospital visit and KingPin Bowling Challenge. During the month of February Chris promoted Black History Month by hosting in school trivia contests and provides youth the opportunity to come to games throughout the season.
By now you’ve must have heard of Boozer’s Buddies right? Boozer and his wife established the foundation to support families affected by Sickle Cell Disease. Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms, and Boozer was inspired after his 17-month-old son, Carmani, was diagnosed with has sickle cell anemia (who later underwent a successful bone marrow transplant). “You think of yourself as a father, brother, son, a basketball player, all these things,” Carlos said. “Now I realize I’m so much more than that, I’m an advocate. I want to raise money, help kids who can’t help themselves. This is the beginning of a long story for us, and this is just Part One.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Carmelo Anthony is a good-guy. I don’t care about his DUI-he made a mistake, which he’s owned up to, so get over it already. Im not condoning drinking and driving, but if the media would report the good things Melo’s been involved with, you may change your opinion. And again, I’m not gonna address some asinine video-game-much-to-do-about-nothing or overblown 7-Eleven BS that some of you have latched onto in efforts to bring Melo down. My point is finding about finding a balance…and when Melo is interacting with kids and kicking down some hefty cash (under the media radar) to improve the lives of needy kids-its easy to read his face and you just know in your heart he’s doing it outta love. Simple as that.
As for the rest of Team USA-Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, Deron Williams, and Tayshaun Prince…well, lets see, D-Wade is always out there in the community- not sure if its sincerity or contract work, but regardless, he’s always smiling and licking those juicy lips of his…Lebron James-hypocrite…Michael Redd is a a devout Christian who bought a church building for his father’s ministry as the first purchase after signing with the NBA-I’d say he’s one of the good-guys out there-check out his Foundation…Deron Williams: His Point of Hope Foundation helps people with cancer…he holds charity golf events…and is hot….Tayshaun Prince…can’t give him love just yet…had a nasty run in with some of his peeps in Carson, so by proxy he’s a bit tainted for this Motor City gal.
The USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team will be profiled in a five-part documentary series, “Road To Redemption presented by NIKE”. The series, produced by NBA Entertainment, will debut with a special one-hour episode that will air Wednesday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
SHOWDOWN IN CHINATOWN WITH STEVE NASH
A few NBA good-guys like Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Raja Bell, and Leandro Barbosa hooked up with some of the best soccer players on earth- Thierry Henry, Claudio Reyna, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Jozy Altidore, Juan Pablo Angel, and Gregg Berhalter for the ‘Showdown in Chinatown’ charity soccer game yesterday in NY. (Side note: Mad Props to Jason Kidd, who has popped up at just about every charity event imaginable during the off-season.)
The ‘Showdown’ was born from the beautiful humanitarian mind of Steve Nash, who spends most of his off-season showcasing the soccer skills that were passed down from his famous soccer-playing dad. Nash co-hosted the event along with buddy Claudio Reyna, who moved to MLS’s New York Red Bulls after making a name for himself in parts of the world where soccer is a religion. Following the game, the hotties held a private auction in SoHo to benefit their respective foundations. “Football and my foundation are two of my big passions,” said Nash, “And the chance to bring together guys like Thierry and Jason and Claudio. And the best part is that it (was) free to anyone who wanted to come watch us.”
“We had it completely wrong in terms of the excitement,” Reyna said. “We knew people were going to come out, but we just couldn’t believe it when we showed.” Uh-you didn’t know people were gonna come out? Actually, Reyna makes a good point. While my West Coast eyes had to search hard for info on this event, I’m wondering how much pre-event pumping up there was on the East Coast? This event could have sold more tickets than David Beckham has for the Galaxy- but seeing as it was Steve Nash holding the reins, it doesn’t surprise me that it was a free event. Thanks to the great fans who filmed the event and posted something fresh to look at on YouTube…if it weren’t for them, footage from this event may have gone by the wayside…the only stone in my shoe today is that I didn’t get my ass on a plane to NY to cover this event myself (a-hem, sponsors pa-leeze). Nash’s side won the 60-minute game, 9-4, while Thierry Henry entertained the crowd by juggling the ball for 20 yards at a time and balancing it on his head-stuff we only see in Reebok commercials…There’s a handful of post-related items…all the same standard wording…and maybe five images from the event making the rounds. And the ‘selling point’ of the story this morning is that Henry said he likes America-media translation? Henry may be following in the footsteps of Beckham and come to the states. “Why not?” he said Wednesday night, “I love America. I love it here. And whenever I come here, I feel free. Hopefully, one day. You never know what’s going to happen. But at the moment, I’m still over there.” But you were here yesterday Thierry, and we thank you for that. We thank you for adding an extra-bit of oomph to the most beautiful game to roll through NY in a long, long time. (And on a side note here-gotta call out a playa for a sham of a show…Baron Davis. While he also took part in this little shindig he gets no love from me-I ain’t buying his ‘charity efforts’ for one second. He may be one of the most charismatic and loved ballers around, but I’ve seen his dark side, his thug of a posse and his overbearing need to have his ego fed. In my book, he ain’t one of the good-guys until he clears up some dirty baggage that’s attached to his reputation.)
NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS MEET SPECIAL OLYMPIANS
Yesterday, NBA Cares held a Special Olympics Clinic at John Jay College in NY. A few NBA ‘draft prospects’ such as Brook Lopez (L), O.J. Mayo (R), Robin Lopez, Russell Westbrook, Jerryd Bayless and Michael Beasley made the kids happy.
And in efforts to justify running this fab-photo of Michael Beasley, I found an auction by Topps who sponsored the McDonalds All American High School Basketball Games. Up for bids is a basketball signed by team members including Beasley. The exclusive Topps Vault eBay auctions features a limited number of Topps McDonald’s All-American High School “The Rock” Basketballs signed by the Boy’s East team, the Boy’s West team, and the Girls teams. 85% of the proceeds from the auctions will go to the Ronald McDonald House charities, so bid away my friends, bid away.
BOWLING FOR DREAMS
Last Saturday in Las Vegas, celebrity athletes meshed with celebrities for the 8th annual Sports Dream Bowl at the Red Rock Resort. The babes lined up to bowl for a benefit for the Sports Dream Foundation’s Urban Youth Scholarship Fund. NFL legend, Warren Moon hosted the event, which delivered some great eye-candy to guests who were able to watch the ‘red-caret’ arrivals…Tony Parker-Longoria was there with his arm-charm, Carson and Jordon Palmer of the Cincinnati Bengals, NFL legend Jerry Rice, Junior Seau, Brandon Jacobs, Tony Gonzalez, Robert Horry of the San Longoria Spurs, Brian Brohm of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Ross and Brandon Jacobs of the NY Giants…”Everyone involved loves the fun of the event, but also cares tremendously about the cause. As athletes and celebrities, we have all benefited from the support of others, and we are honored to pass along the positive impact by contributing to these outstanding students,” said Moon. “Many of our recipients will be the first in their family to attend college. Their personal stories and achievements are incredibly inspiring.” Moons been kicking in cash for college grants since 1989, and six of the scholarship winners joined the festivities…
DUSTED OFF AND READY FOR AUCTION
I love that John McEnroe is doing this…but I’m pretty sure the value lies in the fact that it was painted by Andy Warhol…Flashback 1986…John McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal were happily married when they attended a charity auction and bid about $30k to have Warhol paint the couple’s portrait based on a Polaroid of the two. Flash forward 2008…McEnroe is selling the portrait via a Sotheby’s auction in London next week…the piece is expected to fetch about $687,000…which I sincerely hope they get, because all proceeds are earmarked for Habitat for Humanity.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: DOUBLE WHAMMY
On Tuesday, June 17, our Columbian kitten, Camilo Villegas crawled his way to victory at the Telus World Skins golf tournament in British Columbia…he’s now got an additional $230,000 to add to his list of prize money…but, just when we’re getting used to the idea of Villegas winning one…he’s gone and done it again- just one week later. “I was a little nervous,” he said. “It’s good to feel the nerves, a little shaky. It’s good for myself.” Villegas made two birdie putts in a three-hole playoff and along with his partner Bubba Watson to win the rain-delayed CVS Caremark Charity Classic on Tuesday. “It’s all about charity,” said Bubba Watson, who donated $10,000 of his winning check back to the tournament. “I know it helps Rhode Island a lot.” No word on whether or not Villegas is gonna send some cash to his Foundation…because although I know he’s established one in Columbia-there is nary a peep of info available about it-so Camilo, wake-up and email Delinda information about your Foundation already-how long you gonna make this girl wait?
ATHLEBRITY NBA DRAFT PICK: JERRYD BAYLESS
While some of our off-season ballers are busy playing in charity soccer games with Steve Nash or performing their ‘NBA Cares’ duties, a plethora of fresh-blood is waiting for their entry in the NBA via that-oh-so-long-and-boring NBA Draft process. In efforts to help you weed out the good from the bad (pun intended), I think I may have found a future-charity-diamond-in-the-rough. Jerryd Bayless, formerly of the Arizona Wildcats, has created quite a buzz- with predictions calling for him to be selected either fourth or fifth in the Draft. We have yet to see how this sexy youngster will adjust to life with the big boys- whether he’ll let the fame and fortune take him down faster than a drunk baller in a Vegas club, or if he’ll take a similar path as Chris Paul and give love to the community- my intuition says he’s headed for the mighty-mighty-sexy-good-guys category.
In a 2005 GOAZCATS.com article, the writer’s first impression of Bayless: “To my pleasant surprise, he turned out to be the polar opposite of what I expected. He was — and remains to this day — humble, polite, dignified, respectful, caring, selfless, charming and witty. Basically, Jerryd Bayless is the exact kind of person people want to call their friend, the kind of guy parents hope their kids hang around with because of his positive nature and the good upbringing by his own parents.” And wouldn’t ya know it-Bayless gave credit to his parents, “I am a reflection of my mom in ways and my dad in ways,” he said. “And, yes, they have made it easier for me to succeed.” No argument coming from his former AAU coach either, “Jerryd is a class act. It comes from being around quality people and having good parents.” Sweetness is already off to a great start-on June 19, Bayless teamed up with Feed the Children to provide 400 Phoenix families with boxes of food, love and personal care items. “Arizona and I have a special connection and commitment to bettering the lives of Arizonans, “ he said, “I am privileged to be able to help out the community before I start this next phase of my life in the NBA and in a new city…it will always be a priority for me to assist young people and their families to ensure that opportunities are available. This is just the beginning of what I intend to be a long-term commitment to helping those less fortunate in the Arizona area.” Let’s cross our fingers and hope this future NBA star continues to makes us all proud and we don’t find him among the posts in Deadspin…
YAO MING BUILDING SCHOOLS AFTER EARTHQUAKE
Yao has been a very busy ‘relief-effort-bee’…the Houston Rockets star held a fundraiser last Thursday for his Yao Ming Foundation. More than 100 people attended, including teammate/humanitarian Dikembe Mutombo…the little shin-dig raised about $150,000 dollars to help earthquake victims in his native China. Yao began his relief efforts by making an initial, personal commitment of $2M after the May 12 quake, and the first initiative of Yao’s Foundation is earthquake relief efforts that focus on rebuilding earthquake-resistant, high-quality schools. “It is very hard to put into words how difficult it is to see this kind of destruction,” said Yao. “My thoughts and actions are now focused on helping to rebuild the schools that were destroyed in this tragedy and I hope that others around the world will join in our efforts.” If you wanna join Yao in his efforts to help, please visit his Foundation for more info.
Speaking of Dikembe Mutombo…he was featured in the June issue of ‘Icon Magazine’. I highly recommend reading “Netting His Dream,” it’s a phenomenal article which accurately portrays why he is one of the most sincere and ethical humanitarian ‘athletes’ you could ever hope for…and I gotta say it-Dikemebe is looking pretty hot in the photo spread…sorry kids, I may have shifted my focus towards athletes and their chairty work, but my libido is still honed in on mighty-mighty-fine-sexy-men.
ETO’O FOR THE KIDS
Barcelona and Cameroon striker Samuel Eto’o brought skills and smiles to grateful African school children during a soccer clinic on the outskirts of Nairobi today. As part of his ‘OMO 10 out of 10 Nationwide Soccer for Life Skills’ program, the three-time African Player of the Year is making the rounds and is expected to meet a total of about 400 kids from around the area to teach them basic soccer lessons…
BRENDAN HAYWOOD YA COME TO MY TOWN?
Back in May, Washington Wizards hottie Brendan Haywood inadvertently caused some hefty donations to be made to the Cavaliers Youth Fund after he (rightly) called Lebron James a ‘crybaby’ for complaining about hard fouls. Haywood’s ‘crybaby’ comments sparked those wonderful Papa Johns t-shirts and ensuing .23 pizza sales and a $10k donation to the Cav’s Youth Fund…so dude’s okay in my book…especially after this weekend when hot-stuff was hooping it up with the kids during the Kia Motors Performance Challenge as part of the NBA Nation Tour…because sometimes the off-season can be a beautiful thing.
LEWIS HAMILTON’S SLEEPING BAG FOR CHARITY?
Felipe Massa may have won the French Grand Prix on Sunday after Lewis Hamilton battled with extra penalty points which caused him to finish in eleventh place…but I’d much rather talk about Lewis Hamilton’s sleeping bag…a bunch of smart kids from the Maple Court Primary School in the UK were encouraged by the school to stage a charity auction. The kids fired off a bunch of letters asking for donations, and viola- they are now is possession of the F1-babes sleeping bag. “We got it from Mercedes Benz,” said an eleven-year old student. Hamilton’s downy-piece of heaven goes on the auction block July 16th. (SentinelUK)
GEORGE MARTIN: $2 MILLION DOLLAR MAN
George Martin spent his entire football career with the NY Giants (1975-1988) and missed only six games during those 14 years…so its no surprise that the ex-defensive end completed his 3,003-mile trek across the US with a massive smile across his face. “I feel like a million bucks,” Martin said. “Other than a blister that I have on my left foot, I’m in great shape.” The big guy burned through 24 pairs of shoes and lost 40 pounds before finishing his walk on Saturday in San Diego-and Im sure that smile also had to do with the fact that he raised more than $2 million along the way for sick 9/11 rescue workers.
Martin began his walk on September 16 to draw attention to the plight of rescue and recovery workers who developed respiratory problems after working in the ruins of the World Trade Center. “These heroes need our collective support,” Martin said in a statement. “Many who answered our nation’s call for help now cannot even walk up the steps in their own homes due to severe respiratory and other ailments. Some are dying. They deserve our help.” For more info on this mighty-mighty-good-man, please visit ‘A Journey For 911.’
ASTON VILLA GATHERS ACORNS
Premier League club Aston Villa didn’t seem bothered when their multimillion- dollar deal with an Internet gaming company expired. Instead, they opted to enter into sponsorship deal to promote the work of Acorns children’s hospices by advertising the hospice on their jerseys. “Yes, the shirts have monetary value, but they also have emotional value to fans and this is something to give back to them,” said Duncan Riddle, the club’s head of community relations. Villa, owned by American Randy Lerner, is the first Premier League club to shun a lucrative sponsorship deal. “Real credit must go to Aston Villa for being the first Premier League club to use their shirt sponsorship to highlight their charity partnership with Acorns,” Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore said. “I am sure that Acorns’ association with Aston Villa will be a great help in raising awareness and funds for the excellent work they undertake.” Acorns look after 600 children and families and run three 10-bed units across central England. (Aston Villa Acorns)
As I look at the photos of Javon Walker partying it up at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, I can’t help but feel sick to my stomach. One minute he’s having fun, the next he’s left as road kill. In case you missed the news from Sin City, early Monday morning, the Oakland Raider was beaten, robbed and left unconscious on a Las Vegas street after a night of partying…then I come across news of Arizona Cardinal J.J. Arrington getting arrested after a fight at a nightclub in Rocky Mount, N.C…Titans linebacker Ryan Fowler denies taking performance-enhancing drugs after he was linked to convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs, who was found dead with a female companion in his Plano, Texas, home earlier this month…Sadia Morrison, the Bronx woman who was involved in the Las Vegas brawl that police say NFL star Adam “Pacman” Jones’ incited, was found dead last week behind a Bronx building…Barry Bonds has pleaded not guilty to 15 felony charges of lying to a federal grand jury about his performance-enhancing drug use…and now The New York Times, citing an unidentified lawyer briefed on the issue, reported that Greg Anderson’s wife received a “target letter” from federal prosecutors in November, shortly after Bonds was indicted on perjury charges, advising her that she could be charged with conspiring to commit a crime against the federal government…
Day after day, as I sit here and post pretty pictures of our sexy athletes doing good things, I find it incredibly frustrating to NOT come across more coverage of the celebrity athletes who have made good role models. The general public flocks to sites like Deadspin or Perez Hilton in efforts to get their daily dose of dirt while ‘journalists’ chase down leads on TomKat sightings or the latest news on the birth from a celebrity who-shouldn’t-be-having-kids-and-why-do-we-care-anyway?
There is a very dirty and dark side to sports. I’ve seen and heard things I wouldn’t wish upon any sports fan- my bubble has burst and I’ve had just about enough of the scandals, steroids, rapes, party’s gone wrong, affairs, fights, drug dealing hoopsters, gun toting ballers, etc. Since the release of the Mitchell Report, ‘Game of Shadows’, ensuing testimony from Clemens and his side-kick-personal trainer, Brian McNamee, we’ve been given a front row seat to that circus, but hidden within the text, testimony and ‘archived’ news stories, there is a much larger issue which is not being addressed in the sports section. And the dark side I’m referring to isn’t steroids and baseball. This isn’t about who, what, where, when or why some athletes birthed a scandal that has forever tainted America’s favorite past time. Its about the victims of the cover-up, scandal and ongoing injustice done to women who have fallen prey to athletes who have been empowered by society, the media, steroids and yes-even some teams-that don’t want anyone to know how deep and dirty the secrets go. No one wants to say the dirty word, but I will. It’s called ‘rape.’ With the world focused on tainted home-run records, asterisks, and the integrity of the sports world, I think its high time people are aware that the integrity of many women has been stolen from them. Because believe me, its happening, has happened, and will continue to happen unless someone addresses the issue.
One example comes from Camp Clemens. In October of 2001, Brian McNamee, while employed by the Yankees, was caught having sex with a woman in Florida at the team hotel. According to police reports, she had allegedly been given a near lethal dose of GHB (aka the ‘date-rape’ drug) and McNamee held onto her until a hotel employee noticed she was incapacitated and asked him to stop. Other players watched as McNamee ‘raped’ this woman, but because she was having an affair with a married Yankees employee, she didn’t press charges. A few months later, the Yankees quietly let McNamee go, but Clemens and Pettitte kept using him as their personal trainer. Stories of infidelity are rampant in the sports world, yet I have the utmost respect for this woman, whoever she is, and despite the fact that she was having an affair with a ‘married’ Yankee. To add insult to injury- Clemens and Pettitte-knowing McNamee’s propensity for violence-kept him on their payroll, while the Yankees washed their hands of it by taking McNamee off their payroll, but still kept him linked to the team by proxy. I’m sure this woman was given a hefty-lump of hush money and sent packing. But hush money doesn’t restore dignity or self respect. Money doesn’t make the nightmares go away or heal the humiliation. Money can’t give this woman what McNamee took from her by force and without consent.
In essence, my focus has shifted. Athlebrities is getting a face lift. Gone are the days of the simple objectification of our hotties. Mixed within the vortex of the complicated world of professional athletes, there are some really, really good men (and women) out there using their fame to raise money for good causes…donating countless hours and cash to bring awareness to starving kids in Africa, the still-Katrina-ravaged areas of New Orleans, the homeless people on our streets, children with AIDS, abused or neglected animals, autism, illiteracy, etc…the list is as endless as their generosity. I wanna hear the feel-good stories and I want you to feel inspired instead of reading about all the garbage…this doesn’t mean that you won’t find Camilo Villegas crawling across my posts, or information on Team Italy activities…but you will read more about the good guys and their charity events. You will read more about who, what, when and where these athletes will be in order to meet their fans and raise money for good causes.
Because really, isnt it time we replace the bad-guys on the pedestal with the ones who really deserve it?
BARKLEY ANTE’S UP FOR AFRICA The 2008 Ante Up For Africa Poker Tournament at the World Series of Poker will be held on July 2 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event, which raises money and awareness for the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, raised more than $700,000 last year, and this year, you can expect them to raise even more…thanks in part to Sir Charles Barkley, who kept good on his “not gambling” promise during the Pro Team Sports Challenge despite the fact that the event was held, in part, at a casino. “We were at a casino and he said he was on the wagon,” said Jason Kidd, a participant in the Pro Team Challenge. “He’s strong. He didn’t gamble. I think Charles, once he decides not to do something, I think he’s pretty good at keeping his word.” Barkley has pledged to donate all of his winnings to one of the two designated charities if he wins the event in Vegas…Past celebrities, athletes and poker professionals giving some love to Darfur via the Ante Up For Africa Poker Tournament include: Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander, Hank Azaria, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Cheryl Hines, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler, Martin Sheen, Donnie Wahlberg, Montel Williams, Doyle Brunson, Annie Duke, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Jamie Gold, Phil Gordon, Barry Greenstein, Joe Hachem, Jennifer Harman, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, and many others.
STEVE NASH CLEATS UP FOR CHARITY
Steve Nash is taking off his sneakers and putting on some cleats to take part in the “Showdown in Chinatown” celebrity soccer match for charity. The face-off, which includes New York Red Bulls midfielder Claudio Reyna along with celebrity athletes from two of the most beautiful games in the world-soccer and basketball- takes place in New York City on June 25. Nash and Reyna will be joined by former Liverpool FC stars Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler as well as NBA players Raja Bell (R), Leandro Barbosa, Nate Robinson and David Lee.
LUOL DENG: WHAT A MIGHTY FINE MAN
His name should be familiar to you if you’ve been a regular reader of mine…Chicago Bull Luol Deng. Remember his name. He’s one of the good guys-right alongside Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Nash and Yao Ming-in terms of really, really making a difference in this world, but specifically for his work with the NineMillion.org campaign. Deng has been a staunch supporter of the cause, donating $50 for every basket he scored to the organization that helps more than nine million refugee children gain better access to education, technology and everything else we take for granted.
Today, Deng, who is a former refugee from Sudan, will receive the 2008 UN Refugee Agency’s Humanitarian of the Year Award at World Refugee Day in Washington, D.C. ”I am honored to receive the UNHCR’s ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ Award,” Deng said. “Giving back is important to me. The ninemillion.org campaign is a cause that is very close to my heart, and I am committed to helping refugees make a new life for themselves.”
LAKERS DIDN’T EAT THEIR WHEATIES
“It’s about team,” Garnett said. “That’s right up my alley. I’ve never been a selfish guy, or a selfish player. It’s so much motivation coming in here every day with the banners on the wall, and seeing the ex-players coming in. As soon as you come through the doors, see those banners and see the jerseys and the pictures, you know that you’re around something special.”
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo gave us on hell of a show. But when Kevin Garnett put his cap on after the game, bowed his head and cried, I felt his emotion, and that of the entire stadium filled with love and adoration for a team that rightly deserved the NBA Finals Trophy. Sorry Lakers fans, but a 131-92 beating pretty much ends the debate as to who the real warriors were last night. It doesn’t matter which team you wanted to win, the heart and soul the Celtics displayed through their emotions, skills, and genuine love for the game was so overwhelming that if Garnett didn’t make you cry just-a-lil-bit when he said “I got my own, I got my own!” into Bill Russell’s ear, then perhaps you should’ve been watching something else.
Nothing like a little known reporter getting her fifteen minutes…ESPN.com columnist Jemele Hill was suspended yesterday after writing: “Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It’s like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan.” Sure, she apologized…after the backlash. “Jemele has been relieved of her writing and on-air responsibilities for a period of time to reflect on the impact of her words,” ESPN spokesman Paul Melvin said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
WBCN radio hosts Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb got the ‘fire-her-ball’ rolling when they called her a hypocrite-based in part on a April 2007 piece where Hill called for radio host Don Imus to be fired for his controversial 2007 “nappy-headed hos” comment. “He is routinely offensive to people of color and women,” Hill wrote, “and if he needs to lose his job to understand that there is no place for that, so be it.” Maybe during her suspension, Jemele can shop for a tiny Celtics jersery to fit the Hitler doll?
CARLOS SANTANA & SOME SUPERBOWL CHAMPS
Last night, the party was on at Samsung’s seventh annual Four Seasons of Hope gala that generated $1.1 million for several charities that aid children and families. Host Regis Philbin, was joined by co-hosts Michael Strahan, and dancing babe Jason Taylor. Other heavy hitters who enjoyed a stellar perfomance by Carlos Santana while bidding on silent auction items such as an “Ultimate Santana Package,” included former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Wayne Gretzky, Arnold Palmer, Joe Torre, Boomer Esiason and Dan Marino.
“It is so rewarding to be able to come out and work with a first-class organization such as Samsung on a night like this,” said Santana. “We had a great crowd and were able to raise a lot of money for the charities Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope program supports. It’s not often you get such an eclectic group of athletes and celebrities together in one room, but when you do, special things happen and we were able to help a lot of children and families in need in the process.” Santana’s live performance was delivered from the heart, as his Milagro Foundation was one of the benefiting charities. To date, the event has raised more than $12M for charities.
That’s all I got for ya today kids…except for a big shout-out to Rocco-who should have been kissing that trophy instead of you-know-who.
As always, thanks for reading. firstname.lastname@example.org
MANNING THE MEN
Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning held a Fathers Day reunion at the NERF Father’s Day Football Throwdown to help city residents celebrate their fathers. During the promotional event at Chelsea Piers in NY, Archie revealed the secret to manufacturing kids that have grown up to nab the last two Super Bowl MVP awards: Daddy Peyton used to play a game with them called ‘Amazing Catches.’ He’d throw the ball just out of their reach to force them into a diving grab…”This has been special, “said Peyton, “With Eli here in New York, and my dad and older brother Cooper in New Orleans and I’m in Indianapolis, we’re not together as a group very often. So this has been a special time, and throwing the football is something that we used to do a lot growing up as kids and it’s been a fun day today being here with all these kids and parents.” In connection with the event, toy company Hasbro made a donation to the Manning’s PeyBack Foundation, which provides disadvantaged youth with growth opportunities and a leadership program.
SAINT KEVIN KAESVIHARN
Aside from an article hidden somewhere in the Bangkok newspaper, I couldn’t dig up much more info on this…cutie Kevin Kaesviharn of the New Orleans Saints gave a traditional Thai greeting known as a “wai” before a football clinic for kids at the Chaopraya Wittayakorn School in Bangkok. Seems we’re celebrating 175 years of diplomatic relations between Thailand and the United States…who knew?
AS YOU WISH
If you’ve ever been to India then you’re extremely familiar with the term “as you wish” coming from the mouth of a wobbly-headed local. This is by no-means an insult- I’ve traveled throughout India and love the people, culture, history, poverty, crowds, food and dusty roads that lead you to the Ganges…so I had to chuckle to myself at the thought of our ballers getting their malaria pills and Hep-A-shots before hitting up the karmic center of the universe…since Basketball without Borders launched in 2001, our ballers have gone around the globe and back-from China, South America, France and South Africa…and now, these guys are in for a rude awakening when the NBA stages its first-ever event in New Delhi July 3–6.
Gotta thank the Lakers and Celtics for giving us one hell of a play-off series. It’s a struggle for me…I wanna see Garnett-Pierce-Allen flashing some hefty bling on their fingers-but Kobe & Co are putting up an incredible defense and some wicked shots to the delight of their star-studded fans. Coach Jack Nicholson was going nuts as the Lakers beat the Celtics 103-98 in Game Five.
Lakers courtside heat included: Cobi Jones, Chris Tucker, Terrell Owens, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Penny Marshall, Tom Arnold, Sylvester Stallone, Robert Downey Jr., Jeffrey Katzenberg and just about anyone else that wasn’t in San Diego watching Rocco take on Tiger Woods.
ROCCO’D MY WORLD
As Tiger and Rocco go head-to-head today in the US Open Playoff, I’m not too concerned over who is gonna win. The final round itself was enough to make me lose my voice and I’m pretty sure I could hear the crowd at Torrey Pines from my house a few miles down the coast. In any event, and as much as I don’t like Tiger off-the-greens, I was dumbstruck at the shots his was landing. I was also relishing in the fresh-attitude brought to the greens by Rocco Mediate. I think he best personifies the joy of the sport and the thrill of competition without getting caught up in the magnitude of the situation. His all encompassing joy was about infectious as any I’ve seen coming from the sports world and I would love nothing better than to see him kissing the trophy when I eventually check the final round score.
Lost in the crowd, but not in my heart were of course, Camilo Villegas (who I will never call a “pink flamingo”), Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Adam Scott. My spies hanging at the Lodge told me that Adam Scott fell off the leaderboard after enjoying a few drinks with his pals, before one of them accidentally slammed Adams hand in the car door as he was closing it…
GRASS, CLAY, BOTH GOOD, YES?
“This week was amazing for me,” Rafael Nadal said after claiming his first career grass-court title Sunday. Our sexy tapa defeated Novak Djokovic 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the Queen’s Club final to become the first and sexiest Spaniard to win on grass in 36 years. Nadal is also the first player to win at Roland Garros and Queen’s Club in the same year since Ilie Nastase in 1973. “Wimbledon is very, very important tournament, and the motivation is 100 percent,” Nadal said. “Doesn’t matter if I am tired mentally. Physically is a little bit more important, but I think physically I’m fine.” Indeed you are Rafa, indeed you are.
The Magic Johnson Foundation, along with the Lakers’ legend himself, and director Spike Lee have teamed up to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS for two PSA’s, “Stand” and “Talk”. Lee directed the spots that feature Magic and his powerhouse of a wife Cookie encouraging the public to get informed about the disease, especially the younger population. “I think a lot of times we just don’t have the information,” Magic said, “Especially young people. They think they’re invincible and nothing can happen to them but the numbers are showing that those getting HIV are real young now. We have to now do something about that. If it was 16, 17, 18, 19 years ago you should be afraid because you don’t know what might happen and people were dying at alarming rates,” he says. “Now you have almost 30 drugs that can take care of you, and you can live a healthy and long life.”
A POKER BBQ PARTY FOR CHARITY
On July 1, the TANK at the Golden Nugget will host the Sixth Annual World Series of BBQ & Phil Ivey Charity Poker Event. Ivey wants you to join he and his hot poker buddies (a-hem, Antonio Esfandiari), and other poker pro’s & celeb’s including Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Mike Matusow, Jennifer Harman, Carrot Top, a few Brunsons, Annie Duke, David Hasselhof, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, and Vince Neil to compete in some off-the-hook festivities such as Chutes & Ladders, Battleship, Operation, Hula-Hoops, and most importantly Phil Ivey’s $1000 No-Limit hold’em Charity Poker Tournement to benefit his new Budding Ivey Foundation. See my charity events page for more info and visit the Budding Ivey Foundation to learn about all the great things Ivey is doing to give back to the communities.
NADAL: FOURTH TIMES A CHARM
It took Rafael Nadal less than two hours to defeat Roger Federer (6-1, 6-3, 6-0) and win his fourth consecutive title at Roland Garros. Sunday’s victory also gave Rafa some impressive numbers to add to his resume: 28-0 for his career at the French Open; 115-2 on clay since April 2005; and 22-1 in clay-court finals. “I am humble,” Nadal said, “but the numbers are the numbers. If I am playing my best tennis ever, I’m never going to win 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 against Roger Federer, no? For sure, it’s impossible,” the second-ranked Nadal said. “He didn’t play very well. Everybody knows that.”
During the trophy ceremony, Federer, of course, didn’t smile and our classy Tapa felt compelled to apologize: “Roger, I’m sorry.” But, FINALLY, it seems that the Swiss Mister has reached into his soul and yanked outta a little bit ‘o praise for the King of Clay. “He dominated from the first point until the end,” said Federer, “It’s the strongest Rafa that I’ve ever seen. He was more dominant than the previous years. He no longer plays short balls, the way he did in the past. You can no longer attack him on his forehand, the way I could in the past. He is getting much more aggressive, and it’s becoming much more difficult…I still go out of this tournament with a positive mind-set. Not with a mind-set: ‘Oh my God, I had no chance today.’” Shhhh…you almost won me over with ‘strongest Rafa you’ve ever seen’…don’t blow it now R-Fed.
CIAO MY PRECIOUS COW-BELLS
Italy is feeling the pain in Fabio Cannavaro’s leg as much as the benched hottie is. Italy was powerless against the Netherlands who delivered a crushing 3-0 victory to my boys while I was out frolicking in the desert…all hope may not be lost though if Luca Toni can manage to pull some mojo outta his hat when they attack the weakest link in the Group of Death: Romania.
KATS IN MY YARD
Oh yeah…the US Open hot-hot-hotties have converged in my hood in attempts to tackle the greens at Torrey Pines while effectively dodging a certain redhead. Last time I checked, we had about 10,000 peeps per day for the Buick, and estimates for the Open are nearing 1000,000. This means traffic, closed roads, shuttle buses, no parking and long lines. You can certainly expect me to be there at some point in efforts to help Ian Poulter find better things to do with his time than watch videos of himself…
And I am also painfully aware that Justin Timberlake and Tony Romo were kicking it at the Pines over the weekend, but since I’ve already molested Justin Timberlake in Vegas, and Romo has been tainted by a certain blond, I preferred to be in the desert raising awareness for the Pro Team charities…
SIR CHARLES BARKLEY AND BUDDIES TEE OFF FOR CHARITY
Charles Barkley, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Strahan, Ozzie Smith, George Brett, Clyde Drexler, Jason Kidd, George Gervin, Kenny Smith, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull, Grant Fuhr, Pierre Larouche…all of ‘em in one place for the entire weekend? Indeed. The Pro Sports Team Challenge issued a call to all the above named hotties to take part in a charity golf-event to determine which sport has the best golfers. After watching ‘em tee off, take bunker shots, and hit outta the rough for three days, I’ve got a pretty good idea of who I’d want to be on my team…but mums the word on which team came out victorious- you’ll have to watch the broadcast on Fox Sports Net June 28 and 29 unless an unscrupulous member of the media decides to leek the info…
The players were competing for a total purse of $250,000 for charity. The USO was earmarked by Team Basketball in efforts to help comfort our hard working military. Team Football didn’t stop smiling all weekend as they hoped to make a hefty donation to Operation Kids. Team Hockey, led by cancer survivor Mario Lemieux, chose Hockey Fights Cancer as their beneficiary, and finally, Team Baseball was swinging away for the Baseball Assistance Team in efforts to help the families of players who have fallen on tough times.
The desert heat was brutal, but you would never know it by watching these guys. Dressed sharp, in Team shirts clearly marked with their charity-choice logo across the front, the hotties didn’t seem remotely phased by the sun as they smiled, chatted with each other, signed autographs for fans, and focused on winning big bucks for their chosen charities.
Commissioner Charles Barkley was having a blast, despite the fact that the event was held at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino- yes, at a casino. But the big guy was quick to address the issue during the VIP party: “It flat out sucks to be in a casino and not gamble” he said, “I thought I was going to break out in a rash last night. I can’t gamble for four years so its really gonna suck the next four years of my life. I guess there’s going to be a lot of money for my family to fight over when I keel over one day.” I should mention at this point that Martin Short was the ‘entertainment’ for the night…but general consensus was that Sir Charles stole the show from Short-who’s jokes fell a bit short (pun intended) and Barkley gave a deliciously wicked speech to the poolside crowd…More than one great quote crept outta his mouth, but perhaps the most memorable? “Please be careful as you drink and drive ’cause that’s a very dangerous thing. You know they got a bunch of old people up here (in Palm Springs) so you have to factor that in when you’re drinking and driving.”
Several more memorable quotes are locked in the vault-as they came during a sound check while Fox Sports was preparing to interview him. I do believe that the reporter’s face will give you an indication of what Sir Charles was up to… The VIP party was awesome, to say the least. Massive shout out to MP for taking great care of this girl and working his ass off to ensure that rouge PR people and paparazzi-type photogs were properly yanked and spanked…he did a phenomenal job and should be commended for it…so, back to the party…the first stop for me, of course, was the bar. Standing next to me was ‘Hercules’ himself, Mr. Kevin Sorbo. Admittedly, I don’t know Hercules from a hole in the ground, but I do know Sorbo has been at almost every charity event I’ve attended (and I do believe that he finally remembers my name)…but the reason I mention him is because he is kicking-butt in the charity world and couldn’t have been more sincere in his efforts. Sorbo’s charity is World Fit for Kids and he’s just earned a major nod from the Governator for his Foundations work. Sorbo didn’t hesitate to give me an interview for Look to the Stars, so a big thank you to him for taking the time to speak with me and for all his hard work at helping thousands of kids in Los Angeles. (The interview will be posted this week and I will most definitely let ya know when it is)…
Also at the VIP Party was Dennis Haysbert, aka Snake Doc from one of my all time favorite shows, the ‘Unit.’ As usual, I had to give him a massive hug. “I adore you” seeped outta my mouth before I could duct tape it shut. “Bless you,” he said after taking the time to indulge in my photo request. Seriously, my list of ‘must-squeeze celebrities’ has dwindled to almost nothing. Thank you Dennis Haysbert from your number one Betty Blue in So-Cal.
For all ya hockey fans out there, try this on for size…the after party…Team Hockey is there…keep in mind that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to knowing most of the athletes I meet. I know names, what sport they play and their charities…I’d like to blame the Vodka for my blurred thinking, but I cant because I say stupid things even when I’m sans Vodka…no ones perfect right? Anyway, either I forgot or didn’t know that Mario Lemieux played with the Penguins for 11 years before he bought the team in 1999. So what did I do? I asked him which team he wanted to win the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Penguins or the Red Wings…yeah, I did. Thankfully, everyone laughed as hard as I did. Pretty sure Mario won’t forget me anytime soon…I did ask Lemieux how he felt about Tiger Woods’ ‘not caring about hockey’ comments, and he gracefully replied: “I think Tiger was just caught off guard and I didn’t take any offense to it.” All in all, he couldn’t have nicer- the same goes for the entire Team Hockey-especially Grant Fuhr who is not only adorable but signed just about every autograph the fans hit him up for. Fuhr also saved me from heat stroke…a shortage of golf carts led to long walks around the greens, but Fuhr and his buddy politely picked up this red headed hitchhiker and whisked her into the shade.
Gotta give some love to homeboy LaDainian Tomlinson as well. I think he’s finally warming up to me and I couldn’t have been more proud of the Charger babe who graciously stopped for all the young LT fans sporting his jersey and chasing him with Sharpies. Ain’t nothing gives me the warm-fuzzies like watching athletes make some kids day. Well done LT.
More love going to the super-smooth and always cool Clyde Drexler, who I’m awarding with the ‘Best Smelling Athlete” prize. His fresh cologne was lingering in the air each time I spoke with him and I couldn’t resist giving him a Delinda-squeeze. Second place for best smelling? LaDainian, who exited the elevator prior to me getting in…don’t know what cologne he had on, but I’ve never inhaled as deeply as I did in that empty elevator in hopes that D2 could smell it all the way in No-Cal…Im also gonna give out a ‘Never Stopped Smiling’ award to John Elway. Seriously, for three days he had a grin plastered across his face- if his ball landed in the sand, he was smiling…if ten kids rushed him for an autograph, he was smiling…if other players tried to shake his concentration, he was smiling…wish I could have snapped a photo of he and his wife in the pool, floating around with a beer in one hand, smiling. But hey- I got ethics and wouldn’t have dared gone pool-side paparazzi on Elway, Jason Kidd, Kenny Smith or any others who were chillen by the pool trying to cool off after a long day on the greens.
Aside from this being a massive endorsement for the charities, four lucky people won a sweepstakes, which awarded them an all-expense paid trip to the event, including a spot in the Pro-Am. Two of the winners, Matt Lesage and Brandon Akey, sat down and spoke to us about their experience. Both these guys won by playing on-line poker. Lesage was inspired Team Hockey, as he is a big hockey fan. “I played with Pierre Larouche in the Pro-Am,” he told me, “Mario Lemieux, Pierre, Grant, all those guys were so nice. Pierre is a great guy and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him’” he said, “At first though, I was a bit skeptical on how the athletes were going to act towards someone like me, not being a big golfer, but they were all class acts and they couldn’t have been nicer. Really top notch guys, all of ‘em.” While Lesage was hyped to play golf, he was also keen on the fact that this was for charity. “I heard Team Hockey talking about Hockey Fights Cancer, and a lot of people in my family had cancer so it made me really happy to be part of it. I just had a blast, couldn’t have had a better time. All these guys inspire me.” The other winner, 20 year-old Brandon Akey, came all the way from Ohio to play with the big boys. His story made me proud to be part of this event. “I’m only 20 years old and this is only the second time I’ve been out of Ohio, the last time I took a trip was to Florida when I was a kid and suddenly I’m here playing golf with these guys.” Brandon played in the Pro-Am with basketball legend, George Gervin. “He was such a good guy. Whenever we hit bad shots he was really cool and supportive, he said ‘that’s all right, we’re a team, its like basketball.’”
Another participant, who perhaps best captures the spirit of the event by making her own tax-rebate-check donation to the USO, will be interviewed for the article on Look to the Stars. It’s an amazing story of generosity and kindness and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Four more shout outs here…first, Jay Flemma from the Golfspace for falling in the water, walking the entire course for four days in the heat, and keeping most of us engaged with his linguistic skills…Tony Korologos, perhaps one of the best (golf) bloggers alive, spent most of his time blogging live on his Hooked on Golf Blog…and provided us with this fantastic video…check out their stuff for detailed coverage of the action on the greens. And also Debbie Dahmer of Big Break III was awesome and spends more time than I do chasing hot golfers and covering their charity events.
It’s not too late to donate to the charities involved, visit the Team Challenge website, sign up as a ProCoach and $1.00 goes to the charity of your choice. If I can get even one of you to donate, my weekend was well worth it.
All photos from the event are linked up. Please go to the ‘Event Photos’ link at the top of the page.
EURO 2008 CELEBRATION
Too bad we don’t embrace soccer like the good peeps in Europe do- actually embrace isn’t the correct word- ‘celebrate’ is more like it. The party is really heating up ahead of the Euro championships (June 7-29) in Austria and Switzerland…just unveiled at the Zurich train station-giant blow-up dolls statues of hotties from the different national football teams: Michael Ballack and Philipp Lahm from Germany, Karim Benzema and Patrick Vieira from France, Angelos Charisteas from Greece, Petr Cech from the Czech Republic, Cristain Chivu from Romania, David Villa from Spain, Tanquillo Barnetta from Switzerland, Andreas Ivanschitz from Austria and Robin van Persie from the Netherlands.
And only in Europe would you see ‘provisional hooligan prisons’. The prison is set up at the Palexpo exhibition hall and was built to keep arrested hooligans in custody during the Euro 2008 football tournament…in efforts to calm down imprisoned hooligans, authorities are providing reading material for those who aren’t too drunk to read straight. Books available for hooligans to start a religious riot over? The Bible, a Jewish Siddour, several copies of the New Testament and the Quran. Personally, I think a few copies Playboy would have been far less of a risk.
‘KICKING IT’ NARRATED BY COLIN FARRELL
Kicking It is a new documentary, directed by Susan Koch, that follows seven players in the Homeless World Cup, an annual street soccer competition involving teams from 50 countries. As narrator and Executive Producer Colin Farrell observes, “Through the simple and beautiful game of football the complex struggle to find meaning and purpose in life is being won by over 20 thousand homeless people all over the world.” (Kickingitthefilm.com). ‘Kicking It’ opens June 13 New York, June 27 Los Angeles and Washington DC….Please take 3:11 out of your life to watch this video-if it doesn’t give the chills, or cause you to shed a tear, then you are most definitely on the wrong blog.
THANK YOU GAEL MONFILS
French player Gael Monfils was victorious over Spanish babe David Ferrer at the French Open. Monfils won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1…and yes, I know I haven’t given Nadal a birthday shout-out (Happy B-day Rafa) but I ain’t never seen our Spanish tapa flex as well as Monfils…
HAMILTON READY FOR CANADA
Sunday the Canadian Grand Prix will be run…look for Lewis Hamilton as he attempts to win the event for the second year in a row.
GET INVOLVED WITH THE PRO TEAM
This girl is off to Palm Springs for the Pro Sports Team Challenge Golf Tournament where sports greats Mario Lemieux, Charles Barkley, Drew Brees and Ozzie Smith will be leading pro sports teams in the first ever pro sports team challenge golf competition in palm spring for top charities…online and mobile fan strategy and voting called ProCoach will impact scoring like American Idol – a first in sports! WHO: Top sports stars and legends of Pro Football, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey including John Elway, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Strahan will play as Team Football; Kenny Smith, Jason Kidd, Clyde Drexler and George Gervin are Team Basketball; George Brett, Vince Coleman, Bret Saberhagen and Smith make up Team Baseball and Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull, Grant Fuhr and Pierre Larouche are Team Hockey. Charles Barkley is also on board as the Team Challenge Commissioner. WHAT: Pro Sports Team Challenge Golf Tournament (1/2 of the action on course and 1/2 of the action online and via mobiles) WHEN: Pro Am – June 6, 2008 beginning at 8:30 am PT Pro Sports Team Challenge Tournament – June 7 and 8, 2008, beginning at 8:30 am PT. WHERE: Eagle Falls Golf Club at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino (near Palm Springs, CA.) 84-245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio California WHY: Never before have the super stars of all 4 major sports teamed up by sport to see which team has the best golfers (bragging rights) and to raise a lot of money for 4 great charities. Basketball legend Charles Barkley also brings his analysis and fun to the competition as the Team Challenge Commissioner. The online and mobile fan participation of this tournament is terrific with American Idol-like strategy and voting, which will impact scoring for the first time in sports!
STEVE NASH: WALK OF FAME
Steve Nash has become the 20th inductee from the world of sports to receive a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame (others include Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jacques Villeneuve). Nashty’s induction will be held on Sept. 6, and televised on a date to be announced later. The sexy Sun is currently frolicking around the Caribbean and not available for comment…Among the other inductees to be added to Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto: Bryan Adams, k.d. lang, Michael J. Fox, Frances Bay, James Cameron, supermodel Daria Werbowy and the Kids in the Hall comedy troupe…And if you are one of those people that collect rubber wristbands for a cause, they got some cool NBA ones available with the proceeds going to prostate cancer research. The special edition NBA player wristbands feature 18 players with team colors, names, signatures and uniform numbers. Steve Nash’s are sold out, but you can still support the cause and get an Iverson, Wade, Kidd, Billups or Hamilton one, among others. (Prostate Cancer Foundation)
TIGER WOODS SINKS TO ANOTHER LEVEL
So let me get this straight…Tiger Woods kept mum when you-know-who created havoc with her “take him into an alley and lynch him” comments, but during a news conference Monday, he felt it was okay to –excuse me- piss all over the NHL? During the news conference, Woods was asked whether he was rooting for the Red Wings or the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night: “I don’t really care,” he said “It’s all about the Dodgers. I don’t think anyone really watches hockey anymore.”
Funny thing is-I live in sunny So-Cal and know more NHL fans than Dodger fans. In fact, I can honestly say in the 20 years I’ve been here, I have never heard anyone say “Lets go to a Dodger game.” So rest assured Tiger, there’ll be pa-lenty of seats for ya at Dodger Stadium next time you’re in town…such a pity that a man with great talent doesn’t think before he speaks, and when he does-he has nothing productive to say.
Celtics beast Rajon Rondo is a great example of on-court quickness, agility and playmaking skills and has even inspired the phrase, “You Got Rondo’d!” Now, former Celtics and Patriots stars have teamed up to support the Reebok athlete and demonstrate how to ‘Rondo’ people in everyday life. Check out the videos featuring former Celtic greats, Jo Jo White and Dee Brown and New England Patriot, Vincent Wilfork on You Tube and on Reebok.com.
BO-SOX FAN GONE KRAZY
Ain’t nothing better than an unruly fan interrupting a game and making security look like a bunch of fools. Eighth-inning, Boston V Tampa at Fenway. Priceless.
PROPS TO STEVE FRANCIS
Houston Rocket Steve Francis and his daughter Shailyn gave some support to the WNBA at the Reliant Arena on June 3. The Houston Comets took on the San Antonio Silver Stars…and while I haven’t a clue about anything WNBA, I will certainly pay closer attention to hot ballers with their adorable kids watching the ladies hoop it up….
THE BEAUTIFUL GAME INJURY
Italian defender Alessandro Gamberini, midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Daniele De Rossi made my mouth water as they arrived for a training session in Maria Enzersdorf, near Vienna, on June 03 ahead of the EURO 2008 Championship…but one precious morsel who wont be kicking it during the game is Italy team captain Fabio Cannavaro.
Cannavaro has been ruled outta the game with an ankle injury. “I have a lot of confidence in this team. We’ve got some very experienced players and I’m sure we will do well”. Cannavaro has been replaced by 26-year-old defensive beast Alessandro Gamberini.
I AM JOSE MOURINHO
Mr. Sultry himself, Jose Mourinho, has been named the new coach of Inter Milan. Jose was officially presented at the Milanese team’s training center near Como Lake today. “I am Jose Mourinho, nothing else. It’s Inter that are special,” said the sexy coach in Italian. “I think I’m a good coach, but I don’t want to be special,” he said. “I’m still me, I don’t change. I’ve always thought that it would please me greatly to coach a big club in Italy. I like the players (that we have). They’re a beautiful team. I don’t need a dramatic change in the team. I think we need two or three players to improve and be more competitive.” And who might those two or three players be? Lampard, Essien, Carvalho, Drogba, Deco and Eto’o? “I think it’s normal that, as a consequence of the relationship I have with the Chelsea players, that almost all of them want to work with me in the future and it’s the same for me,” he said. Bring it on Jose!
MAX MOSLEY GIVEN A PASS
Disgusting…F.I.A President Max Mosley has been allowed to stay as the head of motorsport’s governing body FIA, as two thirds of its delegates backed him in the wake of allegations (and video proof) that he had participated in a “Nazi-style” encounter with prostitutes. More than one team has expressed disgust and outrage at the verdict, and some may even drop their affiliation with F1. Too bad Mosley isnt man enough to re-consider his position in the view of such widespread outrage and the number of public appearances that have had to be cancelled since the story broke. At this point, its gone beyond a moral issue and is simply common sense to yank Mosley and his Nazi-connotations out before he soils the sport even further.
GREG ODEN IS A ROSE
Trail Blazer Greg Oden is giving some love to the kids tomorrow (June 4) where he’ll be participating in the Jr. Rose Festival Parade with mentors and youth who represent mentoring programs around the community. Start time is 1 p.m. in the Hollywood District…(rosefestival)
Thirteen-year-old Sameer Mishra just won the national spelling-bee, but Jimmy Kimmel decided to put him through a tougher challenge… spelling the names of NBA stars. Sameer went head-to-head yesterday with Rockets’ Dikembe Mutombo for the segment airing Thursday on Kimmel…”Don’t ask me how to spell his first name,” Sameer said, “I don’t know.” Sameer said he got a list of possible names they might ask, but he’s been too busy doing media interviews to study it…my best guesses at the names on the list: Andre Iguodala, Andrei Kirilenko, Jamaal Magloire, Bostin Nachbar, Didier IIunga-Mbenga, Kelenna Azubike, Yakhouba Diawara and Zydrunas IIguaskas…the NBA finals begin Thursday.
SOCCER GONE KRAZY
Our Italian soccer babes have landed at Vienna’s International airport ahead of their Euro 2008 championship later this month, but in Monrovia, things aren’t quite as pleasant. At least eight people suffocated at an overcrowded stadium during a soccer match between Liberia and Gambia on Sunday. The 33,000-seat stadium was packed beyond capacity- as the rowdy crowd pushed up against a metal bar-it snapped and sent dozens of fans onto the floor below, crushing those they landed on. “Spectators tried all sorts of means to save (them), but could not help,” said Liberian Red Cross rescue worker Emmanuel Johnson. UN peacekeepers had closed the gates of the stadium prior to the match but were unable to stop the thousands of people who had entered using fraudulent tickets. Officials could not tell the difference between real/ fake tickets and had allowed way too many people to enter before they realized they crammed the place to a dangerous capacity.
And what the hell happened here? Any of my bilingual readers with more info-please hit me up…Brazil’s Botafogo soccer player Andre Luiz, center, was arrested by police after making a “prohibited gesture” to the public during a game with Nautico at Aflitos stadium in Recife, Brazil, Sunday, June 1, 2008. My best guess is that he flipped off the crowd even though I don’t think that warrants an arrest.
JORDAN FARMAR INVITES YOU TO THE FINALS
Mad, mad props to Lakers beast Jordan Farmar. Whether you’re a Lakers fan or not, this kid is impressive both on and off the court. Only in his second year, Farmar is already out there giving back to the community, which is a lot more than I can say for some of these young players.
Jordan Farmar’s Foundation at The Giving Back Fund is raffling off tickets for fans to win the chance of attending Game 4 of the Finals in LA as a guest of Farmar…proceeds from the sale of the tickets will benefit the Jordan Farmar Foundation and his efforts to support the children of Southern California. The Foundation’s initial focus is on building playgrounds in So-Cal and providing once-in-a-lifetime experiences for children. Proceeds from this raffle will also benefit Mattel Children’s Hospital, the Special Olympics, Metropolitan YMCA, and other charities. Drawing date is June 10, 2008, so hurry up and buy your tickets-which are only available on-line. Please visit the Giving Back Fund for more details.
STAY THE HELL OUTTA HELL-A
This weekend I was asked by Look to the Stars to cover the Chrysalis Butterfly Ball in LA. This kick-ass event raises money and awareness for the many homeless people in LA. Among the heavy hitters who were there: Demi Moore and her cougar loving Ashton, Sex and the City boy toy Jason Lewis, most of the cast from Grey’s Anatomy, Chris Kattan-who hosted the event- and co-chair Rebecca Gayheart-Dane and her super hot hubby Eric Dane. I was there because I was dying to ask Jason Lewis about his recent outburst directed at the MP of New Zealand and his support of the Kid’s Can Charitable Trust. I wasn’t there to take photos of celebrities to sell on-line. I wasn’t there to ask about their TV shows, movies or promote anything other than their charitable efforts. But sadly, that wasn’t gonna happen.
The media frenzy during the ‘red-carpet’ arrivals was the saddest commentary on society that I have ever witnessed. Talk about changing lives…I was wedged among such “professional media outlets” as Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, E News, EXTRA, Getty Images etc..the first couple to arrive was Rebecca Gayheart-Dane and her McSteamy husband Eric Dane. The second they arrived, most of the media members rushed the end of the carpet in efforts to get a photo of her. Mind you, the way these events are set up-the stars arrive and stop in front of each media-outlet, smile, and give you a few quotes before moving onto the next media member.
So, much to my surprise, I couldn’t understand this “star-induced-frenzy’ from the alleged professionals in attendance. It was so bad that Gayhearts husband Eric told the media “to calm down, we’re going to be here all night, you’ll all get your photos, you’ll all get your interviews, just please calm down.” As soon as Rebecca inched forward another step-the frenzy increased despite her husbands plea to remain calm. My jaw seriously dropped and I was embarrassed to be lumped into the caliber of ‘reporters’.
But I did see something phenomenal as this was going down. Rebecca Gayheart’s behavior. She remained classy, poised, cool, calm, collected…smiling the entire time, seemingly ignoring the chaos and not giving rise to the aggression swirling around her. It was remarkable and I commend her for it. After about 20 minutes of abuse on the staging area, I decided I wasn’t gonna be shoved around anymore and firmly planted my feet next to Entertainment Tonight, as this was where I was assigned to be. Jason Lewis was right in front of me and I was waiting-like a professional- for my turn at him. At this point, some bozo comes up behind me and tells me to move. I said no. This guy had been monopolizing the staging area most of the night and like I said, I was tired of getting pushed around by these Los Angeles vultures that were foaming at the mouth. He told me again to move, “You’re not media” he said. I turned around, showed him my credentials and told him to back off.
The tension was rising-as Charlie Sheen had just arrived-obviously, the bozo behind me saw blood and couldn’t wait five minutes for Sheen to walk in front of us- so instead, he grabs me by the arm and throws me onto the red-carpet as ET was interviewing on one side and Sheen looking at me from the other. He and his friend continued to yell at me to get the hell outta there while blocking me from getting back onto the staging area. I had to literally push my way through these assholes to get off the carpet, from where I had very possibly interrupted an interview as the boom was directly above my head…included among the stars supporting the cause and creating a media frenzy during arrivals: Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Kate Walsh, Katherine Heigl, Eva Mendes, Mila Kunis, Amaury Nolasco, Brett Ratner, T.R. Knight and Justin Chambers, Jason Bateman, and the nights emcee, Chris Kattan.
Moral of the story- you don’t have to act like a star-struck groupie with a lack of professional courtesy to get some great photos. All mine are available on-line for you to check out. Hopefully, this incident doesn’t mar the importance of this yearly event, which really does some great work at getting homeless people off the streets and into the workforce.