Monthly Archives: July 2008

Athletes, Africa, Fans and Favorites

NFL GOOD GUYS

On Tuesday, 4-year old Jayonna Black waited patiently to have her football signed by Washington Redskins players…she, along with other patients at the Children’s Hospital, were invited by tight-end Chris Cooley to the Redskins training camp in Ashburn, Va. Don’t it just make your heart melt?

RON-RON IS GOOD

Everyone is talking about Ron Artest joining the Rockets as the team hoops it up in China. Yao Ming doesn’t seem phased but I’m sure he’s stoked to have another balling humanitarian on his team. In case any of you out there still haven’t heard, Ron Artest is NOT the bad-boy you all think he is. Sure, he’s a bit scattered on the court, but off the court, he’s one of the best guys out there. Period. The boys at the Starting Five just posted an incredible interview with Former NBA player Kermit Washington. In the interview, he details his first trip to Africa in 1994 to help after the genocide in Rwanda. After his journey, he founded Project Contact Africa and explains how Ron Artest helped ‘jump start’ the project. “Ron Artest was probably one of the most wonderful people we have brought over.” He says, “All of them are wonderful, but Ron just went out of his way. Not only did he pay for a lab in our clinic, he paid for a doctor to go over this summer. He paid for two weeks, paid for food, paid for a place to stay. Ron Artest–wonderful guy.” Please take a few minutes to read the full interview…if it doesn’t touch you in some way then I don’t think you have a soul.

BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER WARMS ME UP
Bastian Schweinsteiger
Players from German FC Bayern Munich met with Japanese school children prior to a kicking the ball around with them. The tournament, hosted by Adidas, was held at Saitama stadium on July 30…and midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger earns a mighty-mighty-fine-man shout-out for his interaction with the kids…

MAN-U vs PORTSMOUTH FANS

Fans got a bit unruly at a ‘friendly’ soccer match in Nigeria last weekend when Manchester United took on Portsmouth FC…inside the stadium, Man-U won the match 2-1, but outside paramilitary personal tackled a crowd of angry fans who were protesting the hike in gate fees before the start of the game. Considering that the military guy is carrying his ‘injured coworker’ out of the crowd, I would say the conflict ended in a victory for the protestors.

RAFAEL NADAL BITE ME PE-LEEZE

“I win on every surface, no? I win on grass, on hard, on indoor, and on clay, too,” Nadal said. “So if I am playing my best tennis I can win on every surface, no?” Yes, yes, and yes my precious little tapa. Our yummy Spanish treat beat Nicolas Kiefer 6-3, 6-2 Sunday while I was shaking off my Vegas hangover. Ain’t nothing better than catching up on my favorites beast after a weekend of debauchery and discovering that this was his fifth straight tournament and 29th consecutive match win. Someone pa-leeze give me a piece of bread, some dipping sauce and a few olives so I can give Nadal a new surface to play on, no?

DAVIS vs DAVIS

Wonder how many non-basketball fans this is gonna confuse during the season…

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Gilbert Arenas’ Million-Dollar Pool

SWIMMING WITH GILBERT
“They” claim that this will be one of the largest residential pools in America. After Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas inked his well-deserved $111M contract, he busted out the bulldozers and jackhammers and construction is well under way for the little-slice of heaven which is set to be completed in August.


According the Washington Post, one of their ‘spies’ visited the construction site and delivered us a sneak-peak at what I can only imagine will be par-tay central for most Washington area ballers…

 


The stone for the “mountain” I’m about to scale cost nearly half a million dollars…


He’s got three different fish tanks…one in the grotto where we’ll take our midnight swims, one in the front hall, and one in the basement-with a recessed area for us to chill in while sipping our Patron. Retail price? About another half-million.

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Chris Webber’s Third Annual Bada Bling Celebrity Weekend

C-WEBB AND GUESTS TAKE OVER PLANET HOLLYWOOD FOR ANNUAL BADA BLING
It was another sensational weekend in Las Vegas as Chris Webber hosted his third annual Celebrity Bada Bling Weekend at Planet Hollywood. The usual cast of characters joined Webber, and a few new faces, who flocked to his event with nothing but love for the former NBA star.

shawn marions straight flush
The weekend activities kicked-off with the Celebrity Poker Tournement where C-Webb thanked everyone for coming out and refused to divulge what that band-aid was doing on his neck. The tables were packed with celebrities including Finesse Mitchell, Scott Pollard-who busted out early on-Ricky Davis, and Shawn Marion (above) who landed a rare straight flush during Texas Hold ‘Em but wasn’t able to capitalize on his win and busted out soon after. Eventually the event was won a woman for the second time in three years! Way to represent ladies…next year let’s hope Debbie (aka D2) can hang at the tables a bit longer and win us the coveted prize of a first-class private resort vacation package in Cabo San Lucas for four peeps.


That night, the madness continued when Webb hosted a lil get together at Prive. Now, I love me some Webber, but I can’t give much love to host hotel Planet Hollywood. The customer service sucks, they pumped hot air into the hotel-don’t know why-and they overbooked Prive causing tons of Webb’s invited guest to be turned away from the club. Thankfully, we were able to gain admission because we walked in with Webber…but otherwise we saw more than one invited A-list baller get turned away. Not good Planet Hollywood, not good. Once inside, the place seemed to be packed beyond capacity, as Webb had to share the venue with Shannon Elizabeth and yes-even the general public. The incompetent staff didn’t damper anyone’s spirit though, even with Webb’s VIP section jammed packed like a tin of sardines. The bubbly was flowing, the ladies were dancing and the men were looking super fine as we all enjoyed a killer performance from Too Short who rocked the crowd.


Saturday night was the Soiree, hosted by Webb and MC’ed by Mark Curry and Finesse Mitchell. Love Curry but gotta give mad, mad love to Finesse for his fresh dose of humor and irresistible charm. I say its time for Curry to pass the torch to Finesse for next years event…several highlights from the Soiree included a unbelievable performance from 7-time Grammy Award winning goddess and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gladys Knight. Sister killed it up there and even came out for her encore wearing fuzzy slippers while inviting guests to dance on stage as she took that ‘Midnight Train to Georgia’ (I still get goose bumps thinking about it)….


In addition to the live music and auction (which raised mad amounts of cash for Webbs foundation) they also brought in a celebrity hypnotist. After pulling volunteers from the audience, the wanna-be-hypnotized group was led into a private room to see if they were susceptible to being ‘hypno’ed’. One of my spies in the room told me that when Matt Barnes ‘went under’ he was asked to shoot hoops-apparently he did while screaming “Golden State Warriors in the playoffs!”…The visual gave us a great laugh and although Matty wouldn’t confirm or deny that this actually happened-he did chuckle when I inquired. When the group came back into the ballroom, Barnes had already been kicked out of the bunch, so we didn’t get to see him on stage, but the people who did participate had us rolling on the floor as they were hypnotized and told to act like Spice Girls, professional ballet dancers, pianists, James Brown…one woman stole the show when she was told to sing Aretha Franklins ‘Respect’ and sang so well we wanted her to remain hypnotized all night and keep singing. After the Soiree, Webber went all out and rented Koi for all of us to get crazy. Open bar, scandalous behavior and hot, sweaty fun was had by all- as we danced on tabletops and sofas until the wee hours of the morning.

While the event was off-the-hook, we can’t forget what the weekend was really about. Chris Webber and his big heart. Everyone, and I mean everyone I spoke to had nothing but love for Webb. And trust me, they weren’t blowing smoke up the media ass-they were sincere and it was incredibly heart-warming to speak to all of Webbers supporters.

Scot Pollard smiling at Bling
One of the first to arrive on the red carpet was Boston Celtic’s babe Scot Pollard. Pollard was at the first Bada Bling and missed last years due to the birth of his baby. I asked him what brings him out to Webbers event every year.
“I’m being totally serious here, people know me for joking” he said, “But seriously, Chris is quite a giver, he’s a gentlemen, he’s a wonderful humanitarian, he’s a wonderful person to be around, he asked me to come out here three years in a row and it’s an honor to be involved with this event.”
And I had to ask the big guy about his own foundation.
“My own foundation is the Pollard Family Foundation” he said, “Have you ever heard of it?”
I replied yes because dah-that’s what I do, but I really hadn’t heard of it. “Who or what causes are the beneficiaries?” I asked.
“My family” he said with that smooth-half-smile, “The Pollard family. They ask me for money and I give it to them.”


Next up on my radar was the adorable Finesse Mitchell. Finesse has also been at Webbers event every year, along with his fiancée Jessica. We bonded the first year and obviously, he had good reason to come back again. I asked the standard ‘What brings you out here every year’ question.
“Well, I lost my shades one year and I hoped this really kind lady would return them to me and she did, so I wanted to fly back out here to personally thank her.” (You are very welcome Finesse)
The ex-SNL star is a big giver in the charity world so I had to ask about which other events he supports.
“It depends on what city I’m in,” he said with that adorable smile, “Some favorites-depends on what city, you know if I’m in New York and Donald Trump has something I’ll go, and anything Lorne Michaels askes me to be at, West Coast, let’s see, anything to do with a casino-I’ll be there. Chris and I have been good friends for four years now and he’s one of my favorites.”


Someone who recently showed up on my charity radar is actor/comedian Terry Crews and his wife Rebecca. I’ve seen them at more than one event and had to get the scoop.
“First of all I’m from Michigan so Chris and I go back away” he told me, “I met him at a BET event and he said I should come check it out-I’m more into supporting people that I know are good, that stand for something and I’m gonna lend my name out and help Chris in anyway I can, Chris is one of the best. He’s just the greatest guy. Whatever I can do.”
In terms of his own charitable efforts, and that of his wife, Crews told me: “We give big time in our church, Faith Community Church in West Covina (?), we’re really supportive of what they’re doing” he said, “I feel right now in my career, where I’m at, it’s the best thing to do.”
When I asked if he felt celebrities have a responsibility to give back he blew me away with his honesty. “We’ve been blessed, and people do look up to us (celebrities) it’s actually more blessed to give than receive, you just feel better giving, and when you have a lot its always great to make someone feel better, give them what they need.”
And then I understood why Terry has been married to Rebecca for 14 years. She pulled me aside to add to her husbands quote.
“I think everybody is called to give,” she told me as I got goose bumps, “It doesn’t matter what income level you are at, when you can help someone-its beautiful.”
And most of us in attendance gave her the “Best Dressed ‘Award’ for the night, as well as the classiest lady in the room.


Someone else not be ignored for their humanitarian efforts is Dallas Maverick Juwan Howard.
“Webs like a brother to me,” he said softly as I resisted the urge to lay one on him, “He’s got a popular event like this where he’s trying to reach out and help less fortunate families, ask me to come here no problem, I actually asked to be here, I was here the first year but missed last year because I was in Africa to support Dikembe Mutombo’s Foundation.”
Did someone say Dikembe?
“I tell you,” he said, “It was breathtaking, a great experience, an eye opening one, and not only that- I would say it humbled me. I really, really encourage everyone to take time out and schedule a trip if the finances are there, take a trip to Africa and see it because its very humbling.”
Howard started his own foundation about 14 years ago.
“I used to have events all the time,” he said, “but it’s a lot of work so now I passed the torch to Webb, he’s does it right.”
And what makes Juwan Howard’s heart go pitter-patter?
“Education” he said, “That’s really important to me, its really close to my heart, so I’m heavily involved with the educational component, inspiring kids to learn more, read more, to achieve their goals because as we all know education lasts a lifetime.” Indeed

shavlik randolph and delinda lombardo
Philadelphia 76ers blonde blushing beast, Shavlik Randolph explains why he keeps coming back to Bada Bling every year.
“Chris Webber, plain and simple. Just trying to support his cause and what he’s trying to do, trying to be here for him,” he said.
And again, gotta ask about his own foundation?
“I don’t have a foundation but I have a lot of charity stuff I do back home in North Carolina” he said with dimples, “ Obviously not on the same scale as Chris Webber, but I’m trying to do my part and I really admire what Chris is doing, he gives us young guys something to strive for.”
And Shavlik gives us young girls something to strive for, no?
“I have a Shavlik Randolph camp” he explained, “All the money goes to various charities of my choice, it’s a way for me to give back to the community and to see the way that Webber is doing it- he’s just such an amazing person I could not say enough good things. He’s for real.”

ruthie bolton at Bada Bling
Finally, WNBA legend Ruthie Bolton had all eyes on her as she strutted through the event looking like a ballin-babe. I had to talk to her about the recent infamous bench-clearing brawl between the Detroit Shock and LA Sparks.
“This is actually the first time I’ve actually took a stance about it,” she said, “I think it’s unfortunate it happened, will it make or break the league, no, I think that sometimes players, you know, a coach can catch you off guard or something.”
And what about the suspension?
“The suspension,” she paused, “What bothers me the most is that the player from Detroit got hurt and is out for the rest of the season, that’s the thing that bothers me. I hope this could be a learning experience for a lot of players. I think the WNBA has great players and some of the- obviously- best players in the league were involved in that but I think it’s just something that happened,” said Bolton. “I think a lot of time in sports there’s a little bit of heated stuff early on in the game, maybe that’s what was going on here, coaches need to recognize that early in the game, sometimes they have to cut it off early.”
In terms if being role models?
“You know what, they’re good players, we wanna really represent women in a positive way for the kids, to be good role models.” She said, “I know some guys they loved it, they said ‘oh it was great women fighting’, but you know what, we connect with the community, imagine if you see if I was involved in it and I go to a school to talk about sportsmanship, of course it ain’t gonna have the same impact.”
And about Rick Mahorn? Would the “Lisa Leslie push” been such a big deal if he were a woman?
“No” she said quickly, “It wouldn’t, because he’s male. And looking at it, you know, I don’t know if he actually push-pushed, but I think because he is male, I think that’s why they made a big deal out of it. But I’m glad she’s (Leslie) okay and I actually texted Leslie afterwards and said ‘hey you know I saw what happened’ and I think hopefully this can move forward and maybe some people will start watching the WNBA games, any publicity is good. But we want kids to look up to us, I talk about being role models, I talk about the WNBA and about women being role models, so it’s about learning from your mistakes and moving on.”

chris webber and crocs
Thank you Chris Webber for being a fantastic role model for all of us. Thank you for opening your heart, helping others, and doing it all while throwing one hell of a fundraiser. Your humanitarian efforts and love for the kids makes you one of the best guys out there regardless of what happens at 1:30 AM. See ya next year my friend…

Also in attendance were Rip Hamilton, Baron Davis, Moses Malone, Ricky Davis, Brian Shaw, and Joakim Noah, among many, many others.

All photos are posted on the ‘Event Photos’ page..and gotta direct you to another Bada Bling write up on TSF, Mizzo killed it as usual.


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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Chris Webber and Shawn Marion at Bada Bling 2008

Chris Webber hosted his third annual Bada Bling Celebrity Weekend to raise funds for his kick-ass Foundation. The weekend included a celebrity poker event, a little bash at Prive, a Soiree, live auction and a private party at Koi at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. Tons of celebrity athletes and celebrities including Rip Hamilton, Juwan Howard, Baron Davis, Scot Pollard, Terry Crews, Finesse Mitchell and many, many others came out in full force to support one of the most amazing ‘givers’ in the world of athlete philanthropy.

I’ll have my full review up tomorrow, with additional footage, but for now, enjoy this priceless exchange between Chris Webber and Shaun Marion, as Marion attempts to get Webber to reveal what’s hidden under the band-aid his had on his neck all weekend. All I can say is WOW!

WNBA Brawl: Shock and Awe

IS RICK MAHORN THE DEVIL?

In case any of you missed the last five-seconds of the L.A. Sparks v Detroit Shock WNBA game last night…there was a bench clearing brawl which resulted in Candace Parker, Lisa Leslie, Delisha Milton-Jones and Detroit assistant coach Rick Mahorn getting ejected. “To be honest, I don’t recall exactly what happened,” said Parker, who led Los Angeles with 21 points. “I’ll have to watch the tape.” The brawl started seconds after LA’s Parker was fouled by Detroit’s Cherly Ford…Parker then got tangled up with (Detroit) player Plenette Peirson, fell to the ground and as she was getting up, Pierson intentionally ran into her, setting off the melee…Parker threw a punch at Pierson before being tackled by (Detroit) player Deanna’s Nolan. Players and coaches from both teams joined in, and that’s when Rick Mahorn pushed Lisa Leslie to the ground…Mahorn also grabbed the arm of Sparks assistant coach Laura Beeman…


“I was trying to protect the whole game, the integrity of the game,” said Rick Mahorn; “The WNBA is very special to me because I have four daughters. I don’t even raise my hand to them, and I would never push a woman. This game, I love this game too much.”


Mahorn isn’t sitting pretty in my book. Number one, pushing Leslie seemed a bit excessive to me, even IF he was trying to be a ‘peace-maker.’ Number two- ah, obviously you do ‘push women’ because you did. Heat of the moment? Nah…Really, Mahorn, you kinda seem like the type of guy that would lecture someone about the dangers of artificial sweeteners while washing down a baguette the size of Italy with a six pack of Diet Coke. Hypocrite much.


I’m not really sure who’s to blame here. Was Mahorn really trying to keep the peace, or did he lose it and make a bad decision? Sure there’s scuffles between female athletes all the time-whether its Danica acting a fool and getting a towel in the face, or fierce tension between balling chicks. It happens. Again, the thing Im having difficulty swallowing, is Mahorns behavior. Why don’t they have a female coach? Would we be beating up on Mahorn for ‘pushing a woman’ if he were a She? I kinda doubt it. So does that make it okay to have this sort of physical-confrontation between staff and players?

I, for one would have flipped a gasket if a coach put his hands on me like that..there would have been much more than ten-minutes of ESPN coverage…Mad love to Lisa Leslie, after the game she was interviewed…she was classy, calm, collected and incredibly eloquent despite the circumstances. “It’s really sad it happened,” Leslie said, “As a role model, it’s just really difficult-this is not the way we wanna represent ourselves, you know? I’m a mom, I don’t wanna represent myself like this in front of my daughter and then to have a coach push me down, I don’t even know why he was pushing me, I wasn’t swinging or hitting anybody. I was just gonna go help my teammate up.”
The Sparks won 84-81.

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Carmelo Anthony Cares

MELO ON EXHIBIT

My legendary Melo has been a busy little bee lately. Aside from his stint with the Men’s Olympic hoops team, the mouthwatering Melter has finally officially launched his Carmelo Anthony Foundation…yes, Carmelo Anthony does care…and no, I don’t wanna hear from you Melo-bashers either. It’s my blog and until he causes a riot by making it rain in a Vegas strip club, assaults a woman, punches a child or steals a half-pound of weed for his posse, he’s still a good guy on my book…


And he must be doing something right…otherwise, its hard to imagine why he would be the first NBA player to earn a spot at the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards. The (gulp) Carmelo Anthony Exhibit includes, among other things; a plaque for being named a Naismith high school All-American, a ball signed by his teammates on the 2003 Syracuse NCAA championship team, another signed by teammates at the 2006 World Championships and last year’s Olympic qualifying tournament, his ring from this past season’s NBA All-Star Game, and the 2006 Sports Illustrated cover he shared with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and his lips. “There’s a lot of history in the Baltimore community in sports,” said Melo, “and I’m glad I’m part of it.” The museum is a 22,000 square-foot shrine to Baltimore and Maryland sports…and I’m sure you know by now that Melo hails from Baltimore?


Last week, for the fourth consecutive year, Carmelo Anthony took over Cloverdale Park for his H.O.O.D. (Holding Our Own Destiny) Movement, where more than a thousand lucky local families and several A-list buddies such as T.I. and Sam Cassell joined him. “It’s always good to give back. This is my home, this is my city … I can never forget where I came from.” The sexy All-Star forward said his desire to give back to the community stemmed from the lack of positive role models he had as a child. “Growing up, I didn’t have anybody to do this for me,” he said. “It was guys on the corner I had to look up to.” But now, Melo is the one kids are looking up to, and it’s a beautiful thing…and once again, before you email me some crap about Melo being selfish or whatnot…think again- Carmelo isnt just an on-court beast, his philanthropic efforts to improve not just the communities, but the way of life for disadvantaged children landed him (8th) on the Giving Back Fund’s list of 30 celebrity philanthropists in America for their “The Giving Back 30” report. He was the only basketball player named, and was listed alongside Oprah Winfrey and Tiger Woods for making charitable donations in excess of $4 million for projects in Baltimore, Maryland and Syracuse, New York…With all this said, I have Carmelo on my radar as I hit up Chris Webbers Bada Bling this weekend in Vegas…if the gods are smiling upon Delinda, she will get her long-overdue hug from Melo for giving him so much love over the years-and heads-up LaLa, loosen the leash girl, I ain’t after your man, you got the baby- the least I can get is a quote, no?

carmelo anthony tatoo
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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

CelebAir Offering Celebrity Staffed Flights

ATHLEBRITIES AIR

Imagine if you will, enjoying a flight from London’s Gatwick to Malaga Spain. You’ve nestled into your seat, stowed your carry-on bags, and are anxiously awaiting that massive pack of peanuts they’re about to give you…the steward picks up that little-handheld radio to inform passengers that the in-flight service is about to begin…”This eez your steward speaking, no? I like to make possible some snacks for you to pleasure, no? If you like, I also make possible something to drink, yes, while enjoy your flight with us.”

You can hear the flight attendants whispering behind the curtain, bottles clanking as they line ‘em up on the cart, the smell of fresh coffee wafting your way…and then, from behind the curtain comes your flight attendant, pushing the cart with one hand and adjusting his capri’s with the other…”You like something for drink, no?” he asks before someone from the rear of the plane yells ‘Fore’ and a bag of peanuts go whizzing by your head. You turn around and noticed the bag of ‘nuts were delivered via the swing of a nine-iron attached to Camilo Villegas. “Heads up my friend,” he says to your flight attendant, Rafael Nadal….Oh, it doesn’t hurt to dream, does it? The answer is no, because thanks to CelebAir things are about to get interesting in the air, as celebrities battle it out to become CelebAir’s star employee and win money for their chosen charity.

    CelebAir is a real airline, flying to real destinations, with real passengers – but with a very special celebrity service. ITV2 and Monarch Airlines have joined forces to bring you the opportunity to take part in the reality TV event of the year – CelebAir. An exclusive group of passengers will be able to travel while celebrities work as airline staff on this unique showbiz airline. CelebAir will have its own check-in desk at London Gatwick airport, its own planes, its own tickets, and its own dedicated staff of celebrities trained to the highest standards of air travel. With CelebAir you’ll have all the safety and comfort of a trip with Monarch, plus an experienced Monarch aircrew will be on hand to make sure that everything runs smoothly. We’ll be traveling to some of Europe’s most popular destinations, so there’s no excuse not to take this chance to get a little celebrity service to kick off the holiday of a lifetime.


Granted, the ‘celebrities’ taking part in this wonderful mile-high opportunity haven’t been revealed. But as mentioned, I’d have my Spanish treat Rafael Nadal leading the flight crew. Camilo Villegas would be in charge of ”lost & found” –assuming the position as he crawls under seats to collect rouge items that have fallen out of reach. (Yes, I would drop my pen repeatedly). I’d also be remiss not to have Posh aka Victoria Beckham as the lead-flight attendant. She wouldn’t have to do anything except make sure the crew was behaving. (On a side note- anyone catch the acid-trip-like ESPY’s? Victoria’s face was priceless as she sat there enduring the embarrassing show-she was the only one in the audience that wasn’t giving a fake laugh and I love her for it.)


My flight crew would also include Snoop Dogg in efforts to get a Soul Plane atmosphere going…ideally, Bono would be onboard as well, educating the passengers on all things ‘love’ related…oh, my Drogba would come through the cabin with warm towels while I enjoyed foot-massage from the hands of Ian Poulter…pillows and blankets would be handed to me by Kanye West before I pressed the call button to summon Steve Nash to refill my drink, tuck me in, and instruct me on how to best use the seat-bottom cushion…like I said, it doesn’t hurt to dream, does it?

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Monday Mix: Camilo Villegas Charity Appearance, Ian Poulter-ized Me, Team Chelsea Versus AC Milan, C-Webbs Bada Bling

CAMILO VILLEGAS TO PLAY CHARITY EVENT
All you Camilo Villegas hungry fans, mark your calendars, because our kitten is gonna be crawling across the greens for charity…August 26, at Turning Stone Resort’s Atunyote Golf Club for the Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge.

The Aug. 26 event will feature Vijay Singh, Mike Weir, Stewart Cink, Camilo Villegas, and Notah Begay III, in a skins format exhibition game. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Notah Begay III Foundation, which supports Native American youth sports programs. Tickets are $35. I repeat-tickets are $35.00 If you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been trying to shove down your throats for the last few years-this is it. For $35 bucks, you can go to this event and get up close and personal with Camilo or Singh or Cink or Begay. The reason athletes participate in these type of events are two fold: One, they’re using their ‘fame’ to sell tickets to benefit charity. Second: They appear at these events to meet the fans- so why would you wanna fight the crowds at the US Open or any other major event, in hopes of catching a glimpse of someone and maybe-if you’re-lucky-nab an autograph or two? Seriously, I wouldn’t send you in the wrong direction. There isnt one athlete on the face of the earth that I’ve met at a charity event who wasn’t eager to meet the fans who came out to support the cause. Its pretty much a no-brainer, so hit me up after taking my advice and let me know how it goes…otherwise, you can sit in front of your computer all day and repeatedly watch this double-de-licious video of Camilo Villegas balancing on one leg atop of a ball while pumping up his biceps…

POULTERIZED
ian poulter
“I’ve known that I can perform well and play good,” he said. “I guess I am just trying to let that come out in me. There is plenty more in me and I know I can go better. It is all about winning so I won’t feel like this is my best result. I’m not going to hold a second place as high as some of my wins. You don’t strive to finish second, you strive to win, and that is what will make me practice harder and harder.”

Thank you Ian Poulter for giving this girl a sporntastic British Open and hitting your way to a magnificent second-place finish. My sexy flashkat teased us for nearly an hour with a possible victory, and eventually carded a (oh!) 69 to finish seven-over. “I don’t need to ride the storm of comments that get made and get taken out of context,” he said. “I’m just pleased I went out today and put a good show on. It wasn’t quite good enough because Padraig put in a hell of a performance and really did his stuff on the back nine.”

KAKA CHELSEA RUMORS?
As Elvis Costello’s ‘I Don’t Wanna Go To Chelsea’ runs through my brain I have to pray that it’s not becoming the theme song of the team. The rumor mill is churning out some fantastic dish on team Chelsea…Chief executive Peter Kenyon shot-down reports of a $238M bid for Kaka (the Brazilian World Player of the Year) and said negotiations with the Italian club had come to a head. “There was no offer made. I have read the same articles. They have made it clear that he is not for sale and we will make it clear we have not made an offer,” Kenyon said after arriving in southern China. “There is no reason to negotiate over something they don’t want to do and we have not made an offer.” AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliano also laughed at the rumor, “There has been no offer of 150 million euros for Kaka from anyone, even less so Chelsea,” he said. “These are urban legends that nourish themselves. Tomorrow someone will write 200 million and hopefully by September we’ll reach 300 million. I met with (Chelsea owner Roman) Abramovich, we asked about Sheva (Andrei Shevchenko) and he asked about Kaka but we talked about numbers and it ended 0-0. Real Madrid have also called about Kaka but he is staying with us.”

So, with Kaka firmly planted with AC Milan, the Chelsea babes have kicked off their pre-season Asian tour with the focus on raising money for the victims of the May 12 earthquake. Notably absent from the roster is Didier Drogba, who is nursing an injury that I wish he would have called me to help him heal. “Didier is injured. The doctor and our medical staff made a plan to have him training and playing in maybe three or four weeks,” new coach Felipe Scolari said. “But at this moment it’s impossible for Didier to come with us.” Thankfully, not everyone has bailed on Chelsea- we still got Frank Lampard doing his part as he dodges offers from AC Milan and of course, captain fantastic John Terry is doing his best to hold his squad together. “The players all want him to stay, but it’s down to Frank and the club to sort it out. We are here to focus on the football, but hopefully while he’s here the club can sort it out,” Terry said.

TOMKAT
casey stoner meets with tomkattom cruise loves stoners ducati
Not really sure why this made me chuckle today…I don’t mind Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes or Baby Suri. And I could care less about what ‘religion’ they follow, to me, they’re not hurting anyone and they seem like a regular couple (aside from the millions of dollars, paparazzi magnetism or creepy rumors about Baby Suri being the reincarnation of L. Ron Hubbard)… but I do like seeing them pop-up on the sports circuit once in a while (as long as its not R-Fed related)…the happy couple are apparently in love with Australian MotoGP rider Casey Stoner, his sexy Ducati, and his questionable jumpsuit. The Tomkats met with Stoner before the Red Bull US Grand Prix in Laguna Seca. Valentino Rossi won the race, Casey Stoner took the second place and Chris Vermeulen placed third.

CHRIS WEBBER

Chris Webber took in the Detroit Shock/ Sacramento Monarchs game over the weekend at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Michigan…and remember if you need something fun to do this upcoming weekend, get yourself to Vegas for C-Webbs Third Annual Bada Bling. More info check out my celebrity athlete charity events page or at www.cwebbsbadabling.com.


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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Lewis Hamilton: The Athlete Within the Driver Wins Back-to-Back Races

THE ATHLETE WITHIN THE DRIVER

If I were an executive at Reebok, it wouldn’t have taken THIS long to land Lewis Hamilton as a brand ambassador. Yes, my favorite Formula One sensation, British babe Lewis Hamilton, recently inked a multi-year partnership with Reebok. The partnership was unveiled last week at an amazing 3-D holographic media event in Amsterdam, home of Reebok’s European Headquarters. At the event, Reebok unveiled (gulp) “The Athlete within the Driver,” giving us a much-needed glimpse into Hamilton’s fitness regime which includes his use of Reebok’s new Smoothfit training footwear and clothing…did you know that during an average race, Hamilton’s heart rate will maintain a level equivalent to playing two soccer games back to back? Did you know his blood pressure will rise to and remain at a level equivalent to riding the scariest roller coaster in the world non-stop for an hour and 50 minutes? Did you know I feel the same effect when watching him race?


“To be a top driver, you have to have exceptional cardiovascular fitness and muscle endurance,” Hamilton said. “I work very hard to be as fit as I can be and have a precise training routine that involves running and muscle specific drills. When Reebok talked to me about how Smoothfit can help me train better, I was very interested to try the technology out. I am pleased to say its true how incredibly comfortable Smoothfit is, and it feels completely different to any training gear I have used before…I am very excited to be the newest member of the Reebok family, joining top athletes like Thierry Henry, Yao Ming, Allen Iverson, Amir Khan, Carolina Kluft and many more. The athletes from around the world who make up the Reebok family do it their way, and are not afraid to stand out from the crowd.”


The question remains though, was Hamilton wearing his new Reebok garb last week when he took on a Learjet as a publicity stunt? Acting in his role as the ‘Bombardier Learjet Brand Ambassador, Hamilton raced the Learjet during the Farnborough International Airshow. Fans watched as the Learjet 60 XR sped through the air about 200 feet over his head. Hamilton, of course, challenged the jet while speeding along in his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes as Bombardier commemorated 45 years since the first flight of a Learjet aircraft and the first time they’ve ever been beaten by a Formula One car. “I was sitting in my car and they told me to go so I booted it as quick as I could to about 175 mph. I couldn’t see where the plane was, but I heard it was very, very good.” Indeed.


Very, very good would be an understatement for Hamilton’s performance at Sunday’s German Grand prix. Hot stuff dominated Friday’s practice sessions and put McLaren on course for its first Formula One win in Germany in a decade. And wouldn’t ya know it, the Athlete Within the Driver won the race after a sensational start, several incredible passes and a narrow miss of a safety car that came out to clean up the mess left behind by Timo Glocks crash. “I was so concentrated, I just wanted to look forward. I didn’t want to spend too much time looking at how many laps but just focusing,” the 22-year-old driver said. “It was an incredible feeling.”


On the track…Hamilton and Massa were neck and neck with Massa barely holding onto his position in second…Hamilton picking up close to a second per lap…“There is virtually no way Lewis Hamilton can win this race,” claims one commentator. Hamilton taunts and teases and hounds Massa, inches from his car…“Heidfeld is the race leader…could this be this day for Nick Heidfeld”, claims another, “The most successful Formula One driver to never win a race?” Hamilton is still fighting Massa for second place…and in one of the most-incredible sports-maneuvers this girl has ever seen, Lewis Hamilton nudges Massa off the track to claim a spot in second…the commentators are congratulating Nelson Piquet for winning the race even though we just saw some kind of divine-intervention send Hamilton into second. Hamilton-who had “virtually no way” of winning the race, now creeps on Nelson Piquet, the already-proclaimed winner…8 laps to go, “One young driver (Piquet) on the verge of winning this race.” Hamilton takes advantage of a hairpin and nudges Piquet out of his way to regain the lead and win the German Grand Prix…This is Hamilton’s fourth victory of the season- and his eighth career-win. “I got off to good start, the team opted for me to stay out and thought I could have pulled out a gap,” Hamilton, 23, told the post-race news conference. “I understood and just kept pushing — over the limit — pushing and pushing. I couldn’t find the gap. But I was able to pull it off.” Big, massive love-hug to Hamilton for winning back-to-back races this year and doing so while remaining classy and calm. You da man Lewis and this girl is gonna find you one day and squeeze you so tight you’re gonna need an extra layer of Smoothfit to keep you safe.


And shame on Kimi Raikkonen, who apparently ‘walks-like-he-drives’ and ran over this little Japanese girl. The caption for the above photo reads: “A Japanese girl is comforted by her father after she was run over by Ferrari Formula One driver Kimi Raikkonen of Finland, pairs of legs left, prior to the German Formula One Grand Prix in Hockenheim, Germany, Sunday, July 20, 2008.” Shame on you ‘pair of legs’…

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Danica Patrick Argues With Milka Duno

Danica Patrick and Milka Duno fight in the pits after an on track incident at the Honda Indy 200…

The catfight between Danica Patrick and Milka Duno was priceless…Danica was in 11th place during morning practice at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, and apparently wasn’t happy about Milka’s behavior. So Danica gets out of her car and walks right up to Milka and confronts her about getting in her way several times during the practice…Are you kidding me? Can you imagine Felipe Massa confronting Lewis Hamilton after a race because he cut him off on the track? Pa-leeze Danica-you don’t own the course…Milka may have less experience, but she certainly has been around the track a few times…In the least she deserves a little respect? She holds the record for the highest finish for a female driver in the 24 Hours of Daytona, is a former model, started racing when she was 24 and just so happens to hold Masters Degrees in Organizational Development, Naval Architecture, Maritime Business and Marine Biology…Yet most people still don’t know who she is…Danica, on the other hand, has plastered herself all over the pages of Maxim Magazine during her racing career-unlike Milka who hung up her leopard lingerie before going behind the wheel…sure, Milka’s career has slowly lost traction while Danica’s has gained momentum, peeking with her win at the Indy Japan 300 earlier this year…and I must admit, if I were Milka I might be a wee-bit jealous and fed-up with Danica’s attitude and yes, I would have slapped her when she said “I can’t help it if you’re slow.” Granted I don’t know Indy cars, so I cant say who is the more talented driver, but I do have much more respect for Milka than I do for (sorry kids) Princess Danica.
Unless, of course, this was all just a clever PR stunt…

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
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Camilo Villegas Grinds into Historic Round at British Open

CAMILO VILLEGAS: “LET’S GRIND”
camilo villegas
Did you kids really think Delinda wasn’t on top of the Camilo Villegas situation? Between his precious knit cap, his stellar second round, and his taunt crawling along the greens, I’m about to lose it. Seems that finally the rest of the world is taking notice of our kitten-maybe he just needed ‘this’ much more than a sexy stance and flashy clothes to land on the ‘are-you-kidding-me’ map. A win would have been great, but we’ll take a historic second round score of 5-under 65 at Royal Birkdale if that’s what it takes to make people take notice.

camilo villegas
Between Greg Norman and Camilo Villegas both rewriting the history books, I’ve hardly notice the wind, rain or absence of Tiger Woods at The British Open. In fact, his absence has been a blessing, giving some of our other talented golf-babies the chance to shine. Sure, Villegas has dramatically dropped down the leaderboard, but there’s still pa-lenty of talent to watch. The 53-year old Norman is stealing the show much like Rocco Mediate did during the US Open. Norman shot a round of 72 and grabbed a two-stroke lead going into Sunday’s final round.

ian poulteradam scott
We also have my flash-kat Ian Poulter stirring things up as he sits T9 next to Rocco, and Adam Scott has choked himself down to T27 after losing a battle with the wind-still, lots of coverage of the Burberry babe makes it worthy of watching.

For those of you needing an extra dose of Camilo Villegas, and when I say extra dose, I mean an extra dose complete with sexy wisps of hair, a Columbian accent and how he went into the round by saying (gulp) “Let’s Grind” check out this yummy video interview on FootJoy.com.

Ian Poulter British Open

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Ronaldinho To AC Milan

RONALDINHO TRANSFERS TO AC MILAN
ronaldinho
Barcelona’s president Joan Laporta shook hands with AC Milan sports director Adriano Galliani in the offices of Barcelona FC, on July 15, 2008… And just like that, AC Milan adds Barcelona’s Brazilian star Ronaldinho to their roster of sensational players. (Ronaldinho is the third Brazilian on Milan’s roster, along with Kaka and Alexandre Pato). The 2-time FIFA World Player of the Year has been actively seeking new employment after being publicity ripped by new coach Pep Guardiola, who said: “(If) he can get back to being the player he was, perhaps we could have a rethink,” Guardiola said last month. (Sweet justice would be a Milan v Barca match, no?) Ronaldinho also helped Barca land a spot in both the 2005 and 2006 Spanish league titles and the Champions League trophy in 2006.

ronaldinho to milan
“AC Milan and FC Barcelona have reached an agreement for the transfer of Ronaldinho,” said a Milan statement released on the club’s official website. Ronaldinho transferred to AC Milan late Tuesday…Ronaldinho is expected to arrive in Milan on Wednesday for his medical and to sign a contract through June 30, 2011.


Some of you may be shaking your heads at my newfound love for Ronaldinho, but its important to remember I’m not judging our babies on looks alone anymore-there’s gotta be something exceptional, humane, sincere, or just downright good about the hotties who land on my pages.


So why do we love Ronaldinho? Because Ronaldinho is transferring to AC Milan for reasons other than money. Milan’s coughing up $33.4M and another $6.3M if they land a place in next season’s Champions League…on the other hand, Manchester City had offered a considerable amount more-$50.7M-to Ronaldinho. Name me one other player who has said ‘no’ to $10M? Aside from his passion for the game, I also adore Ronaldinho because even though he desperately needs veneers, he dedicates a ton of time giving love to his fans and his recent tour of Asia made me one step closer to adoring him.

Now we only one more player to transfer to Milan for my ‘dream team’ to be completed…please Drogba, get over your Jose-crush and VENGO QUI already!


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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

The Beautiful Game of Buying Soccer Players

BUYING DROGBA
didier_drogba
Wouldn’t it be a great world if we could go on-line and buy ourselves a soccer player? The fans in Marseille are trying to do just that via a website which hopes to raise $27.5M for Didier Drogba to come play with ‘em back in the Mediterranean. So far, they’ve raised an impressive $1.5M for the Ivorian Beast, and although its unlikely that they’ll reach their goal…I cant imagine Drogba would leave his Mourinho-less Chelsea to go anywhere but Milan (or Barcelona) who are thought to be the front-runners for the Cote d’Ivoire international treat.

SELLING RONALDINHO
ronaldinho
Meanwhile, Barca is desperately trying to hang onto their two time player of the year, Ronaldinho, who has received a $50M offer from (oh-god-no) Manchester City…but the Brazilian is also the subject of a $23M offer from AC Milan…no word on whether Ronaldinho will take the offer from Man-City, but he and his agent/brother ‘Roberto’ flew back from Brazil to Barcelona on Monday after talking about the situation. “The two sides agreed to allow two or three days to finalize the transfer of the player to one of the clubs which have shown an interest in signing him. If the operation cannot be confirmed in this time the player will rejoin squad training,” the can-you-be-more-vague-statement said. City have refused to give up on buying Ronaldinho and emailed Barcelona their offer on Sunday, according to the Daily Mail….so, will Ronaldinho chase the money and play for Man-City or will he join the hottest soccer squad on earth- Milan, who have offered to pay him $200,00 a week less than Man-City.

MARRYING MICHAEL
michael and simone ballack
Off the market-Michael Ballack was married on Monday just two days after taking part in the ‘Goal4Africa’ charity soccer game in Munich…Ballack’s bride, longtime girlfriend Simone wore an interesting Bjork-ish dress as they exchanged vows in the garden of the Bavarian Yacht Club in Berg, Germany…Goal 4 Africa has raised close to $1.4M for education and social development in Africa, anf their charity soccer game went down two days prior to Ballacks wedding. Two teams, ‘Edu’ and ‘Cation’ were led by captains Clarence Seedorf (Edu) and Ballack (Cation)…in all, 15 goals were scored, but the first one in the net came from the foot of Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Bhaichung Bhutia. In fact, Bhutia scored two goals against Ballack’s team…love, love, love to Seedorf and Ronaldo who organized the event. The ‘Goal 4 Africa’ project is inspired by Nobel Laureate Nelson Mandela’s dream of “Education for all – all for education”.

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As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo

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Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer Off Court Battle

NEW BATTLE FOR NADAL AND R-FED?

On July 6 Rafael Nadal dethroned Roger Federer as the king of Wimbledon. It’s considered one of the greatest matches of all time, and yes, we’re still talking about it. Why? Because it just takes one asinine member of the media to mention the word ‘doping’ in the same sentence as Wimbledon and we got a new scandal. And boy am I pissed. I’m willing to bet a million bucks (which I don’t have) that if Roger Federer had won his sixth title, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But because it’s the buffer, leaner, stronger, more disciplined player who won-he must have been cheating…and a dirty Spaniard? Wimbledon? Oh I can hear the conservative British panties bunching from here.


I hadn’t even entertained the thought of either Nadal or Federer ‘doping’ until I read the aforementioned article. It makes me sick to even address this issue, but its important because I suspect its gonna be the subject of debate for years to come. What really set me off was a phone call I got from a friend.
“Ya know your boys juicing, right,” he said.
“Huh, who? What?” Ian Poulter- juicing- I thought to myself?
“Nadal, Wimbledon” he corrected me, “I know people on the tour, he’s juicing,” he said again.
I could literally feel my blood slowly start to boil. (Good rumors always start off with an I-have-a-friend-admonition. Anyone remember the Richard Gere ‘gerbil’ stories from the late 80’s? Didn’t everyone have a “friend” that ‘worked in the hospital Gere was brought to?’)
Anyway…my anger, I realize now, came from a place where steroids didn’t exist. Not for one nano-second did it enter my mind that either one of the worlds top two tennis players were taking some sort of performance enhancing drugs. The glorious high I felt from Rafa’s stunning victory was deflated with one single careless accusation.


We were given a gold-plated diversion from the usual world of sports- a great rivalry between two outstanding athletes-unspoiled or tainted by such distractions as China, Darfur, foreclosures, DUI’s, rapes, murders, home-invasions, cheating, strippers, weed, smog, traffic, earthquakes, tsunamis-whatever- it was pure. It was real and it was beautiful. How dare uninformed, misguided naysayers take away the one game that made us feel something other than disgust with our athletes.


Is the basis for this rumor planted in Nadal’s Spanish blood? Racism perhaps? Ignorance maybe? Its not like Nadal suddenly appeared out of thin air-for god’s sake, when he was 15-years old (2002) he won his first ATP match. Don’t think Federer won a match before his 16th birthday? By the following year, Rafa had become the second-youngest player in the top 100. And has everyone forgotten that Nadal was only 17 when he made his Wimbledon debut?

Rafael_nadal
And are we forgetting that while Nadal was busting his ass practicing, Federer was busy texting with his new celebrity buddies like Tiger Woods? Are we ignoring the 81-consecutive clay-court match winning streak Nadal had while R-Fed was busy filming his Gillette commercial? My point isn’t to rip on Roger Federer because “they” are speculating that he “may have been” doping as well. If you know anything about the man, you know this is absurd. My point is that just because we live in a ‘steroids era’ doesn’t mean all victories are won at the hands of cheaters.

I’m not feigning ignorance to the fact that some tennis babes may have dabbled in the juice…but I highly doubt either Nadal and Federer would need to tap into anything other than their natural talents to give us a spine-tingling, mind-numbing, double-de-licious piece of history. So keep your rumors to yourselves people- because unless Nadal and Federer stand in front of me, pee in a cup and test dirty-I aint buying into this ridiculous buzz kill and baseless rumor for one second.


As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

ESPN Anniversary Films, Will Ferrell Golfing for Cancer

ESPN 30/30

ESPN is turning 30 next year and plans to celebrate by airing a special series of 30 documentary films by 30 different filmmakers on 30 different moments in sports that occurred since September 1979, when the sports network first started in Connecticut.

Spike Lee has signed up for the “30/30” series, but won’t comment on the subject matter, “I have several ideas, but I have to have more discussions with individuals first, ” Lee said. “But it’s going to be good.” Lee’s participation in the “30/30” series is not to be confused with Lee’s recently completed film ‘Game Day With Kobe,’ where he, along with a crew of over 20 cameramen stalked Kobe for a day as he prepared for the April 13 game against the San Longoria Spurs. “For me it’s about not just him, but about the preparation,” said Lee, “With these guys, you don’t just show up, put on the uniform and go out play the game. I mean they get iced before the game. I had never heard of that.”

Of greater interest to my hormones, is the fact that Steve Nash is on-board with “30/30.” Instead of shadowing around a ‘superstar’ like Kobe, Nash will tell the story of Canadian athlete Terry Fox, who attempted to run across Canada with one prosthetic leg in 1980 to raise money for cancer research. “This is an exciting opportunity to tell a story that has in many ways been forgotten in the states and perhaps needs to be retold,” said Nash. Fox died in 1981 after his cancer returned during his Marathon of Hope run across Canada. “I remember as a six-year-old what it felt like to watch him run across our country,” Nash told reporters. “And I especially remember what it felt like the day he had to stop running because he had two tumors in each of his lungs. That feeling of going back to school and being heartbroken is something that stuck with me, and all Canadians. I’d just like to tell his story, and to have the opportunity to do it on film and do it in front of a big audience is exciting to me.”

Thanks to Nash, Fox’s story will be told…and hopefully, the annual Terry Fox Run for cancer research (September) will be a continued success. The first run was held in 1991 and attracted more than 300,000 Canadians…to date, the run has raised more than $400M…so thank you Steve Nash, you chose a mighty-mighty-good-subject for your film…

CANCER FOR COLLEGE

Gotta say, September is shaping up to be a great month in terms of giving back some love-especially for cancer related causes. In addition to Terry Fox’s run, and THE painful reminder that cancer kills, there is another event going down on September 19th. The Cancer for College Golf Tournement-featuring Will Ferrell…the event was founded by Wills buddy Craig Pollard. Pollard is a double-amputee cancer survivor that can swing the hell outta a golf club and do it with a smile on his face. Pollards annual tournement raises scholarship money for cancer victims to go to college…check out their website…tickets are selling fast…so, send someone to college for the price of an admission ticket AND meet Will Ferrell for less than $200…people always ask me, “How did you meet so and so, you’re soooo lucky.” No, Im not lucky- I just know where and how to meet people while giving back to the community at the same time. I think I may have to change the name of my blog to “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”- in any event, drink up people, I just gave you the best glass of how-to-meet-someone-water you’ll ever get. (Cancer for College)

Don’t know where to go this weekend? Check out the Athlete Charity Event Calendar- it is updated daily! Check it often for your daily dose of what might be happening in your own community.

As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Carmelo Anthony Charity Work

ANTHONY STILL CARMELTS IN MY MOUTH
He may not have the best reputation to some, but to me, Melo is still all right.
Why? Because I believe he is one of the more sincere athletes when it comes to giving back love to the community. No matter how many snubs Carmelo Anthony hands out, he always answers back by making kids smile-and after all, isnt that more important than how hard his slam is?


Melo held his annual basketball camp this week in Colorado, where everyday, lucky ‘lil Melo lovers enjoyed daily games of hoops after learning the fundamentals of basketball…according to the Denver Post, Melo is waking up with chills —chills of joy. “It touches my heart, knowing I can put a smile on these kids’ faces,” the Nuggets forward said Tuesday from his annual basketball camp in Lakewood. And ya know what? I believe him. Unlike others who establish a Foundation simply for the tax write-off- Melo actually seems to be maturing before our eyes, sometimes even one-upping some hefty so-called-big-hearted-athletes-who-pretend-they-love-kids-but-don’t-show-up-to-events…continuing along his new path, Melo has also signed on with a new marketing firm, New York-based The Agency, who recognize his genuine love for community involvement.

Melo’s website proudly offers help to homeless kids, runaways and at-risk youth via the NINELINE from Covenant House…and according to that oh-so-resourcsefull Wikipedia, one of Melo’s childhood friends said, “from drugs, to killings, to anything you can name that goes on in the roughest parts of town, we’ve seen and witnessed hands on. Those are the things that teach you toughness and keep you mentally focused on your goals.” Is it any wonder that Melo donates so much time and money to help youngsters avoid seeing what he has? In Denver: Melo is a spokesman for the Family Resource Center and helps organize “A Very Melo Christmas,” every year for neeedy kids…In Baltimore, Melo hosts his annual H.O.O.D. Movement 3 on 3 Challenge (Holding Our Own Destiny)…he opened the Carmelo Anthony Youth Development Center on December 14, 2006…he contributed $1.5 million to the Living Classrooms Foundation…he donated $35k for relief efforts after the tsunami hit in 2004…he donated $1,000 per point scored against San Antonio and Houston on January 8 and 9, 2005 respectively…and Melo kicked in $3M toward the construction of a new hoops facility at his alma mater, Syracuse University, representing one of the largest individual donations to the Syracuse University Athletics department…and you telling me Melo ain’t got a big heart? Think again my friends and do your Carmelo Anthony homework before asking me how I feel about any off-court controversy, pa-leeze.

As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

ATHLETES DO ESSENCE RIGHT

ATHLETES ‘DO RIGHT’ BY ME
Essence. Such a beautiful word…and such great content…once again, Essence is highlighting 50 sexy, single, successful brothers for their annual celebration of Do Right Men 2008. Aside from the fact that these men will make you drool, Essence has broken them down by merit…yes merit- something we forget now and again-something easily forgotten when the six-packs are displayed…but something which is becoming the center of attention in more than one publication…merit is making a come back…thank god Im not the only one who’s had enough of men behaving badly…two ballin’ beasts to behave well enough to make the Essence cut? Ovie Mughelli (L) and Antonio Gates (R).

Ovie Mughelli, 28, Atlanta; Fullback for the Falcons. His Ovie Mughelli Foundation uses summer football camps as a platform to support nutrition, education and health initiatives. “I wanted to impress upon these kids that working hard pays off, and I wanted to make sure other kids have what I did not.” And his motto: “You are not your own. Any greatness you achieve you did not accomplish on your own. It’s your -responsibility to do what you can to bless someone else.” Antonio Gates is from my hometown of San Diego, so back off ladies…the San Diego Charger has been ‘Doing Right’ since sponsoring his first Shoot to Cure HD athletic event in 2005, raising money to provide research toward a cure for Huntington’s Disease, a hereditary disorder of the central nervous system. Gates decided to take action after someone close to him was diagnosed. “It’s very painful to see people who are suffering from a disease that people don’t really know about,” says Gates, who’s doing his part to raise both public awareness and clinical knowledge. His motto: “Only the strong survive.”

DO WRONG MEN: LEBRON JAMES
To each and every one of you who wrote to me about my ‘harsh’ opinion of Lebron James…to each one of you blinded by name, rank and status to care what goes on when the balls not around…I’m not the first one to call him out. Im not gonna be the last and I’m certainly not about to give him a break…

Essence calls out Lebron James (Thanks for having my back peeps)….


DOING WRONG: Where do we start? James sparked a media firestorm when he refused to sign a teammate’s letter condemning the Chinese government’s complicity in the Darfur genocide, attributing his hesitance to “not having enough information.” In April, he was the first African-American man to grace the cover of Vogue, but the image of a wild-eyed James with a basketball in one hand and Brazilian model Gisele Bündchen drew fouls for its perpetuation of stereotypes of Black men. The press has not proven to be James’s only adversary: Last December he was pulled over in Ohio for driving 101 mph, an offense he called “no big deal.” Responding to some of his negative press, James said to The Cleveland Plain Dealer in March 2008, “Everything my name is on is going to be criticized. … Who cares what anyone says?”

As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Rafael Nadal and Maria Francesca Perello Go Public

RAFAEL NADAL AND HIS GIRLFRIEND MAKING WAVES

Fresh off his mind-blowing match at Wimbledon, our delicious Tapa, Rafael Nadal, addressed fans at Manacor’s town hall in Mallorca…one thing he didn’t have to address, though, was whether or not he was still dating Maria Perello.


Thanks to the good peeps at Machochip.com, Rafael Nadal and his girlfriend have officially been ‘outted.’ Rafa’s girl is 20-year old Maria Francesca “Xisca” Perello. We all know they’ve been together for a while-and actually ‘went public’ two years ago, but I simply couldn’t resist posting the photos of Rafael Nadal topless, frolicking in the water with his girl. And yes, Maria was at Wimbledon watching her sexy beast destroy the Swiss Misters five-time winning streak.


As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Lewis Hamilton Wins British Grand Prix

LEWIS HAMILTON WINS BRITISH GRAND PRIX

While Rafael Nadal was busy humbling R-Fed yesterday, British babe Lewis Hamilton was busy burning rubber at the British Grand Prix. The Formula One beast, who has already secured victories in Australia and Monaco, finished the race 68.5 seconds ahead of Nick Heidfeld to capture his first British GP Race. “It’s by far the best victory I’ve ever had,” Hamilton told reporters. “The conditions were bad and as I was driving I thought, `If I win this, it will be the best race I’ve ever done.’ On my last lap, I could see the crowd starting to rise to their feet, and I was just praying, praying, praying I could get the car round.”

Hamilton mastered the slick conditions on the track- his winning margin of 68.5 seconds over Heidfeld was the largest since Damon Hill won by more than two laps in the 1995 Australian GP. Pretty impressive- actually, more than impressive-its on par with Nadal’s Wimbledon victory and Rocco’s stunning US Open performance…Hamilton is only 23-years-old, but as with most F1 drivers, he has the mental ability to cope under considerable pressure-except when trying to quote Martin Luther King. “I can’t remember it word for word, something like ‘It is not the times when we triumph and are successful that make us who we are, but those when we are at our lowest and going through troubles’. It’s a long way off from the actual quote, but I remember reading it and thinking it was very important. Coming into the race, the whole week had been tough, but when you take it all in, you learn more. And when you are racing, you learn a lot more and how to improve.” (The quote Lewis was trying for: ‘The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.’) Next race: Germany, July 20.

As always, thanks for reading. Delinda Lombardo
delinda@athlebrities.com

Athletes Raise Money for Charity @ 40/40, The Best Latin Athletes

CASINO NIGHT AT 40/40
In efforts to highlight the ‘Lack of Blacks in Baseball’, the Richmond based Metropolitan Junior Baseball League (MJBL) will raise money and awareness by hosting a mouth watering event at 40/40 in New York City during the MLB All Star weekend. MJBL, a 42-year-old non-profit organization and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (MLBPAA) have teamed up to present the first annual ‘Casino Night’ on Sunday, July 13, 2008. A charity event filled with professional athletes and celebrities at the world famous 40/40 Club in Manhattan? And Im gonna miss it? For one night only, 40/40 will be transformed into a casino-complete with slot machines, poker, black jack and roulette tables…the tournament will be open to 200 celebrity participants and a limited number of the general public. MJBL hopes that by coming to New York that the people will finally take notice of the issue and more importantly do something about it. “When Jackie Robinson’s Anniversary came around, players and corporations said they wanted to do something about this issue. We are giving them an opportunity to be a part of America’s longest standing African American Baseball league and this event represents our challenge to America to help us make a difference,” says MJBL Executive director William Forrester, Jr. (Metropolitan Junior Baseball League) 40/40 owner Jay-Z and Alex Rodriguez are expected to attend…that is if A-Rodonna can get it together after his wife said I wanna divorce and flew off to Paris to party with Lenny Kravitz. (Props to Cynthia if this is indeed true.)

THE BEST LATINO ATHLETES

Gotta give a shout out to Quibian Salazar-Moreno for his blog post tipping me off about this event-because although I live in San Diego, I do not speak Spanish and couldn’t translate the home page…my Casually Obsessed friend reports that Spanish network, Univision, announced the first ever annual “Tecate Premios Deportes”, an award show recognizing the best Latino athletes. According to Univision, the nominees are in ten different categories and have been selected for their talent, character and perseverance, as well as their contributions to and impact on the Hispanic community. “The Academy went through an arduous selection process to identify the nominees. We wanted to ensure this event recognized athletes based on their merit and not popularity,” said Oscar de la Hoya, executive member of the “Tecate Premios Deportes” Academy. “We are confident the list encompasses the best Hispanic athletes and look forward to honoring our colleagues at the event airing nationwide on July 20th on Univision.” Here are some of the nominations…David Ortiz, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Carmelo Anthony (Huh, Melo Hispanic?), Pau Gasol, Manu Ginobili, Luis Castillo, Tony Gonzales, and Tony Romo.

WHO KNEW?

I’m all for combining sports in efforts to produce something new and exciting, like, for example, beach-tennis or roller-soccer, but never would I have imagined chess-boxing? And yes, they have championship games, which are underway in Berlin as I sit here and scratch my head in bewilderment…Chess-Boxing is a match between two opponents consisting of up to eleven alternating rounds of boxing and chess sessions, starting with a four-minute chess round followed by two minutes of boxing and so on. The chess played “blitz” style, in which competitors have a total of twelve minutes. Competitors may win by knockout, checkmate, a judge’s decision, if their opponent’s twelve minutes of chess time elapses or if the audience falls asleep.


As always, thanks for reading.
delinda@athlebrities.com