That’s the title of this post because his name is enough…next week, the Ten Time Word Surf Champ and long-standing King of all things Athlebrity, Kelly Slater, will be given a key to the city of Huntington Beach by Mayor Joe Carchio.
Now, what strikes me as criminal is this…the following PSA with King Slater has only been viewed 1,000 times on Youtube? Do we not wanna save our oceans? Why has the ‘Golf Boys” video gotten over 500k hits in a day while this breath-taking clip sits on the shelf collecting dust? Seriously, what’s not to like?
And if I were to tell you that Slater was chillen with the Dalai Lama last week for a youth panel, might you pay attention to what his passions are?
I chuckled to myself-loudly-as Lebron James slowly slipped off his throne. He should have never been put there in the first place…I only bring this up because I firmly believe that Slater is the most dominate athlete ever. Lebron is all things our sports heroes should NOT be. Slater is everything they should. Yes, I am comparing the two because it baffles me that fans would applaud the efforts of an athlete who has done nothing to better humanity while ignoring the efforts of someone who should be on the cover of Sports Illustrated already.
LUOL DENG: WORTH EVERY PENNY OF HIS NEW $70M+ CONTRACT
The Chicago Bulls have locked in their best player, Luol Deng, to a six-year contract reportedly worth between $70-80M. And Deng is worth every penny. Why? Aside from being a versatile player, he’s one of the NBA’s top humanitarians, right alongside Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Nash, Etan Thomas, and Juwan Howard. “Obviously we’re incredibly happy to get Luol signed,” general manager John Paxson said. “It’s the type of thing that gives him security and gives us the direction we’re going to go here in the future.”
Sudanese-born Deng’s direction was founded a long time ago when he met former NBA player Manute Bol. “I’m from a nation where my whole lifetime and the life before me have been struggling,” said Deng in USA Today when asked why it was important to give back to the community. “To be blessed and to do what I’m doing puts a smile on everybody’s face. It’s not just me that’s blessed. It’s all of us. The little things that Americans see every day, we don’t see that often. [Manute Bol’s] time was before me, so I just try to make things special for all the kids from Sudan instead of them hearing negative all the time.”
Earlier this year, I wrote a piece for Look to the Stars about Deng’s involvement with the Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan. On January 6, Deng joined the Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan to host the ‘Hope for Sudan Celebration’ at Truman College in Chicago. The celebration marked the third anniversary of Sudan’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and doubled as the official birthday of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” refugees (immigration paperwork marks January 1 as the birthday of all Sudanese boys). “Playing in the NBA is a dream come true. Charity work is something that is a lot more powerful. I enjoy basketball, but giving back is something a lot of people can’t do.” Deng moved to Britain at the age of nine when his family fled civil war. He spent his formative years in the United Kingdom before moving to the States at aged 14 to play basketball on a scholarship. And today, Deng is once again living up to his words.
Deng spent this afternoon at an NBA JamVan press event in Trafalgar Square (London), spreading that Deng-love to all the kids in attendance. Deng is kicking it with Britain’s national team for the upcoming European Championships. His new contract makes him one of the highest paid British athletes and you can be sure that some of that cash is gonna find its way to one of the numerous charities he supports, including the Chicago Chapter of the Lost Boys of Sudan and the World Food Program who he is a spokesperson for. This mighty-mighty-fine man has also traveled to Africa, Asia and Europe with the NBA as part of their Basketball Without Borders Tour and is a staunch supporter of ninemillion.org.
Keep it up Luol…we need more good guys out there inspiring us both on, and off the court.
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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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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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RONALDINHO TRANSFERS TO AC MILAN
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.
“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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LIGHTENING ROD O’ RAFA: 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7.
Could you hear me screaming? No doubt my Rafa-induced shrills of joy traveled all the way across the Pacific Ocean…my hands are blistered, my voice is gone and I may have suffered a minor coronary during the Wimbledon Men’s Final. Mother Nature was an evil, evil woman, stopping play more than once while she opened her arms to sprinkle rain on what could-be one of the best matches in history. Between the break points, rains delays, sudden deaths, match points, 18 cups of coffee I drank, 6 tranquilizers I swallowed and Rafa’s grunting, I don’t think I could have survived the night had they halted play due to weather or nightfall.
Prior to the Wimbledon, Roger Federer said: “I don’t think it matters really a lot if I’m the favorite or not,” Federer said. “I’m on an incredible winning streak on grass. First, somebody has to be able to break that before we start talking differently.” Okay, let’s start ‘talking differently’ now shall we?
The skies opened up over Wimbledon as our Lighten Rod ‘O Rafa wiped that smarmy smirk off the face of the Swiss Mister to win the Men’s Final at the All England Tennis Club. Nadal’s sexy Spanish prowess, precise rituals, and tantalizing on-court backhanded-gymnastics were nothing short of spectacular, and after losing the last two Wimbledon Finals to the Swiss Mister, it was beyond sensational to watch our precious Spaniard lift that trophy, kiss it, nibble on it and rejoice in a long overdue historical-stoppage of R-Fed’s oh-so-wonderful winning streak of five-Wimbledon titles.
Rafa was asked how he felt the moment he won: “Is impossible to explain what I feet in that moment,” he said, “Just very, very happy to win this tournement.” Even John McEnroe was blown away, “It’s the greatest match I’ve ever seen in my tennis career,” he said more than once during his post-match interview with Rafa. “Unbelievable effort, unbelievable,” said McEnroe, “It was the greatest match I have seen in my tennis career, how in the world did you do that?” Rafa replied with his natural humility, “I don’t know, I was crying like ten minutes because for Rafa is like dream for Wimbledon,” he said, “For the Spanish, Wimbledon always is very, very difficult…I try to be very concentrate…belief in the victory all the time and be more focused.” And with that, our Rafael Nadal becomes the first man to win Wimbledon and French Open in the same year since 1980…the rest, as they say, is history.
LEWIS HAMILTON FOUNDATION
Lewis Hamilton…I don’t care about the fact that you’re chasing supermodels around…I do care that you met the former President of South Africa and peace prize winner Nelson Mandela during his his 90th birthday bash in London. Hamilton even got a one-on-one with Mandela: “When I met him it was like walking in to see the king. To be put in front of god. To me, and millions of others around the world, Nelson Mandela has been a true inspiration and not only that, he’s a hero. He has fought bravely, suffered patiently, and forgiven absolutely. Only a truly special man can emerge from 27 years of unjust imprisonment, without rancour and without bitterness, and get straight back to work. Nelson Mandela has taught me the importance of self-belief, integrity, reconciliation and hope. By working together and looking to the future, we can make a difference and we can make a change.”
Don’t know about you, but I got goose bumps…true to his words, Hamilton has taken his first step towards making this world a little bit better by launching the Lewis Hamilton Foundation. The Lewis Hamilton Foundation (LHF) aims to provide funding to a range of existing charities and good causes while also developing its ‘Rise Above It’ program. The ‘Rise Above It’ program is about giving youth and their families access to the tools and the skills to develop their own path for the future by helping them identify their dreams and goals and helping them to achieve their objectives through life experiences and educational programs. The LHF also aims to support existing charities In the following categories: Seriously ill children and young people; Children and young people with disabilities; Helping children and young people out of poverty. (Lewis Hamilton Foundation) Need I say more?
A new website, Giovani, launched on Monday, with the goal of encouraging young people to express themselves on issues from politics to sex and sport. And who better to encourage ‘young people’ than AS Roma babe Francesco Totti. The new site allows users to upload their own videos, photos or other content, and encourage them to participate in forums of discussion…Totti shot a short video (that I can not find anywhere) in which he noted how important it was to allow young people to express themselves. “The silence of youth should scare us. We must not allow them to isolate themselves. Young and less young, should be allowed to speak about everything they hear and feel,” Totti said in the video message. “Come on youngsters, do not be silent. Speak, speak your mind.”
And in efforts to promote Totti’s message, here’s an older Pepsi ad featuring David Beckham and a young boy who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind. Priceless.
RONALDINHO’S ASIA TOUR SUMMER 2008
The two-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Ronaldinho, participated in a charity match in Venezuela last weekend, before heading to Tokyo to kick off his Asia Summer Tour…next stop: Seoul and Shanghai. And can you believe that the majority of Ronaldinho news is criticism over his weight? The critics seem to think he’s “hideously overweight” and refer him as the “little fat one.” After the charity game in Venezuela, Ronaldinho hinted that he might be saying buh-bye to Barcelona and hello to AC Milan? “Now I am thinking about working and returning to my level of play as soon as possible, it does not matter where,” Ronaldinho said after the game. “It was a beautiful story, everything that we conquered. The supporters will never forget it, just like I never will. Everywhere I go in Barcelona I am treated very heartily.” Ah- maybe avoid using the word “heartily” about now…
FRESH GOLD FOR THE WARRIORS
The 14th selection in the 2008 NBA Draft, Anthony Randolph (2nd-R) and second round selection Richard Hendrix (R) of the Golden State Warriors meet some children from the community following a press conference at ORACLE Arena June 30, 2008 in Oakland, California…love the new picks for the Warriors, they need some fresh blood, and with Baron Davis taking his ego to So-Cal, there’ll be pa-lenty of room for some good guys…within hours of the deadline on Tuesday, Baron opted out of the $17.8 million owed him in the final season of his six-year contract to sign with the Clippers and be to closer to the posee’s of weed stealing punks they got in Carson.
Brian Clay won the gold medal in the Decathlon with a score of 8,832 during day four of the U.S. Track and Field Olympic Trials on June 30, 2008 in Oregon. Clay’s score is his personal best, an Olympic Trials record and the best score by an American in 16 years…which definitely earns him some love from this girl.
RYAN SHECKLER STARTING YOUNG
If you’re a cougar with teenaged kids, then most likely you know who Ryan Sheckler is…he’s become a star in his own right by parlaying his skateboarding skills into a multimillion dollar career which includes the MTV reality show: Life of Ryan. But the young buck isnt just about skateboards and tattoos; he’s already giving back to the community and has just announced the Ryan Sheckler Celebrity Golf Tournement (July 29, 2008, Trump Golf Course, Palos Verdes, CA). Pretty amazing coming from a 19-year-old! (Who says you cant be young, rich and generous? (a-hem Lebron).
The X Games champ will host his first celebrity golf tournament for charity as part of the mission of his non-profit organization, The Sheckler Foundation. Kids got pull: celebrities such as Jerry O’Connell, Dean Cain, Kevin Federline, Brody Jenner and athletes, Mia Hamm, Bode Miller, Carey Hart, Travis Pastrana, and Dave Mirra have all agreed to tee off alongside Ryan to raise money for various charities. “I’ve always had a desire to help the kids who support me in my career and may not have had the same opportunities that I did,” Sheckler explained, “I have reached a point where I have the ability to give back, and I’m honored to have such a great response for this tournament from my professional colleagues and friends.” Charities benefiting from this contest include Wings for Life, a charity that funds scientific research into spinal cord injuries; Road 2 Recovery, which provides financial assistance to seriously injured motocross and supercross athletes and their families; The Athlete Recovery Fund, an organization which provides financial support for injured BMX, FMX, and Skateboard athletes, and Boarding for Breast Cancer, a non-profit youth focused organization that works to create awareness about the disease.
DOUG FLUTIE DOES IT BECAUSE HE WANTS TO
Doug Flutie held his ninth annual Doug Flutie, Jr. Celebrity Golf Classic last week, to raise money for autism. Doug and his wife established their foundation in 1998 to honor their son, Doug Jr., who was diagnosed with autism. The foundation raises money through events such as the golf tournament. “We do it because we want to do it, and it’s our life, and it’s for Dougie,” Doug said, “It’s not that big of an effort for us because it’s that important to us. We’ve been able to increase our grants year after year. Initially, the first year or two when we were giving grants, we were going through the paperwork, and we were reading the grant applications and giving them out. And then all of a sudden you get out there and you visit some of these schools that start up or a camp that starts up and you realize the impact you’re having, and that’s pretty special.” (Source)
SAY IT AINT SO ZO?
A $50,000 lawsuit was filed this month by the Wynn in Las Vegas…this time, Charles Barkley wasn’t named, but it does claim that Alonzo Mourning Charities, Inc. used the convention and meeting space for a fundraiser during the All-Star Week and hasn’t paid the bill. Now, I’m gonna give Zo a break until we learn more details…I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of inept ‘foundation or PR company’ employees in the past, so, not ripping on his admin peeps (just yet) but from my experience, many of the athletes foundations are run by twenty-something blond admin girls getting paid ten-bucks an hour and have no idea what they are doing-again, not saying this is the case at Zo’s Foundation…just saying I’ve seen this glitch in action before.
Ok, so when did our ballers turn into cardboard? The NBA Nation Tour event made a stop at Pier 17 in New York over the weekend, but I’m wondering if, in fact, any ‘real life’ babes were there? Granted, the cut outs of Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki are eerily lifelike and I wouldn’t mind a few of ‘em adorning my house…but come on, we at least need a pulse.
And it seems the trend is not limited to cardboard, according to the photo-cap for the above photo…’Milwaukee Bucks first round draft pick Joe Alexander rests next to a sculpture of a security guard on June 27, 2008 at the Bucks Training Center in St. Francis, Wisconsin.’ Huh? What? Why? The Bucks can’t hire a real guard?
MICHAEL PHELPS MAKE ME YELPS
Love going to Michael Phelps, who set a new world record of 4:05.25 after winning the final of the 400-meter individual medley during the U.S. Swimming Olympic Trials the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
As I look at the photos of Javon Walker partying it up at the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, I can’t help but feel sick to my stomach. One minute he’s having fun, the next he’s left as road kill. In case you missed the news from Sin City, early Monday morning, the Oakland Raider was beaten, robbed and left unconscious on a Las Vegas street after a night of partying…then I come across news of Arizona Cardinal J.J. Arrington getting arrested after a fight at a nightclub in Rocky Mount, N.C…Titans linebacker Ryan Fowler denies taking performance-enhancing drugs after he was linked to convicted steroids dealer David Jacobs, who was found dead with a female companion in his Plano, Texas, home earlier this month…Sadia Morrison, the Bronx woman who was involved in the Las Vegas brawl that police say NFL star Adam “Pacman” Jones’ incited, was found dead last week behind a Bronx building…Barry Bonds has pleaded not guilty to 15 felony charges of lying to a federal grand jury about his performance-enhancing drug use…and now The New York Times, citing an unidentified lawyer briefed on the issue, reported that Greg Anderson’s wife received a “target letter” from federal prosecutors in November, shortly after Bonds was indicted on perjury charges, advising her that she could be charged with conspiring to commit a crime against the federal government…
Day after day, as I sit here and post pretty pictures of our sexy athletes doing good things, I find it incredibly frustrating to NOT come across more coverage of the celebrity athletes who have made good role models. The general public flocks to sites like Deadspin or Perez Hilton in efforts to get their daily dose of dirt while ‘journalists’ chase down leads on TomKat sightings or the latest news on the birth from a celebrity who-shouldn’t-be-having-kids-and-why-do-we-care-anyway?
There is a very dirty and dark side to sports. I’ve seen and heard things I wouldn’t wish upon any sports fan- my bubble has burst and I’ve had just about enough of the scandals, steroids, rapes, party’s gone wrong, affairs, fights, drug dealing hoopsters, gun toting ballers, etc. Since the release of the Mitchell Report, ‘Game of Shadows’, ensuing testimony from Clemens and his side-kick-personal trainer, Brian McNamee, we’ve been given a front row seat to that circus, but hidden within the text, testimony and ‘archived’ news stories, there is a much larger issue which is not being addressed in the sports section. And the dark side I’m referring to isn’t steroids and baseball. This isn’t about who, what, where, when or why some athletes birthed a scandal that has forever tainted America’s favorite past time. Its about the victims of the cover-up, scandal and ongoing injustice done to women who have fallen prey to athletes who have been empowered by society, the media, steroids and yes-even some teams-that don’t want anyone to know how deep and dirty the secrets go. No one wants to say the dirty word, but I will. It’s called ‘rape.’ With the world focused on tainted home-run records, asterisks, and the integrity of the sports world, I think its high time people are aware that the integrity of many women has been stolen from them. Because believe me, its happening, has happened, and will continue to happen unless someone addresses the issue.
One example comes from Camp Clemens. In October of 2001, Brian McNamee, while employed by the Yankees, was caught having sex with a woman in Florida at the team hotel. According to police reports, she had allegedly been given a near lethal dose of GHB (aka the ‘date-rape’ drug) and McNamee held onto her until a hotel employee noticed she was incapacitated and asked him to stop. Other players watched as McNamee ‘raped’ this woman, but because she was having an affair with a married Yankees employee, she didn’t press charges. A few months later, the Yankees quietly let McNamee go, but Clemens and Pettitte kept using him as their personal trainer. Stories of infidelity are rampant in the sports world, yet I have the utmost respect for this woman, whoever she is, and despite the fact that she was having an affair with a ‘married’ Yankee. To add insult to injury- Clemens and Pettitte-knowing McNamee’s propensity for violence-kept him on their payroll, while the Yankees washed their hands of it by taking McNamee off their payroll, but still kept him linked to the team by proxy. I’m sure this woman was given a hefty-lump of hush money and sent packing. But hush money doesn’t restore dignity or self respect. Money doesn’t make the nightmares go away or heal the humiliation. Money can’t give this woman what McNamee took from her by force and without consent.
In essence, my focus has shifted. Athlebrities is getting a face lift. Gone are the days of the simple objectification of our hotties. Mixed within the vortex of the complicated world of professional athletes, there are some really, really good men (and women) out there using their fame to raise money for good causes…donating countless hours and cash to bring awareness to starving kids in Africa, the still-Katrina-ravaged areas of New Orleans, the homeless people on our streets, children with AIDS, abused or neglected animals, autism, illiteracy, etc…the list is as endless as their generosity. I wanna hear the feel-good stories and I want you to feel inspired instead of reading about all the garbage…this doesn’t mean that you won’t find Camilo Villegas crawling across my posts, or information on Team Italy activities…but you will read more about the good guys and their charity events. You will read more about who, what, when and where these athletes will be in order to meet their fans and raise money for good causes.
Because really, isnt it time we replace the bad-guys on the pedestal with the ones who really deserve it?
BARKLEY ANTE’S UP FOR AFRICA The 2008 Ante Up For Africa Poker Tournament at the World Series of Poker will be held on July 2 at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The event, which raises money and awareness for the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, raised more than $700,000 last year, and this year, you can expect them to raise even more…thanks in part to Sir Charles Barkley, who kept good on his “not gambling” promise during the Pro Team Sports Challenge despite the fact that the event was held, in part, at a casino. “We were at a casino and he said he was on the wagon,” said Jason Kidd, a participant in the Pro Team Challenge. “He’s strong. He didn’t gamble. I think Charles, once he decides not to do something, I think he’s pretty good at keeping his word.” Barkley has pledged to donate all of his winnings to one of the two designated charities if he wins the event in Vegas…Past celebrities, athletes and poker professionals giving some love to Darfur via the Ante Up For Africa Poker Tournament include: Ben Affleck, Jason Alexander, Hank Azaria, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Cheryl Hines, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Romano, Adam Sandler, Martin Sheen, Donnie Wahlberg, Montel Williams, Doyle Brunson, Annie Duke, Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Ferguson, Jamie Gold, Phil Gordon, Barry Greenstein, Joe Hachem, Jennifer Harman, Phil Hellmuth, Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Mike Matusow, Daniel Negreanu, and many others.
STEVE NASH CLEATS UP FOR CHARITY
Steve Nash is taking off his sneakers and putting on some cleats to take part in the “Showdown in Chinatown” celebrity soccer match for charity. The face-off, which includes New York Red Bulls midfielder Claudio Reyna along with celebrity athletes from two of the most beautiful games in the world-soccer and basketball- takes place in New York City on June 25. Nash and Reyna will be joined by former Liverpool FC stars Steve McManaman and Robbie Fowler as well as NBA players Raja Bell (R), Leandro Barbosa, Nate Robinson and David Lee.
LUOL DENG: WHAT A MIGHTY FINE MAN
His name should be familiar to you if you’ve been a regular reader of mine…Chicago Bull Luol Deng. Remember his name. He’s one of the good guys-right alongside Dikembe Mutombo, Steve Nash and Yao Ming-in terms of really, really making a difference in this world, but specifically for his work with the NineMillion.org campaign. Deng has been a staunch supporter of the cause, donating $50 for every basket he scored to the organization that helps more than nine million refugee children gain better access to education, technology and everything else we take for granted.
Today, Deng, who is a former refugee from Sudan, will receive the 2008 UN Refugee Agency’s Humanitarian of the Year Award at World Refugee Day in Washington, D.C. ”I am honored to receive the UNHCR’s ‘Humanitarian of the Year’ Award,” Deng said. “Giving back is important to me. The ninemillion.org campaign is a cause that is very close to my heart, and I am committed to helping refugees make a new life for themselves.”
LAKERS DIDN’T EAT THEIR WHEATIES
“It’s about team,” Garnett said. “That’s right up my alley. I’ve never been a selfish guy, or a selfish player. It’s so much motivation coming in here every day with the banners on the wall, and seeing the ex-players coming in. As soon as you come through the doors, see those banners and see the jerseys and the pictures, you know that you’re around something special.”
Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo gave us on hell of a show. But when Kevin Garnett put his cap on after the game, bowed his head and cried, I felt his emotion, and that of the entire stadium filled with love and adoration for a team that rightly deserved the NBA Finals Trophy. Sorry Lakers fans, but a 131-92 beating pretty much ends the debate as to who the real warriors were last night. It doesn’t matter which team you wanted to win, the heart and soul the Celtics displayed through their emotions, skills, and genuine love for the game was so overwhelming that if Garnett didn’t make you cry just-a-lil-bit when he said “I got my own, I got my own!” into Bill Russell’s ear, then perhaps you should’ve been watching something else.
Nothing like a little known reporter getting her fifteen minutes…ESPN.com columnist Jemele Hill was suspended yesterday after writing: “Rooting for the Celtics is like saying Hitler was a victim. It’s like hoping Gorbachev would get to the blinking red button before Reagan.” Sure, she apologized…after the backlash. “Jemele has been relieved of her writing and on-air responsibilities for a period of time to reflect on the impact of her words,” ESPN spokesman Paul Melvin said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
WBCN radio hosts Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb got the ‘fire-her-ball’ rolling when they called her a hypocrite-based in part on a April 2007 piece where Hill called for radio host Don Imus to be fired for his controversial 2007 “nappy-headed hos” comment. “He is routinely offensive to people of color and women,” Hill wrote, “and if he needs to lose his job to understand that there is no place for that, so be it.” Maybe during her suspension, Jemele can shop for a tiny Celtics jersery to fit the Hitler doll?
CARLOS SANTANA & SOME SUPERBOWL CHAMPS
Last night, the party was on at Samsung’s seventh annual Four Seasons of Hope gala that generated $1.1 million for several charities that aid children and families. Host Regis Philbin, was joined by co-hosts Michael Strahan, and dancing babe Jason Taylor. Other heavy hitters who enjoyed a stellar perfomance by Carlos Santana while bidding on silent auction items such as an “Ultimate Santana Package,” included former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Wayne Gretzky, Arnold Palmer, Joe Torre, Boomer Esiason and Dan Marino.
“It is so rewarding to be able to come out and work with a first-class organization such as Samsung on a night like this,” said Santana. “We had a great crowd and were able to raise a lot of money for the charities Samsung’s Four Seasons of Hope program supports. It’s not often you get such an eclectic group of athletes and celebrities together in one room, but when you do, special things happen and we were able to help a lot of children and families in need in the process.” Santana’s live performance was delivered from the heart, as his Milagro Foundation was one of the benefiting charities. To date, the event has raised more than $12M for charities.
That’s all I got for ya today kids…except for a big shout-out to Rocco-who should have been kissing that trophy instead of you-know-who.
As always, thanks for reading. firstname.lastname@example.org
MANNING THE MEN
Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning held a Fathers Day reunion at the NERF Father’s Day Football Throwdown to help city residents celebrate their fathers. During the promotional event at Chelsea Piers in NY, Archie revealed the secret to manufacturing kids that have grown up to nab the last two Super Bowl MVP awards: Daddy Peyton used to play a game with them called ‘Amazing Catches.’ He’d throw the ball just out of their reach to force them into a diving grab…”This has been special, “said Peyton, “With Eli here in New York, and my dad and older brother Cooper in New Orleans and I’m in Indianapolis, we’re not together as a group very often. So this has been a special time, and throwing the football is something that we used to do a lot growing up as kids and it’s been a fun day today being here with all these kids and parents.” In connection with the event, toy company Hasbro made a donation to the Manning’s PeyBack Foundation, which provides disadvantaged youth with growth opportunities and a leadership program.
SAINT KEVIN KAESVIHARN
Aside from an article hidden somewhere in the Bangkok newspaper, I couldn’t dig up much more info on this…cutie Kevin Kaesviharn of the New Orleans Saints gave a traditional Thai greeting known as a “wai” before a football clinic for kids at the Chaopraya Wittayakorn School in Bangkok. Seems we’re celebrating 175 years of diplomatic relations between Thailand and the United States…who knew?
AS YOU WISH
If you’ve ever been to India then you’re extremely familiar with the term “as you wish” coming from the mouth of a wobbly-headed local. This is by no-means an insult- I’ve traveled throughout India and love the people, culture, history, poverty, crowds, food and dusty roads that lead you to the Ganges…so I had to chuckle to myself at the thought of our ballers getting their malaria pills and Hep-A-shots before hitting up the karmic center of the universe…since Basketball without Borders launched in 2001, our ballers have gone around the globe and back-from China, South America, France and South Africa…and now, these guys are in for a rude awakening when the NBA stages its first-ever event in New Delhi July 3–6.
Gotta thank the Lakers and Celtics for giving us one hell of a play-off series. It’s a struggle for me…I wanna see Garnett-Pierce-Allen flashing some hefty bling on their fingers-but Kobe & Co are putting up an incredible defense and some wicked shots to the delight of their star-studded fans. Coach Jack Nicholson was going nuts as the Lakers beat the Celtics 103-98 in Game Five.
Lakers courtside heat included: Cobi Jones, Chris Tucker, Terrell Owens, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Mark Wahlberg, Matt Damon, Penny Marshall, Tom Arnold, Sylvester Stallone, Robert Downey Jr., Jeffrey Katzenberg and just about anyone else that wasn’t in San Diego watching Rocco take on Tiger Woods.
ROCCO’D MY WORLD
As Tiger and Rocco go head-to-head today in the US Open Playoff, I’m not too concerned over who is gonna win. The final round itself was enough to make me lose my voice and I’m pretty sure I could hear the crowd at Torrey Pines from my house a few miles down the coast. In any event, and as much as I don’t like Tiger off-the-greens, I was dumbstruck at the shots his was landing. I was also relishing in the fresh-attitude brought to the greens by Rocco Mediate. I think he best personifies the joy of the sport and the thrill of competition without getting caught up in the magnitude of the situation. His all encompassing joy was about infectious as any I’ve seen coming from the sports world and I would love nothing better than to see him kissing the trophy when I eventually check the final round score.
Lost in the crowd, but not in my heart were of course, Camilo Villegas (who I will never call a “pink flamingo”), Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Adam Scott. My spies hanging at the Lodge told me that Adam Scott fell off the leaderboard after enjoying a few drinks with his pals, before one of them accidentally slammed Adams hand in the car door as he was closing it…
GRASS, CLAY, BOTH GOOD, YES?
“This week was amazing for me,” Rafael Nadal said after claiming his first career grass-court title Sunday. Our sexy tapa defeated Novak Djokovic 7-6 (5), 7-5 in the Queen’s Club final to become the first and sexiest Spaniard to win on grass in 36 years. Nadal is also the first player to win at Roland Garros and Queen’s Club in the same year since Ilie Nastase in 1973. “Wimbledon is very, very important tournament, and the motivation is 100 percent,” Nadal said. “Doesn’t matter if I am tired mentally. Physically is a little bit more important, but I think physically I’m fine.” Indeed you are Rafa, indeed you are.
The Magic Johnson Foundation, along with the Lakers’ legend himself, and director Spike Lee have teamed up to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS for two PSA’s, “Stand” and “Talk”. Lee directed the spots that feature Magic and his powerhouse of a wife Cookie encouraging the public to get informed about the disease, especially the younger population. “I think a lot of times we just don’t have the information,” Magic said, “Especially young people. They think they’re invincible and nothing can happen to them but the numbers are showing that those getting HIV are real young now. We have to now do something about that. If it was 16, 17, 18, 19 years ago you should be afraid because you don’t know what might happen and people were dying at alarming rates,” he says. “Now you have almost 30 drugs that can take care of you, and you can live a healthy and long life.”
A POKER BBQ PARTY FOR CHARITY
On July 1, the TANK at the Golden Nugget will host the Sixth Annual World Series of BBQ & Phil Ivey Charity Poker Event. Ivey wants you to join he and his hot poker buddies (a-hem, Antonio Esfandiari), and other poker pro’s & celeb’s including Phil Laak, Jennifer Tilly, Mike Matusow, Jennifer Harman, Carrot Top, a few Brunsons, Annie Duke, David Hasselhof, Chris Moneymaker, Daniel Negreanu, and Vince Neil to compete in some off-the-hook festivities such as Chutes & Ladders, Battleship, Operation, Hula-Hoops, and most importantly Phil Ivey’s $1000 No-Limit hold’em Charity Poker Tournement to benefit his new Budding Ivey Foundation. See my charity events page for more info and visit the Budding Ivey Foundation to learn about all the great things Ivey is doing to give back to the communities.
NADAL: FOURTH TIMES A CHARM
It took Rafael Nadal less than two hours to defeat Roger Federer (6-1, 6-3, 6-0) and win his fourth consecutive title at Roland Garros. Sunday’s victory also gave Rafa some impressive numbers to add to his resume: 28-0 for his career at the French Open; 115-2 on clay since April 2005; and 22-1 in clay-court finals. “I am humble,” Nadal said, “but the numbers are the numbers. If I am playing my best tennis ever, I’m never going to win 6-1, 6-3, 6-0 against Roger Federer, no? For sure, it’s impossible,” the second-ranked Nadal said. “He didn’t play very well. Everybody knows that.”
During the trophy ceremony, Federer, of course, didn’t smile and our classy Tapa felt compelled to apologize: “Roger, I’m sorry.” But, FINALLY, it seems that the Swiss Mister has reached into his soul and yanked outta a little bit ‘o praise for the King of Clay. “He dominated from the first point until the end,” said Federer, “It’s the strongest Rafa that I’ve ever seen. He was more dominant than the previous years. He no longer plays short balls, the way he did in the past. You can no longer attack him on his forehand, the way I could in the past. He is getting much more aggressive, and it’s becoming much more difficult…I still go out of this tournament with a positive mind-set. Not with a mind-set: ‘Oh my God, I had no chance today.’” Shhhh…you almost won me over with ‘strongest Rafa you’ve ever seen’…don’t blow it now R-Fed.
CIAO MY PRECIOUS COW-BELLS
Italy is feeling the pain in Fabio Cannavaro’s leg as much as the benched hottie is. Italy was powerless against the Netherlands who delivered a crushing 3-0 victory to my boys while I was out frolicking in the desert…all hope may not be lost though if Luca Toni can manage to pull some mojo outta his hat when they attack the weakest link in the Group of Death: Romania.
KATS IN MY YARD
Oh yeah…the US Open hot-hot-hotties have converged in my hood in attempts to tackle the greens at Torrey Pines while effectively dodging a certain redhead. Last time I checked, we had about 10,000 peeps per day for the Buick, and estimates for the Open are nearing 1000,000. This means traffic, closed roads, shuttle buses, no parking and long lines. You can certainly expect me to be there at some point in efforts to help Ian Poulter find better things to do with his time than watch videos of himself…
And I am also painfully aware that Justin Timberlake and Tony Romo were kicking it at the Pines over the weekend, but since I’ve already molested Justin Timberlake in Vegas, and Romo has been tainted by a certain blond, I preferred to be in the desert raising awareness for the Pro Team charities…
SIR CHARLES BARKLEY AND BUDDIES TEE OFF FOR CHARITY
Charles Barkley, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson, Michael Strahan, Ozzie Smith, George Brett, Clyde Drexler, Jason Kidd, George Gervin, Kenny Smith, Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull, Grant Fuhr, Pierre Larouche…all of ‘em in one place for the entire weekend? Indeed. The Pro Sports Team Challenge issued a call to all the above named hotties to take part in a charity golf-event to determine which sport has the best golfers. After watching ‘em tee off, take bunker shots, and hit outta the rough for three days, I’ve got a pretty good idea of who I’d want to be on my team…but mums the word on which team came out victorious- you’ll have to watch the broadcast on Fox Sports Net June 28 and 29 unless an unscrupulous member of the media decides to leek the info…
The players were competing for a total purse of $250,000 for charity. The USO was earmarked by Team Basketball in efforts to help comfort our hard working military. Team Football didn’t stop smiling all weekend as they hoped to make a hefty donation to Operation Kids. Team Hockey, led by cancer survivor Mario Lemieux, chose Hockey Fights Cancer as their beneficiary, and finally, Team Baseball was swinging away for the Baseball Assistance Team in efforts to help the families of players who have fallen on tough times.
The desert heat was brutal, but you would never know it by watching these guys. Dressed sharp, in Team shirts clearly marked with their charity-choice logo across the front, the hotties didn’t seem remotely phased by the sun as they smiled, chatted with each other, signed autographs for fans, and focused on winning big bucks for their chosen charities.
Commissioner Charles Barkley was having a blast, despite the fact that the event was held at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino- yes, at a casino. But the big guy was quick to address the issue during the VIP party: “It flat out sucks to be in a casino and not gamble” he said, “I thought I was going to break out in a rash last night. I can’t gamble for four years so its really gonna suck the next four years of my life. I guess there’s going to be a lot of money for my family to fight over when I keel over one day.” I should mention at this point that Martin Short was the ‘entertainment’ for the night…but general consensus was that Sir Charles stole the show from Short-who’s jokes fell a bit short (pun intended) and Barkley gave a deliciously wicked speech to the poolside crowd…More than one great quote crept outta his mouth, but perhaps the most memorable? “Please be careful as you drink and drive ’cause that’s a very dangerous thing. You know they got a bunch of old people up here (in Palm Springs) so you have to factor that in when you’re drinking and driving.”
Several more memorable quotes are locked in the vault-as they came during a sound check while Fox Sports was preparing to interview him. I do believe that the reporter’s face will give you an indication of what Sir Charles was up to… The VIP party was awesome, to say the least. Massive shout out to MP for taking great care of this girl and working his ass off to ensure that rouge PR people and paparazzi-type photogs were properly yanked and spanked…he did a phenomenal job and should be commended for it…so, back to the party…the first stop for me, of course, was the bar. Standing next to me was ‘Hercules’ himself, Mr. Kevin Sorbo. Admittedly, I don’t know Hercules from a hole in the ground, but I do know Sorbo has been at almost every charity event I’ve attended (and I do believe that he finally remembers my name)…but the reason I mention him is because he is kicking-butt in the charity world and couldn’t have been more sincere in his efforts. Sorbo’s charity is World Fit for Kids and he’s just earned a major nod from the Governator for his Foundations work. Sorbo didn’t hesitate to give me an interview for Look to the Stars, so a big thank you to him for taking the time to speak with me and for all his hard work at helping thousands of kids in Los Angeles. (The interview will be posted this week and I will most definitely let ya know when it is)…
Also at the VIP Party was Dennis Haysbert, aka Snake Doc from one of my all time favorite shows, the ‘Unit.’ As usual, I had to give him a massive hug. “I adore you” seeped outta my mouth before I could duct tape it shut. “Bless you,” he said after taking the time to indulge in my photo request. Seriously, my list of ‘must-squeeze celebrities’ has dwindled to almost nothing. Thank you Dennis Haysbert from your number one Betty Blue in So-Cal.
For all ya hockey fans out there, try this on for size…the after party…Team Hockey is there…keep in mind that I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed when it comes to knowing most of the athletes I meet. I know names, what sport they play and their charities…I’d like to blame the Vodka for my blurred thinking, but I cant because I say stupid things even when I’m sans Vodka…no ones perfect right? Anyway, either I forgot or didn’t know that Mario Lemieux played with the Penguins for 11 years before he bought the team in 1999. So what did I do? I asked him which team he wanted to win the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the Penguins or the Red Wings…yeah, I did. Thankfully, everyone laughed as hard as I did. Pretty sure Mario won’t forget me anytime soon…I did ask Lemieux how he felt about Tiger Woods’ ‘not caring about hockey’ comments, and he gracefully replied: “I think Tiger was just caught off guard and I didn’t take any offense to it.” All in all, he couldn’t have nicer- the same goes for the entire Team Hockey-especially Grant Fuhr who is not only adorable but signed just about every autograph the fans hit him up for. Fuhr also saved me from heat stroke…a shortage of golf carts led to long walks around the greens, but Fuhr and his buddy politely picked up this red headed hitchhiker and whisked her into the shade.
Gotta give some love to homeboy LaDainian Tomlinson as well. I think he’s finally warming up to me and I couldn’t have been more proud of the Charger babe who graciously stopped for all the young LT fans sporting his jersey and chasing him with Sharpies. Ain’t nothing gives me the warm-fuzzies like watching athletes make some kids day. Well done LT.
More love going to the super-smooth and always cool Clyde Drexler, who I’m awarding with the ‘Best Smelling Athlete” prize. His fresh cologne was lingering in the air each time I spoke with him and I couldn’t resist giving him a Delinda-squeeze. Second place for best smelling? LaDainian, who exited the elevator prior to me getting in…don’t know what cologne he had on, but I’ve never inhaled as deeply as I did in that empty elevator in hopes that D2 could smell it all the way in No-Cal…Im also gonna give out a ‘Never Stopped Smiling’ award to John Elway. Seriously, for three days he had a grin plastered across his face- if his ball landed in the sand, he was smiling…if ten kids rushed him for an autograph, he was smiling…if other players tried to shake his concentration, he was smiling…wish I could have snapped a photo of he and his wife in the pool, floating around with a beer in one hand, smiling. But hey- I got ethics and wouldn’t have dared gone pool-side paparazzi on Elway, Jason Kidd, Kenny Smith or any others who were chillen by the pool trying to cool off after a long day on the greens.
Aside from this being a massive endorsement for the charities, four lucky people won a sweepstakes, which awarded them an all-expense paid trip to the event, including a spot in the Pro-Am. Two of the winners, Matt Lesage and Brandon Akey, sat down and spoke to us about their experience. Both these guys won by playing on-line poker. Lesage was inspired Team Hockey, as he is a big hockey fan. “I played with Pierre Larouche in the Pro-Am,” he told me, “Mario Lemieux, Pierre, Grant, all those guys were so nice. Pierre is a great guy and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him’” he said, “At first though, I was a bit skeptical on how the athletes were going to act towards someone like me, not being a big golfer, but they were all class acts and they couldn’t have been nicer. Really top notch guys, all of ‘em.” While Lesage was hyped to play golf, he was also keen on the fact that this was for charity. “I heard Team Hockey talking about Hockey Fights Cancer, and a lot of people in my family had cancer so it made me really happy to be part of it. I just had a blast, couldn’t have had a better time. All these guys inspire me.” The other winner, 20 year-old Brandon Akey, came all the way from Ohio to play with the big boys. His story made me proud to be part of this event. “I’m only 20 years old and this is only the second time I’ve been out of Ohio, the last time I took a trip was to Florida when I was a kid and suddenly I’m here playing golf with these guys.” Brandon played in the Pro-Am with basketball legend, George Gervin. “He was such a good guy. Whenever we hit bad shots he was really cool and supportive, he said ‘that’s all right, we’re a team, its like basketball.’”
Another participant, who perhaps best captures the spirit of the event by making her own tax-rebate-check donation to the USO, will be interviewed for the article on Look to the Stars. It’s an amazing story of generosity and kindness and I can’t wait to share it with the world.
Four more shout outs here…first, Jay Flemma from the Golfspace for falling in the water, walking the entire course for four days in the heat, and keeping most of us engaged with his linguistic skills…Tony Korologos, perhaps one of the best (golf) bloggers alive, spent most of his time blogging live on his Hooked on Golf Blog…and provided us with this fantastic video…check out their stuff for detailed coverage of the action on the greens. And also Debbie Dahmer of Big Break III was awesome and spends more time than I do chasing hot golfers and covering their charity events.
It’s not too late to donate to the charities involved, visit the Team Challenge website, sign up as a ProCoach and $1.00 goes to the charity of your choice. If I can get even one of you to donate, my weekend was well worth it.
All photos from the event are linked up. Please go to the ‘Event Photos’ link at the top of the page.
EURO 2008 CELEBRATION
Too bad we don’t embrace soccer like the good peeps in Europe do- actually embrace isn’t the correct word- ‘celebrate’ is more like it. The party is really heating up ahead of the Euro championships (June 7-29) in Austria and Switzerland…just unveiled at the Zurich train station-giant blow-up dolls statues of hotties from the different national football teams: Michael Ballack and Philipp Lahm from Germany, Karim Benzema and Patrick Vieira from France, Angelos Charisteas from Greece, Petr Cech from the Czech Republic, Cristain Chivu from Romania, David Villa from Spain, Tanquillo Barnetta from Switzerland, Andreas Ivanschitz from Austria and Robin van Persie from the Netherlands.
And only in Europe would you see ‘provisional hooligan prisons’. The prison is set up at the Palexpo exhibition hall and was built to keep arrested hooligans in custody during the Euro 2008 football tournament…in efforts to calm down imprisoned hooligans, authorities are providing reading material for those who aren’t too drunk to read straight. Books available for hooligans to start a religious riot over? The Bible, a Jewish Siddour, several copies of the New Testament and the Quran. Personally, I think a few copies Playboy would have been far less of a risk.
‘KICKING IT’ NARRATED BY COLIN FARRELL
Kicking It is a new documentary, directed by Susan Koch, that follows seven players in the Homeless World Cup, an annual street soccer competition involving teams from 50 countries. As narrator and Executive Producer Colin Farrell observes, “Through the simple and beautiful game of football the complex struggle to find meaning and purpose in life is being won by over 20 thousand homeless people all over the world.” (Kickingitthefilm.com). ‘Kicking It’ opens June 13 New York, June 27 Los Angeles and Washington DC….Please take 3:11 out of your life to watch this video-if it doesn’t give the chills, or cause you to shed a tear, then you are most definitely on the wrong blog.
THANK YOU GAEL MONFILS
French player Gael Monfils was victorious over Spanish babe David Ferrer at the French Open. Monfils won 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1…and yes, I know I haven’t given Nadal a birthday shout-out (Happy B-day Rafa) but I ain’t never seen our Spanish tapa flex as well as Monfils…
HAMILTON READY FOR CANADA
Sunday the Canadian Grand Prix will be run…look for Lewis Hamilton as he attempts to win the event for the second year in a row.
GET INVOLVED WITH THE PRO TEAM
This girl is off to Palm Springs for the Pro Sports Team Challenge Golf Tournament where sports greats Mario Lemieux, Charles Barkley, Drew Brees and Ozzie Smith will be leading pro sports teams in the first ever pro sports team challenge golf competition in palm spring for top charities…online and mobile fan strategy and voting called ProCoach will impact scoring like American Idol – a first in sports! WHO: Top sports stars and legends of Pro Football, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey including John Elway, Drew Brees, LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Strahan will play as Team Football; Kenny Smith, Jason Kidd, Clyde Drexler and George Gervin are Team Basketball; George Brett, Vince Coleman, Bret Saberhagen and Smith make up Team Baseball and Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull, Grant Fuhr and Pierre Larouche are Team Hockey. Charles Barkley is also on board as the Team Challenge Commissioner. WHAT: Pro Sports Team Challenge Golf Tournament (1/2 of the action on course and 1/2 of the action online and via mobiles) WHEN: Pro Am – June 6, 2008 beginning at 8:30 am PT Pro Sports Team Challenge Tournament – June 7 and 8, 2008, beginning at 8:30 am PT. WHERE: Eagle Falls Golf Club at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino (near Palm Springs, CA.) 84-245 Indio Springs Parkway, Indio California WHY: Never before have the super stars of all 4 major sports teamed up by sport to see which team has the best golfers (bragging rights) and to raise a lot of money for 4 great charities. Basketball legend Charles Barkley also brings his analysis and fun to the competition as the Team Challenge Commissioner. The online and mobile fan participation of this tournament is terrific with American Idol-like strategy and voting, which will impact scoring for the first time in sports!
STEVE NASH: WALK OF FAME
Steve Nash has become the 20th inductee from the world of sports to receive a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame (others include Bobby Orr, Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Jacques Villeneuve). Nashty’s induction will be held on Sept. 6, and televised on a date to be announced later. The sexy Sun is currently frolicking around the Caribbean and not available for comment…Among the other inductees to be added to Canada’s Walk of Fame in Toronto: Bryan Adams, k.d. lang, Michael J. Fox, Frances Bay, James Cameron, supermodel Daria Werbowy and the Kids in the Hall comedy troupe…And if you are one of those people that collect rubber wristbands for a cause, they got some cool NBA ones available with the proceeds going to prostate cancer research. The special edition NBA player wristbands feature 18 players with team colors, names, signatures and uniform numbers. Steve Nash’s are sold out, but you can still support the cause and get an Iverson, Wade, Kidd, Billups or Hamilton one, among others. (Prostate Cancer Foundation)
TIGER WOODS SINKS TO ANOTHER LEVEL
So let me get this straight…Tiger Woods kept mum when you-know-who created havoc with her “take him into an alley and lynch him” comments, but during a news conference Monday, he felt it was okay to –excuse me- piss all over the NHL? During the news conference, Woods was asked whether he was rooting for the Red Wings or the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals Monday night: “I don’t really care,” he said “It’s all about the Dodgers. I don’t think anyone really watches hockey anymore.”
Funny thing is-I live in sunny So-Cal and know more NHL fans than Dodger fans. In fact, I can honestly say in the 20 years I’ve been here, I have never heard anyone say “Lets go to a Dodger game.” So rest assured Tiger, there’ll be pa-lenty of seats for ya at Dodger Stadium next time you’re in town…such a pity that a man with great talent doesn’t think before he speaks, and when he does-he has nothing productive to say.
Celtics beast Rajon Rondo is a great example of on-court quickness, agility and playmaking skills and has even inspired the phrase, “You Got Rondo’d!” Now, former Celtics and Patriots stars have teamed up to support the Reebok athlete and demonstrate how to ‘Rondo’ people in everyday life. Check out the videos featuring former Celtic greats, Jo Jo White and Dee Brown and New England Patriot, Vincent Wilfork on You Tube and on Reebok.com.
BO-SOX FAN GONE KRAZY
Ain’t nothing better than an unruly fan interrupting a game and making security look like a bunch of fools. Eighth-inning, Boston V Tampa at Fenway. Priceless.
PROPS TO STEVE FRANCIS
Houston Rocket Steve Francis and his daughter Shailyn gave some support to the WNBA at the Reliant Arena on June 3. The Houston Comets took on the San Antonio Silver Stars…and while I haven’t a clue about anything WNBA, I will certainly pay closer attention to hot ballers with their adorable kids watching the ladies hoop it up….
KOBE JUMPS BLACK MAMBA’S
I am NOT a Jackass fan, but this is a phenomenal continuation of the Kobe’s public image repair campaign….
WHILE I WAS SLEEPING
Earlier this month, NBA hotties and soccer babes held my libido hostage and forced me to ignore the hotness prowling around at the AT&T Classic in Georgia. My kitten got down and dirty, finished in third place (wahoo!) and finally, Matt Sullivan from Getty Images snapped an are-you-kidding-me photo-from behind of Camilo Villegas. ‘Nough said.
THE NOAH’S APPLE TREE
Today, President of the French Tennis Federation Christian Bimes and Former French tennis champion Yannick Noah unveiled the ‘Allee of Yannick Noah’ (walking path) at the French Tennis Open, at Roland Garros, in Paris. Noah is celebrating his victory 25 years ago, which was the last singles victory for a Frenchman at Roland Garros…ironically, this comes a few days after his precious offspring, Joakim Noah gets busted for drinking in public and having a stash o’herbage in his pocket…“I don’t understand all that fuss for just drinking a beer on the street,” Yannick Noah said Tuesday at the French Open. “I talk to him every day on the phone, he’ll soon come over to France to see me.” After Daddy won the French Open in 1983, he created a bit of a scandal when he told a magazine writer he smoked weed. I guess the French ain’t so bad after all.
YAO MING’S AFTERSHOCK
Sunday, Yao Ming was at Lowe’s Motor Speedway shooting hoops with NASCAR drivers and learning how to change tires from Kyle Petty’s pit crew as part of a promotion with Coca-Cola.
But the big sensitive guy remains focused on the devastating after effects of the earthquake that hit China. “We have a long way to go to create a new place for the people who don’t have a place to stay right now,” Yao said. “Every day the number is going up. This morning it was over 62,000 people killed. We are very sad for the people we have lost in the earthquake.” Yao, who has already kicked in $290,000 and filmed several PSA’s for the Red Cross, led the crowd in a moment of silence for China’s victims before the Coca-Cola 600. “The best thing you can do for the government is to send money there and people there to help them,” Yao said as he sat in a motor home parked in the track’s infield. “But we also need to warm them. They’re hurt mentally by the earthquake. I heard some kids cannot sleep in the middle of the night because they’re scared. Any kind of help—it’s more than just the money. Number one right now is to save people’s lives. On May 12 people forgot about the Olympics. People forgot about the torch. Let’s focus the government and the people on saving as many lives as we can.”
MAN-U RUINED MY DAY
The first time two English clubs competed in the Champions League final…and Manchester United had to beat my Chelsea. Congrats to Man-U for taking home the trophy from a match riddled with rain, riots, yellow cards (8), the ejection of my Didier Drogba, a broken nose for United’s Paul Scholes, and the 42nd goal of the season for Cristiano Ronaldo. “I feel very proud for lads,” Ronaldo said. “This is everything for me. It’s a magnificent season for me.”
Maybe it was their shoes? Drogba and Ronaldo both wore Nike’s Mercurial SL boots-which claim to be the “most lightweight and innovative football boot ever produced.” Drogba, pre-eviction- on his kicks: “The new Mercurial SL defines the next level of football boots – it is like nothing I have ever seen before and I’m very excited to be one of the first players to wear this boot in the Champions League Final.” His United rival Ronaldo added: “Speed and acceleration are essential to my game; one second can be the difference between winning or losing the Champions League Final. This Mercurial SL boot is designed to provide the next level of speed.”
Spike Lee is ready to shoot a feature-length documentary about Michael Jordan. The NBA will kick in the cash needed to finance the movie, while Lee’s 40 Acres & a Mule Film works will produce it. The documentary will include extensive unseen footage shot by NBA cameras during the final two years in Jordan’s career, the ’01-02 and ’02-03 seasons…and Kobe continues his trend of good PR this week during an interview with Ron Artest. Artests interview with Kobe will air on FSN’s BDSSP, Friday, May 23 at 11:00 pm. Artest and Bryant discuss hoops, fatherhood, Bryant’s MVP Award, his Nike commercial and whether he really did jump over the speeding Aston Martin…the interview was conducted earlier this week at the Laker’s practice facility…if you wanna read a fantastic interview with Ron Artest-and get to know who he really is-check out Michael Tillery’s interview with Ron Artest on the Starting Five- and you’ll undertsand why I will never speak ill-will of Ron-Ron again.
And David Beckham eating caramel apples with his son Brooklyn, courtside at the Lakers, will never get old.
MICKELSON ON ENTOURAGE
There have been some pretty great appearances on HBO’s Entourage, Kanye West’s two-minute cameo still remains the best, but perhaps the next great bit might come from Phil Mickelson? Big Phil spent two days this week taping an episode of the show, set to air in September, in which Mickelson is featured in a golf scene. Mickelson said of the show, “It’s edgy; the language is a little rough. But I just love watching that show.”
COOKING WITH THE PROS?
Rumor has it that Cowboys TE Jason Witten has agreed to ask his teammates and former Cowboys playa’s to appear on a new reality show entitled “Cooking with the All Pros.” Allegedly, the show will pair fans with players, and pit them against each other in cooking competitions. It is set to begin filming in late June. Five half-hour episodes will air in August on Dallas-based WFAA-ABC. The competition is expected to begin with nine contestants. The only upside I can see from the show is the fact that Witten’s charity, the S.C.O.R.E. Foundation, also stands to benefit as preliminary plans call for the public to be invited to bid on tax-deductible contributions toward the charity…and the top bidders will be on the show.
I’m taking the next few days off to enjoy the long weekend, the Monaco Grand prix and some much needed sunshine.
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