Monthly Archives: March 2009

Interview with Former NBA Player Derek Strong

Interview with Former NBA Player Derek Strong

You may not recognize the name, but take notice because you’ll want to know this mighty-mighty-fine man. Derek Strong hooped it up in the NBA for ten seasons…laying it out from 1991 to 2001 with the Washington Bullets, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers.

And he did something remarkable after retirement. He became the first NBA player to successfully transition into NASCAR as a driver. He also founded Derek Strong Racing, which is the first team in NASCAR history to have African-American female owners! Dawn Whitaker and Erica Hill (each minority owners) are the first in the sport…Erica also co-founded Peace International, a non-profit organization whose primary mission is to build schools in remote areas throughout the world.

This girls’ interest was piqued when Look to the Stars spoke to Derek from the red carpet at the recent Shane’s Inspiration event. The mission of Shane’s Inspiration is to create playgrounds for disabled/handicapped kids…“I played in the NBA for about 11 years and every year we did something with children’s hospital, we did things to help inner city children and I’ve been around children practically all my life, and I think it’s very important that we do get out there because they are our future,” said Strong from the red carpet.

But that wasn’t enough of a quote for me, so Derek Strong indulged me with a little Q&A….

Delinda: Was there one particular event that made you want to become involved with charity?
Derek: “Yes, when I went to the children’s hospital. It really touched me, seeing these kids hooked up to IV’s all day, confined to their unit, You didn’t know if they would live to see the next day. They are just starting out in life and they have been in the hospital everyday fighting cancer or another illness. And I want to help- help the kids, help the families, help find a cure because they should be outside playing with other kids. They should be on the playground not in the hospital.”

Delinda: I know from our conversation that you were exposed to a lot of charity events and community related activities as part of the NBA. In your opinion, are participating players really interested in helping out, or are they just playing along?
Derek: “You know, almost every employer has an outreach program- it goes beyond the individual. And it really depends on the person’s character, for me it was inspiring. You may have a player going to an event where they kind of just go through the motions and do nothing else, but others can be inspired. It teaches them to grow, plants the seed so to speak.”

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Delinda: In terms of Strong Racing, have you had the opportunity to work with any kids?
Derek: “That’s what I’m trying to do now. I want somehow for our racing team to donate a percentage of our wins to the hospitals and organizations that help the kids. As I’ve said, children are our future. As an adult we can guide them in the right direction and help them. As the future generation, they’re our future survival, and the more we give them and guide them in the right direction, they’ll turn out ok.”

Delinda: You founded Strong Racing in 2001, how has it been going?
Derek: “Well we started racing in 2001 and we progress every week. We have potential to do very well. When we started, we declined a bit, but now we’re finding the chemistry and I think we’re going to do well.”

Delinda: What talent would you most like to have?
Derek: “The talent to heal.”

Delinda: What trait do you most admired in others?
Derek: “Resilience. When someone is planning on doing something, and no matter how hard it is, they stay course until they get what they want. I admire that.”

Delinda: What is your most treasured possession?
Derek: “My family.”

Delinda: Do you have any superstitions?
Derek: “No. A black cat can cross my path and I don’t care!”

Delinda: What’s the most annoying question you get asked?
Derek: “I don’t think any of them are annoying, I enjoy when people ask me something.”

Delinda: How do you recommend other people get involved in charity work?
Derek: “First thing is to find what touches you, what moves you. And then research. Find an organization that benefits your cause. Get involved. Follow you heart.”

Delinda: Do you think Hollywood is sort of ‘obligated’ to get involved?
Derek: “I don’t think anyone is ‘obligated’ but I do think there should be some involvement.”

Delinda: Aside from family, who has been a personal inspiration?
Derek: “A teammate of mine from college, he was like my brother and taught me about life and kept me on the straight path.”

And what a better path than one that led him straight into the hearts of children?

Thank you Derek. Thank you for the interview, but more importantly thank you for the compassion to help those who need it most. I’ll be watching you…

For more info on Derek Strong and the Strong Racing team, please visit the Strong Racing Team website.

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

Michael Phelps Among Honorees at Celebrity Fight Night

Michael Phelps Among Honorees at Celebrity Fight Night

This years Celebrity Fight Night once again knocked out the competition with another one of their amazing fundraisers for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center. Billed as one of the nations largest fundraising efforts, Celebrity Fight Night has raised more than $52 million for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Center in Phoenix and other charities.

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Last year, I was fortunate enough to attend. This year, I watched on the sidelines as guests enjoyed a delicious evening filled with the likes of Michael Phelps, Kurt Warner, Jon Bon Jovi, Reba McEntire, Bo Derek, Jordin Sparks, Forest Whitaker and many others.

Of course, the legend himself, Muhammad Ali was the guest of honor at Celebrity Fight Night XV, held at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday.

The annual event has raised $52 million for various charities throughout its 15-year run, with the primary beneficiary being the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. This year’s event was hosted by the queen of sweet Reba McEntire and, featured musical performances by Jon Bon Jovi, Charise and Ray Firestone.

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And as they do every year, CFN honors hotties in the sports, entertainment and business communities who ‘best represent the qualities associated with the Champ and his fight to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease,’ This year’s honorees…actor Forest Whitaker, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner and Olympic swimming god Michael Phelps.

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

Ivory Coast World Cup Qualifier Ends With Deaths

Ivory Coast World Cup Qualifier Ends With Deaths

Note-there are some GRAPHIC images in this post. My apologies if it offends any of you. This non-charity related news item that begs our attention-or at least mine. As Didier Drogba and his Ivory Coast played their World Cup Qualifier, fans outside the stadium were being stampeded to death. Granted, this isn’t the first disaster to strike soccer fans, however, it is the first time that I can recall the media printing photos from the stampede- and it really brings it home. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of those who died while trying to enjoy a beautiful game of soccer.

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The good news is that the Ivory Coast won their World Cup qualifier 5-0 against Malawi on Sunday, but the bad news is that 19 people were killed when fans tried to push their way into the stadium.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter offered his condolences and also demanded a full investigation. “I wish to express extreme sorrow and extend our condolences to the Ivorian football community and, most importantly, to family, friends and loved ones following the tragic deaths in Abidjan,” Blatter said in a statement.

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The stampede took place at the Houphouet Boigny stadium in Abidjan on March 30. At least 19 people were killed-including children-and more than 130 were badly hurt when hundreds of fans tried to force their way into the stadium during the game.

The cause of the crowd-swell is still under investigation. Government officials are looking into accusations it was caused by non-ticket holders who had bribed their way through security. Some fans are blaming the police, claiming they fired tear gas into the crowd creating panic among those who had nowhere to run.

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“We saw people falling from the top bleachers,” said Diarassouba Adama, who was inside the stadium. “The stampede was provoked by the security forces who threw tear gas canisters at us. I don’t know why they fired on us.” Others agree: “My brother left to go to the stadium with his friends. At the entrance, they were attacked by security forces. That’s what set off the stampede,” Momodou Kamara said after identifying the body of his brother.

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

Europes Hottest Soccer Players Coming to U.S.

Chelsea is Coming! AC Milan is Coming! Inter Milan is Coming!
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Team Chelsea, one of the sexiest squads in Euro soccer, is coming to the States for the fifth time in six years-this time, as part of the inaugural World Football Challenge.

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And it’s not just news about Chelsea making me squeal, its news that the tournement will host four international squads…Chelsea, AC Milan, Inter Milan and Club America. The round-robin style tournament will make stops in Palo Alto, Pasadena, my house, Atlanta, Baltimore, Massachusetts, and Texas…with Chelsea playing a friendly on July 18 versus the Seattle Sounders at Quest Field.

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon spoke about the teams fan base here in the U.S.: “Coming here regularly has definitely helped us so far. Our fan base over here has more than doubled in the last three years and we are seeing a genuine interest in our team, our club and our brand from people in this part of the world.”

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Indeed. It’s not difficult to take a genuine interest when Chelsea’s roster of hot babes include: Captain John Terry, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Deco, Joe Cole, and Salomon Kalou and others…and giving me reason to learn Italian, from Inter we’ve got: Luis Figo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Materazzi and AC Milan babes in serious danger of a chance meeting with me: Ricardo Kaka, Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, Andrea Pirlo, Filippo Inzaghi, Ronaldinho, Clarence Seedorf, and Gianluca Zambrotta to name just a few.

The World Football Challenge begins July 19 where this crazy redheaded blogger will stalk Inter Milan as they take on Club at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. My next stop will be on July 21 when Chelsea battle Inter Milan at Rose Bowl in Pasadena, where you’ll likely find me trying to get into both locker rooms. Once the hotties have escaped California, the tour continues: July 22: AC Milan vs. Club America at Georgia Dome in Atlanta; July 24: AC Milan vs. Chelsea at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore-where I expect Angela to do me proud; July 26: Inter Milan vs. AC Milan at Gillette Stadium, in Foxborough, Mass.; July 26: Chelsea vs. Club America at Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

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If you just can’t wait until July to see the hottest soccer players alive, remember, you can catch most of them-and then some- in New York on June 14 for the ‘All Stars for Hope’ celebrity soccer game. This one of the biggest and best events for charity this summer…hope to see you all there!

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

Dikembe Mutombo: A Humanitarian for Life

Dikembe Mutombo: A Humanitarian for Life
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“This is something I will do the rest of my life. No matter what I go do, whether it is working for the league or business for myself, doing humanitarian work, I don’t think there will be anybody who can stop me.”

After 18 seasons in NBA, Dikembe Mutombo is just a few weeks away from retirement.  “I don’t want to leave this game and have something haunt me, like I complained about playing or my minutes. I just want to be happy. One thing I’m very happy with is the transformation that has happened inside our locker room,” said the Rockets center, “The joy, the peace, the smiling on the guys’ faces are very rewarding to see. That is what made me happy, like I accomplished something.”

Accomplished something? While Dikembe is speaking about what he accomplished with the Rockets, my mind drifts elsewhere. It drifts all the way back to the early 80’s. When Bono and the boys were going Into The Heart of a child alongside Bob Geldof who was busy Feeding the World and Elvis Costello was asking us What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding.

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‘We’ve been waiting all year, for you…for you…into the heart of a child, I stay a while…into the heart of a child I can smile, I can see my way. Into the heart of a child, I can go back, I can stay a while…into the heart, to the heart of a child…’ U2’s ‘Into the Heart’ lyrics seem to reflect something that Dikembe can relate to.

After all, he’s spent the last decade raising funds for the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital & Research center in Kinshasa (Dem Rep of Congo). Even though the mighty-mighty-fine man has already donated $19M of his own cash, he still needs more, and so he presses on. And he is asking all of us for a little help.

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“The latest campaign is to try to go after the grass roots,” Mutombo said. “We can get at least the American people to participate in the treatment of women and children at the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital by donating $20 or more a year. The goal is to get 100,000 people to sign up with our Web site (www.DMF.org) or call 1-877-funddmf. We want to get 100,000 people to respond by the end of June.”

Now I’m no stranger to the slumping economy, but I do know most of us wouldn’t miss $20 a year? To save lives? This isnt just a plea, but a movement. And Dikembe is about to go nationwide with it. “I’m going to go nationwide. My prayer is that as many people as we have in Houston, maybe 100,000 will respond to my call to donate $20 or more. After that, I’m planning to go after every city that I played for (Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia and New York) and see how many people will sign up to the Web site or pick up the phone. This is to run the hospital for medicine and treatment and paying the staff, the doctors and nurses.”

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“People would understand and know this is a good cause,” he said. “This is not a cause that Dikembe is calling on us to donate money so he can buy more equipment or more beds. This is now something we already accomplished. The beds are there. The equipment is there. You just want us to buy medicine and buy Tylenol and buy IVs and all that. Malaria is killing more than 1.3 million children alone in the African continent. The Congo lost more than 300,000 children last year alone from malaria. The treatment will cost no more than $10. If we can come up with $2 million for treatment, with 100,000 people donating $20, there is a chance for us to really eradicate malaria in that particular area.”

Think about that people. Together, we CAN eradicate malaria in the Congo. I don’t know about anyone else, but even with an overdue cable bill, I’m still sending 20 bucks. The life of a child shouldn’t be cut short because someone opted to buy a bottle of wine instead of saving a life…but hey, that’s just me.

“Our goal is to prevent as many deaths as we can,“ Dikembe continued, “I know it is going to be difficult to stop people from dying, because death is part of our lives. But to prevent as many deaths as possible, it is up to us to do so.”

It is indeed Dikembe, and this girl’s got your back every step of the way.

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

Lewis Hamilton Visits Aussie Burn Victims

Lewis Hamilton Visits Aussie Burn Victims

Formula One teams and drivers are arriving for the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia. For many, including myself, this is reason to celebrate. The thought of Peter Windsor working that grid while Lewis Hamilton prances around in his race suit is enough to make me smile. But I’ve got a bigger reason to smile-as do the burn victims of Victoria’s Black Saturday brushfires.

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When McLaren Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton and teammate Heikki Kovalainen landed down under, their first pit stop was to the Alfred Hospitals burn unit. Sure, they could have gone to the zoo or played soccer, but they chose to make the rounds, visiting recovering burn victims, nurses, doctors and hospital staff.

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Hamilton is so classy, that he brushed aside the media to speak to the patients. It wasn’t until after the visit that he briefly addressed the media. “We can’t imagine what they’ve gone through, but to see the smiles on their faces and how strong they are … it gives me inspiration.”

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While Hamilton and Kovalainen opted to spread love, other drivers-not so much. Unless you call ‘spreading love’ a visit to the zoo or playing soccer? German Formula One drive Nick Heidfeld (above) and Adrain Sutil opted to meet four kangaroos at the Zoo in Melbourne instead of visiting burn victims…

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…and Hamilton nemesis Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso was busy being presented with a team shirt from the Melbourne Victory soccer team…I’m just saying…the fires, in which 210 people died, form an emotional backdrop to this year’s Australian Grand Prix-I would expect more drivers to pay homage to those who’ve suffered.

The Australian Grand Prix goes down on March 29, 2009.

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

Former NBA Star Manute Bol Building Schools in the Sudan

Former NBA Star Manute Bol Building Schools in the Sudan

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The children are the future of Sudan, regardless of the region they come from,” Manute Bol.

Manute Bol was once the NBA’s tallest player, standing an impressive 7’ 7” tall. The Sudanese born baller spent almost a decade shooting hoops for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat. After he retired in 2004 and the novelty of his height wore off, people seemed to move on…lavishing their adoration on players who land three-pointers, sell overpriced signature shoes made in a Chinese sweatshop or hawk lawnmowers instead of hosting a charity event. Needless to say, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to find very little information on Manute Bol’s latest humanitarian adventures circulating the Internet.

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But I did find my ‘needle in the hay-stack’ via two photos that someone was smart enough to snap…Earlier this week, Manute spoke at a rally for action to end the violence in Sudan at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Who knew? Apparently, only one media outlet (AFP) is running the story…makes you wonder if anyone is paying attention to humanity…

Anyway, Bol has been actively kicking butt in efforts to get funding for a school he’s building in Sudan. Just a few weeks ago, Bol hosted a fundraiser in West Hartford where he spoke about the importance of the school being built because right now, classes are currently being held “under trees” in the western Sudan area of Darfur. “My dream is to build schools across south Sudan because with education you can have a decent life, find a job and improve,” said the Man, “But we must also support the people of Darfur because, just like us, they too have suffered.”

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What Bol is referring to is ‘uniting Sudan’…while I’m no expert on the War in Darfur, it seems to me that if anyone can do this, it would be him. (Along with Dikembe and Bono of course)….Bol really is doing everything he can to help reconciliation efforts in south Sudan where the war has claimed thousands of lives, including 250 members of his own family. “What happened to us in the south is now happening to the people of Darfur,” said Bol. (Tensions between the Muslim north and predominantly Christian south of the country add to the conflict).

Some help for the thousands of Darfur refugees who have fled to the south comes from one organization, US-based Sudan Sunrise. “We believe that reconciliation is fundamentally essential for the future of Sudan,” said Tom Prichard, director of Sudan Sunrise. “There is now a chance which wasn’t present in the past. We must seize this opportunity to establish good relationships between the north and the south.” Sudan Sunrise even enlisted volunteers from Darfur to help rebuild schools destroyed in the war. “The response was extraordinary,” said Prichard.  According to the UN, only two percent of children in south Sudan finish primary school.

I’m watching you Manute, I’m watching.

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

NFL New Orleans Saint Jonathan Vilma To Meet With The UN

NFL New Orleans Saint Jonathan Vilma To Meet With The UN

The other day I mentioned the recent surge in NFL players making humanitarian missions to Africa. Today, I continue with NFL hotties taking an interest in Haiti. Specifically, NFL star Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints.

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The 6’1″, 230-pound babe will take those arms to visit with world leaders, dignitaries and humanitarians at the United Nations Headquarters on Friday March 27, in efforts to push for funding of hurricane proof housing in his native Haiti. And Vilma ain’t going alone- he’s to be joined by former NFL hotties, Freeman McNeil and Adam Dispirito.

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The three mighty-mighty-good men will ‘tackle’ the issue and help ease the fears of those in hurricane affected areas by ‘passing’ their concerns onto the UN while ‘touching-down’ on things such as ‘safety’ for homes in the hurricane’s ‘end zone’.

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This isn’t Vilma’s first effort at helping those caught in the wrath of a hurricanes aftermath…he appeared in a United Way television commercial after Hurricane Katrina and has become an advocate for more affordable hurricane proof housing for the people of New Orleans as well as Haiti.

Vilma not only sounds all right by me, but he looks downright edible in a suit. For more info, check out his website Jon Vilma.com.

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

Rafael Nadal French Kisses Trophy After BNP Paribas Win

Rafael Nadal French Kisses Trophy After BNP Paribas Win

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How many nibbles does it take to get to Worlds Number One…We’ve witnessed trophy after trophy earn that precious nibble Rafael Nadal has perfected. And just when I thought it couldn’t get better, our Tapa won the BNP Paribas Open and, correct me if I’m wrong, (gulp) French kissed the trophy. There is a whole lotta ‘oh no she didn’t’ that I could say about this, but I best move on before I earn an X rating…after all, this is supposed to be all about charity right? And as such, the only donation given by Rafa went straight to my estrogen bank, so it fits the bill.

Nadal had no trouble winning his second title in three years at Indian Wells. After defeating Andy Murray 6-1, 6-2, our tapa spoke…anticipating an accent as delicious as his forehand, it pained me a bit to think he’s either brushing up on his English, or this was translated…

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“The conditions today were really difficult. But I think I had a good strategy and played a really good match under the conditions,” Nadal cooed. “Probably Andy didn’t play his best because of the conditions, but I think I played a really complete match, moving very well…I never stopped the legs during the match and I think that was the key. Maybe I accepted the conditions a little bit better than him. Maybe I had a little bit more positive attitude than him.”  Gone are the ‘no’s’?  To think we lost them is bad, no? And is also make me happy Rafa make no more capri’s too, no?

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Maybe it was your leg speed Rafa, but I think maybe, just maybe, you are simply maturing into one hell of a eloquent, fine, sexy, Spanish tennis monster with incredibly hot wispy hair and a much needed hint of facial hair to accentuate that ice-melting smile…

Vamos Rafael Nadal, Va-mos.

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

$2.00 Can Buy You Golf with Tiger Woods or A Bruins Luxury Box

$2.00 Can Buy You Golf with Tiger Woods or A Bruins Luxury Box

This post is my way of helping some of you get the most for your money. I’ve clued you in on how to meet some of your favorites via attending celebrity-golf events and the like. But there’s another avenue being offered to fans…and its called ‘raffles.’ And I’m not talking about your grandmother’s church raffles…I’m talking about celebrity charity raffles.

The concept is simple. Buy a raffle ticket for $2.00, the money goes to charity and you’re entered to win some amazing prizes-some of which will fly right under the radar if you’re not looking for them.

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As mentioned, for a measly two-bucks, you theoretically can get ten-minutes of one-on-one instructions with Tiger Woods. The good peeps at Celebrities for Charity are raffling off one slot 1 slot in the Tiger Woods 1 Hour Golf Clinic at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando Florida (Wednesday, May 27, 2009). The winner receives: Minimum 5 – 10 minutes of one-on-one instruction from Tiger Woods; 2 hours of professional training with a certified Pro Golf Instructor; 2 night accommodations at the Grand Cypress Resort (single room, single occupancy); a voucher for roundtrip coach airfare (as necessary) to attend clinic (maximum $1,000); All meals on day of Clinic and a gift bag with shirts and other Tiger Woods collectables….BUT you gotta hurry-the raffle ends Tuesday March 24. The more raffle tickets you buy, the greater chance you have of winning. Do the math…a private lesson with Tiger Woods is worth thousands of dollars, why wouldn’t you gamble on a two-dollar raffle?

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Aside from tips from Tiger, Celebrities for Charity also has some great Boston Bruins experiences up for grabs. How do 2 Tickets to every Boston Bruins playoff game during their 2009 playoff run for the Stanley Cup sound? And they’ll throw in an autographed photo of Milan Lucic (Drawing date April 10)…also on the chopping block is your own luxury box at a Bruins Game vs. the Montreal Canadians and a meet and greet with NHL Hall of Famers Ray Bourque and Cam Neely. (Drawing Date: Friday, April 3, 2009). Once again, tickets are only $2.00 and the price goes down if you buy in bulk.

In addition to raffles, I’ve also mentioned charity auctions before. Again, this is a great alternative to on-line shopping. Check the various celebrity charity auctions that are increasingly becoming more and more popular and you’ll likely find something worth your hard earned cash, which goes to charity, and is sold for well below the market value.

For example…the Farm Sanctuary is getting a ton of celebrity support. The organization works to end cruelty to farm animals and promotes compassionate living through rescue, education and advocacy. Through Charity Buzz, the organization is about to benefit from a few cool ‘experiences’ being auctioned off.

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Eric Nies is up for grabs…granted, I don’t know who he is, but he is indeed a bid-worth beast. Hottie is best known as the teen idol from MTV’s ‘The Real World/New York. He’s also billed as a ‘health and wellness guru” so the prize package reads: ‘Take the opportunity to share a juice with Eric and pick his brain about how to live a better, more fulfilling and healthy life, while he sets you up on a nutritional program that will change your life.’ (SOLD to the crazy redheaded blogger)…

Other items up for bids include: Two Tickets to The Warped Tour 2009; Meet Kevin Nealon on the set of ‘Weeds’(SOLD to the crazy red headed blogger)…meet Kelly Clarkson after the show of your choice; Two VIP Tickets to a taping of ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ (Sold to the crazy red headed blogger)… Yoga classes; make-up lessons; cooking classes, purses, lingerie and a whole slew of other goodies on being auctioned off to benefit the Farm Sanctuary.

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Charity Buzz has a slew of auctions in progress, all of which offer extraordinary experiences. Everything from a ‘Lakers Dream Experience” to a meet and great with Usher to a weekend of fun with Alonzo Mourning and Dwyane Wade, are up for grabs. Also be sure to check out what Auction Cause has been up to. They are the forerunners in charity auctions, selling off everything from Evangeline Lilly’s lingerie to Sean Penn’s MILK clothing.

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And if you’re feeling particularly in love with my blog, I’ve got some new Athlebrity ‘One Love’ T’s available…new designs available here: ATHLEBRITY T-shirts. And of course, I donate 10% of all proceeds to charity…and the rest of the proceeds go to maintaining this site. Don’t like my T’s but love my blog? Then you can always donate directly to me via that tiny button on the upper right that says ‘Donate’. Yes, the slumping economy has hit Athlebrities hard, and I do need help…if I’ve ever made ya chuckle or promoted your product or tipped you off to an awesome event…then even a dollar donation would be greatly appreciated. If not, then I’ll press on…perhaps blogging from an EDAR one day?

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

NFL Star Amobi Okoye’s 2nd Annual Trip to Nigeria

NFL Star Amobi Okoye’s 2nd Annual Trip to Nigeria

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“Throughout my life, I have had opportunities that many children around the globe don’t have…It grips my heart knowing that most of the children within the United States and around the globe don’t have these same blessings…I made an early decision to establish a vehicle to use this greater voice that was given me to make a real difference. Thus, I founded the Amobi Okoye Foundation with the belief that all youth have the basic human right of hope for a brighter future. “

NFL star Amobi Okoye, a few other mighty-mighty-good men and one woman, are ready to embark upon the 2nd Annual ‘Athletes in the Diaspora’ trip to Nigeria.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of Sudanese players in the NBA who haven’t forgotten their roots. Now, we’re seeing a similar ‘happening’ in the NFL with the leagues Nigerian hotties. Last year, a group of NFL players with direct family ties to Nigeria made a little publicized journey ‘home’ as part of the ‘Athletes in the Diaspora’ Community Interventions program (ADCI).

And they’re ready to do it again. Established by Sports Marketing & Entertainment Group, Invictus91, the mission of the ADCI is to provide an avenue for professional athletes to give back to their local and global communities. Working collaboratively with professional athletes, they strive to help provide an opportunity for a better future for the underprivileged.

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Today, the group left the US and headed to Nigeria for an 8-day journey to spread the love. En route to make sustainable and positive differences in Nigeria, Africa, and globally are: Houston Texan Amobi Okeye (L); Oakland Raider Nnamdi Asomugha; New York Giant Osi Umenyiora (R); Cincinnati Bengal Chinedum Ndukwe; Miami Dolphin Ike Ndukwe; Chicago Bear Tommie Harris; and Kasia Muoto-one of Nigeria’s most famous female soccer stars and the founder of We Play to Win.

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

Lewis Hamilton Gets Waxed and Is Awarded a MBE?

Lewis Hamilton Gets Waxed and Is Awarded a MBE?

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And yet another one of my favorites, Lewis Hamilton, has been immortalized in wax. Yes, the youngest and first black Formula 1 World Champion has landed smack dab on display at Madame Tussauds in London. “He has undoubtedly won a place in the nation’s hearts for his determination and single mindedness and a place at Madame Tussauds for an amazing track record,” said a spokesperson for the London attraction. The wax-figure took around six months to create and cost about $210,000 to make…

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In other Lewis Hamilton news, the beast was awarded an ‘MBE’ earlier this month…in efforts to understand the meaning of an MBE, I did some research into it and ended up getting a very confusing history lesson.

    The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry established on 4 June 1917 by King George V. The Order includes five classes in civil and military divisions; in decreasing order of seniority, these are: Knight Grand Cross (GBE) or Dame Grand Cross (GBE); Knight Commander (KBE) or Dame Commander (DBE); Commander (CBE); Officer (OBE); Member (MBE).

Essentially, they are the ones who ‘Knight’ people, give out medals and add the ‘Sir’ or ‘Dame’ in front of someone’s name. And even though Hamilton’s lowly ranking in the Order doesn’t qualify him as a Knight just yet, I’m gonna continue to call him Sir Lewis.

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

Camilo Villegas Honored in Columbia

Camilo Villegas Honored in Columbia

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Come on kids, you didn’t really think this one would get by me did you? Our sexy golf kitten, Camilo Villegas, has reached seventh in the Official Golf World Rankings…it’s been a long and laborious journey for those of us who’ve been around since we first saw him get down on all fours, balance on his fingertips, and flex those yoga-fit arms. Now, with his new world ranking, he’s garnered more than just the attention of us ogling fans, Camilo has been honored by Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.

President Uribe held a ceremony at the Government Palace prior to the Club Colombia Masters where Camilo’s younger brother Manuel is competing. During the ceremony, our Camilo was awarded the Order of San Carlos.

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I don’t do what I do for a living to receive awards, but when they arrive I know that I’m going in the right direction. This is a huge motivation for me to keep giving my best and be a good ambassador for our country.

Aside from press conferences and earning awards, Villegas opened the Club Colombia Masters Tour de las Americas as well as hosted a golf clinic and a nine-hole exhibition. Me-friggen-ow.

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

Utah Jazz Do Good by Larry Miller

Utah Jazz Do Good by Larry Miller
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On February 20 of this year, Utah Jazz owner, Larry Miller passed away from complications relating to type 2 diabetes. Prior to his death, Miller established himself as a true giver- supporting a number of causes and in 1995 Miller formed the Larry H. Miller Charities, whose mission statement is to “give back to our communities by focusing our united service and corporate giving on youth and children with an emphasis on health and education.”

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Since its inception, the foundation has raised more than $1 million for charitable organizations in the communities where the Larry H. Miller Group does business.

And as expected, the Utah Jazz players didn’t hesitate when asked to take part in the ‘Leapin’ Leaners and Low Tops’ event to raise money for Larry H. Miller Charities on March 18.

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According to what little information I can find, Leapin’ Leaners & Low Tops is an event not to be missed. For all my readers with a Jazz’d up libido- I suggest heavy sedation should you partake next year…

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Leapin Leaners offered the opportunity to (a-hem) hang out with Utah Jazz players while participating in fun-filled activities that “let you get close to the team”. While my definition of ‘fun-filled activities that get me closer to the team’ is vastly different than theirs-I gotta say, I might make the trip next year…activities included: shooting baskets against (are-you-kidding-me) Kyle Korver on the Jazz home court; playing ping-pong against a sexy suited-up Carlos Boozer; competing against Deron Williams in video games and getting hoisted up to the basket by Andrei Kirilenko…yeah, I’ll see you in ’10 boys.

Thanks to Deron Williams, C.J. Miles, Coach Jerry Sloan, Ronnie Brewer, Carlos Boozer, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap, Mehmet Okur, Kyle Korver and all the other Utah babes for making at least half the female tween-population in Utah squeal for delight as they raised cash for charity.

And since we touched on the topic of diabetes, I’m also going to give a shout out to someone who’s been working hard to provide free glucose meters, testing strips and substantial discounts for insulin pumps and insulin pump supplies. His name is Charles Ray III, the President of the Charles Ray III Diabetes Association. This year, the organization’s annual Diabetes Golf Classic fundraiser is being held Monday, July 13, 2009 at North Ridge Country Club in North Carolina. Check ‘em out here to support the event or learn more about participating. (Charles Ray III)

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

San Diego Celebrity Classic

San Diego Celebrity Classic

If you’re a sports fan who needs help meeting your favorite sports star or celebrity…I’m about to hand you a front row ticket. No long lines, no waiting outside stadiums or hanging over the dugout, and very little money needed.

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The San Diego Celebrity Classic will be held April 23-26, 2009 at Morgan Run Resort and Club in Rancho Santa Fe (CA). The tournament features hotties and celebrities from the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB as well as Olympians and celebrities from television, music, and motion pictures.

What does this mean for you? It means that if you purchase a three-day general admission ticket for $10.00, you can mix and mingle with some amazing celebrities who are appearing at the event, which raises money for Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego.

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Dying to meet Drew Brees? He’s a confirmed guest. As is Ray Romano, Jerry Rice, Brett Saberhagen, Grant Fuhr, Nate Kaeding, Phil Nevin, Bret Boone and many others. Making me smile-is news that rebel-skier Bode Miller is also participating…and yes, I will be shadowing him the entire weekend.

I really, really wish I could stress how accessible athletes and celebrities make themselves during these events. At the last celebrity golf event I attended, guys like LaDainian Tomlinson and Charles Barkley stood around twiddling their thumbs because fans hadn’t figured out that for a few bucks this is where you have access to them! Celebrities are not just attending events to raise money for charity, but to meet the fans-to interact with the kids, sign autographs and take photos. So do yourself a favor, pack the kids, grab your friends and attend an event-I promise you wont be disappointed.

And just for the record, I am not affiliated with any sports marketing firm, nor do I not receive any compensation for publicizing events. (That’s what the donation button is for at the top of my page a-hem.) The fact is, I just love what I do. I would never suggest an event unless I’ve done all the legwork and feel certain that you’ll have an amazing experience if you attend.

Much more info at SD Celebrity Classic including the full list of confirmed celebrities. .

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

How to Get a Celebrity to Your Event

How to Get a Celebrity to Your Event
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Almost everyday someone askes me: “How can I get a celebrity to attend my event?”

Not an easy question to answer, especially with the slumping economy …but from experience, here’s what I’ve learned…The most important thing is to be a registered nonprofit. Most, if not all, athletes and celebrities won’t touch you unless you’re registered. Unfair, maybe. But since 9/11 a plethora of fakers have popped up to ruin it for those who really are out to do good. There’s really no way around this unless, of course, your best friend is a baller and wants to back you. Which brings me to a massive black-eye in the celebrity charity world…athletes and their foundations. Although not exclusive to athletes, many feel the need to put their cousin or girlfriend in charge of their foundation…Oh god-where do I start? I once flew out of state to attend an event for which I was fully-credentialed for, and when I got there, the 20-year-old gum chewing Foundation PR bimbo handed me a general admission ticket and said ‘this is your credential’…after realizing all the lights weren’t on with this girl, I left with an incredibly bad taste left in my mouth about this particular ‘super-star’ athlete-why would he have someone on his payroll who couldn’t differentiate between a media pass and a general admission ticket? All I can say is leave it to the professionals people…I could spout off a list of celebrities/athletes who’s foundations, PR people, publicists and the celeb themselves couldn’t give a hoot about charity, yet put on an incredibly sincere public persona of a ‘giver’. But I won’t name names, they know who they are…it boils down to character and it’s fairly easy to determine who the good guys are after speaking with those in their camp. Birds of a feather remember?

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Once you’re registered as a non-profit, and begin looking for a celebrity to attach to the event, the hard work begins. And don’t be shy. Do your research-find out who the celebrities’ agent, publicist and mangers are. Call them. Email them. Can’t find that info on-line? You’re not trying hard enough! The Internet is your friend…research…find other charities your chosen celebrity might be affiliated with and call them if you need to. The most important thing is to not be shy. Be persistent but polite too. If you get a “no thanks” leave it at that and move onto the next. Can’t find out who represents that baseball player you’d like to attend your event? Simply call the team and ask who his rep is! If you’ve got the passion in your soul to help others, someone will step up and help.

More help for those looking for celebrities to attend their events, comes from celebrity events planning companies. Admittedly, I have NO idea of the cost associated with using one, but I can tell you from experience, this may be the best way to go. And the best of the best is Hollywood Knights International.

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After attending many, many events, I can say unequivocally, that Hollywood Knights International is one of the best run and most sincere “full-service celebrity events production and promotional firm.”

The company was founded by the Godfather of pairing celebrities with charities- David Mirisch. When David founded the company it was simply called David Mirisch Enterprises. And this was way back in 1973, long before anyone else was luring celebrities to the golf courses for charity. Eventually, David passed the reins to his son Michael, who took over the celebrity basketball team, renamed it Hollywood Knights and just like that, an institution was born.

Currently, the Hollywood Knights are making our troops happy during their annual USO Hawaii Tour, which runs March 16-22…prior to their leaving, I requested to interview them and as they scrambled to pack up gear for the USO Tour, they didn’t brush me off with a “Oh, we’ll talk when we get back” response, but rather-they were excited to share their love for giving-back with my readers.

The full interview can be read on LOOK TO THE STARS…but in part, I asked…

Michael: What was it like to take over as CEO? Growing up with such an incredible role model (David of course) must have been an amazing experience?

My father is an icon and pioneer in the celebrity fundraising business. He pretty much invented this genre and at 73, he’s still producing events. He is an incredible role model and it’s been a blessing and my good fortune to have him as a father first and foremost, and also a business mentor,” he told me, “He continues to inspire me every single day. I became CEO when I officially took the basketball team under my wing and infused it with young talent that packed the gyms out with screaming fans.”

Current celebrities playing for HKI basketball for the USO Tour include: Aaron Carter (House of Carters); Frankie Delgado (The Hills, Bromance, Keeping up with the Kardashians); Josh Henderson (90210, Desperate Housewives); James Kyson Lee (Heroes); James Lesure (Lipstick Jungle, Las Vegas); Cody Linley (Dancing With The Stars, Hannah Montana); Venom (American Gladiators); Wolf (American Gladiators); and Aaron Yoo (Friday the 13th, Disturbia).

Michael continues: “The majority of the celebrities with whom we work are charitable people in general, and want to give back to the community. It’s not something you can fake,” said Michael, “Most of our events are not paid personal appearances where the stars receive a fee, so when you see a celebrity at a Hollywood Knights event, they are lending their name to the cause itself. We are so grateful to the countless celebrities that have year after year taken the time out of their busy schedules to support our events and the charities that are involved.

Vicky Mirisch, Director of Marketing/Public Relations for HKI, explained to me the most rewarding aspect of being part of the organization…“That’s an easy question,” she said, “Raising money to help people all over the world through events that incorporate celebrities, fun, and giving back to the community. There is a feeling of incredible satisfaction after every event we produce because we know at the end of the day countless lives are going to change for the better. There is that quote from Emerson that states: “to know that even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, that is to have succeeded.” This quote hangs in our office and we read it every single day. It really sums it all up for us.”

Among the thousands of stars, musicians, and world-class athletes who have devoted their time and influence at Hollywood Knights International events: Frank Sinatra, Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson, Mariska Hargitay, Coolio, David Arquette, Michael Landon, Merv Griffin, Muhammed Ali, Joe Dimaggio, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Evander Holyfield, Mark Harmon, Matthew Perry, Tara Reid, Fergie, Backstreet Boys, ‘Nsync, Woody Harrelson, Bruce Jenner, Pat Boone, Mario Lopez, Wilt Chamberlain, Gladys Knight, Sugar Ray Leonard, Olivia Newton-John, Pamela Anderson, Shaquille O’Neal, Tony Hawk, Wayne Gretsky, Jimmy Connors, Mike Tyson, Buzz Aldren, Kevin Sorbo, Boyz II Men, Joe Montegna, Haley-Joel Osment, Judd Hirsch and Cylk Cozart.

Here’s just a sampling of what the Hollywood Knights have planned for this year: The Foothill Aids Project Celebrity Bowling Classic (April 09); Kiwanis Club of Simi Valley Celebrity Golf Classic (May); Agua Hedionda Lagoon Foundation Celebrity Fishing Tournament (May); A.G.Spanos Golf Tournament (June); Cedars Sinai Sports Spectacular at the Century Plaza Hotel, California (June); Byron Scott Foundation Gala Dinner in Century City CA (August); The K.I.S. Foundation Celebrity Golf Tournament (Oct).

For more info and a list of all events, please visit:
HOLLYWOOD KNIGHTS INTERNATIONAL

Hopefully, I’ve helped some of you out just a little bit? Remember, register as a non-profit; research publicists, agents, managers and PR firms; be persistent yet polite; and most of all, follow your passion. Whether you chose to hire a promotional firm to garner a celebrity, or do all the leg work yourself, it’s a difficult-yet attainable-task and if you remain tenacious, you will eventually land a celebrity or athlete to endorse your event.

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

Kick for Hope

Kick for Hope

Now this is my kind of event…and its being held in my hometown of San Diego. Kick for Hope is a competitive youth soccer tournament to benefit Africa. Specifically, entry fees will be donated to: Grassroot Soccer; Kick 4 Life, Malaria No More and Charity Water.

The inaugural tournament is being July 11-12, in San Diego…and I’m really hoping some of my readers feel the need to kick in and participate in this worthy event founded by soccer mom Kristen Chandler.

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On the Kick for Hope website, Chandler explains how the event came to fruition: “The idea came to me last summer when my son went to Uganda. We were told the children there didn’t want toys, just soccer balls. When I asked my daughters soccer club to help, they provided a generous supply of new balls. This simple act caused me to wonder, ‘What else can we do?’ As a result, I founded Kick for Hope.”

For me, this one is a no-brainer. If you have children who play soccer, wouldn’t you prefer to play in a game where the entry fee goes to buying drinkable water for kids in Africa? Or to be able to explain to your child that his or her goal just saved a life? It’s amazing to me that NOT all games carry this kind of charity twist.  Seems like a much nobler goal than just taking home a trophy…

Kick for Hope has an amazing long-term goal to bring this event to other cities throughout the country and eventually evolve into a National KickforHope weekend. And I for one, hope we see this happen.

Please visit the Kick for Hope website for more info on how you can be part of this much needed and timely event.

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

Randy Moss Steps Up for Kids in Need

Randy Moss Steps Up for Kids in Need
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“It’s all about the kids,” Randy Moss on giving back to the community.

NFL New England Patriots Wide Receiver Randy Moss is all right by me. And I’ll tell you why…because for the last ‘how many years’ he’s addressed his controversy in the media-taking unnecessary hits for celebratory moons or making an illegal u-turn, all the while keeping mum about his charity work. Seems to me that dude needs a bit of good PR to illustrate that off the field-he’s matured into a mighty-mighty-fine man.

I wonder how many people are aware that last year Moss established the ‘Links for Learning’ Foundation? The foundation, which takes a special interest in giving back to the communities of his home state (West Virginia), plans to build learning centers in the most under served student populations.

Last year, Moss hosted a tournament at the Sleepy Hollow Golf Club in Hurricane to kick off his fundraising efforts…in January, Moss again flew under the radar and donated clothing and distributed food at St. John’s Episcopal Church…and next up was a charity softball game to benefit the Heath Evans Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children and families affected by sexual abuse…and I haven’t even mentioned the free backpacks he gave out to school kids in Boston…these are just a few examples of Moss’s good work that remain largely ignored by mainstream media.

Now, Moss has stepped up to help seriously ill children. His Foundation recently named the Starlight Children’s Foundation MidAtlantic as its latest recipient. With Moss’s donation, Starlight was able to purchase a ‘Fun Center’ for the Women and Children’s Hospital of Charleston West Virginia…and a Fun Center is exactly what it sounds like, Fun! It’s a portable bedside videogame/DVD/TV system equipped with 22 Nintendo Wii games.

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“Giving back to these children was important to me. Watching a young man, Nathan, demonstrate how to use the Wii and seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces, well, that’s what it’s all about,” said Moss. “It’s a shame these kids have to be in a hospital, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have some fun while they’re here. As a Dad, I can only imagine the difficult situations the parents of these children must be facing.”

Starlight MidAtlantic works with hospitals and seriously ill children in Washington, D.C., Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. Just last year, more than 216,000 children and their families benefited from Starlight programs. For more information please visit www.starlight-midatlantic.org.

And a big wet sloppy kiss goes to Randy Moss for loving the kids and making ‘em smile. We see you now Randy, we see you now.

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

Phelps’ Bong Load Benefits San Francisco Food Bank

Phelps’ Bong Load Benefits San Francisco Food Bank

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“So, though Kellogg’s and their star spokesman hit a patch of rough water, San Francisco’s hungry just got thrown a life preserver,” Food Bank spokeswoman Gayle Keck said.

The San Francisco Food Bank recently-and mysteriously -received nine pallets of Kellogg’s cereal…Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes to be precise. And yes, they were the remaining Michael Phelps ‘cover’ boxes that have been terrorizing families from grocery store shelves and warehouses.

The 8-time Olympic Gold Medallist lost the opportunity to renew his contract after the Keebler Elves spotted the oh-so-controversial photo of Phelps mid-bong load. So, Kellogg’s said no to renewing his deal but said yes to the Food Bank-we think. The boxes bearing Phelps, totaling two tons of cereal, were dropped off at the SF Food Bank without explanation. Kellogg’s has not admitted they were the donors, bit come on, we’re not that stoned that we can’t figure that the sudden appearance of 3,800 pounds of flakes indicates that someone was trying to get rid of ‘unwanted stock.’

San Francisco Food Bank executive director Paul Ash: “It’s a very tough item to get,” Ash said of cereal. “In the last six or eight years, it’s become very hard to get ahold of.”

And just like that, Michael Phelps-via his beautiful bong load- has forced Kellogg’s to feed a ton of hungry folks in San Francisco. Don’t it make ya just wanna jump-up jump-up and jump down…

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

Nuggets Versus Clippers Game Auction

Nuggets Versus Clippers Game Auction

On April 4 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, the Los Angeles Clippers will hoop it up against the Denver Nuggets. I don’t know about you kids, but the idea of watching Carmelo Anthony dribble around Baron Davis sounds like a night to remember…aside from a Nuggets win or a squeeze from Melo, the night could only get better if I were with 20 of my friends partying it up in a private suite-for charity of course.

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Thanks to the good peeps at Auction Cause, we’ve got another yummy auction on the block, this time benefiting the Starlight Children’s Foundation. The foundation helps seriously ill children and their families cope with their pain, fear and isolation through entertainment, education and family activities…so what better way to raise money for the kids than bid on this amazing package which includes: 20 tickets, 8 parking passes and a private suite filled with food and drink…Suite amenities include: Early access to the suite through the VIP entrance where you might see Melo frolicking around; comfortable seating in extra wide theater style seats in case Melo pops in and wants to sit on your lap; wet bar, refrigerator and ice maker (a-hem, a wet bar?); Cable television and internet access in case you wanna rub it in on Facebook; a personal suite attendant as hot as any Nuggets player; concierge services who will inform Melo when you’ve arrived; and access to the exclusive Club Level and its private restaurants and bars where one can only hope Melo would roll through.

The reason I tell you about these kinds of auctions are simple. Right now, the bidding is ONLY at $500. That may sound like a lot of money, but think about it this way- if you get a group of 20 friends together and go to the game, it comes out to $25 each! For a private suite? It’s a no brainer… if ya bid and win, let me know. Would love to hear if Carmelo Anthony really does stop by and say hello…you never know kids, you just never know, because after all, it is for charity.

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On another note, I’d like to petition Auction Cause to add a Dwight Howard experience to the line-up…preferably one with a wet-bar.

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