Nothing like some priceless Athlebrity action to entice me back into the swing of things…massive love for my Tapa who has been kicking R-Feds butt…big ups to the Dallas Mavericks and Jason Kidd for finally getting the ring…thank you Lebron James for living up to my expectations..and yay for those coming ’round to acknowledging who the real king is, Kelly Slater.
My favorite baller, sexy Sun Steve Nash, has more up his sleeve than a basketball. In fact, I’d call the humanitarian a true-cross over athlete. He can land a three-pointer from center court and he can dribble a soccer ball better than Beckham.
If you don’t believe me, get to one of Nash’s charity soccer games. Last year, Nashty’s Showdown in Chinatown (NY) had fans climbing light posts and breaking into buildings just to catch a glimpse of Sir Steve and his roster of hot soccer players and NBA studs. Although the official roster hasn’t been released yet, we can hopefully expect to see some of last years’ participants, which included Thierry Henry, Claudia Reyna, Jason Kidd, Raja Bell, Leandro Barbosa, and Baron Davis.
This year, Nash will ‘Showdown’ in three separate cities. Although he was born in South Africa, he was raised in Canada, so he’s including Vancouver in on the action when he ‘Showdowns’ on Sept. 19. Showdown’s will also be held in Los Angeles and New York.
MEN’S U.S. OLYMPIC BASKETBALL TEAM
Monday, we got our starting line-up for the Men’s U.S. Olympic Basketball team that hopes to capture the gold medal in Beijing in August. Chris Paul, Jason Kidd, Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, and Deron Williams, Tayshaun Prince.
I’m gonna break down some of these beasts and their charity work for ya…yesterday, I mentioned that I’ve seen Jason Kidd at just about every charity gig you can imagine. To name a few- the ‘Showdown in Chinatown event,’ The Pro Team Sports Challenge’, and now Kidd’s headed off to Vegas for the Ante Up For Africa Poker tournement: “Role model is something that comes with my job description. It’s a given that kids will look up to you.” Kidd’s Foundation-oddly named the Jason Kidd Foundation, provided funds for children’s medical research and to charities supporting the needs and interests of children…he also launched the “Assists for Kidds” program, which asks fans to make donations to charity for every one of his assists, while he himself has pledged $100 per assist. He also holds the usual youth basketball camps and charity golf tournaments every summer. To me, Kidd is one of the mighty-mighty-fine good guys out there. I’ve seen him in action at the Pro Team challenge, and I can tell you he was more focused on winning the event for his teams’ chosen charity than he was in the silicon-how’d-they-find-out-about-this-event-girls traipsing around the pool. *The Pro Team Sports Challenge will be broadcast this weekend, Saturday and Sunday on FoxSportsNet.
What can I possibly say about Chris Paul and his charity work that hasn’t been said? Chris and his family created the CP3 Foundation in partnership with the Winston-Salem Foundation to feed hungry families, support worthy causes and provide scholarships. We’ve seen him getting down and dirty in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans-helping rebuild and clean-up the mess left behind by Hurricane Katrina. He passes out thousands of Thanksgiving turkeys every year-with a sincere smile on his face and in 2006 Chris won the NBA’s Community Assist Award, which garnered an additional $5,000 for his CP3 Foundation and applauded him for his emphasis on community involvement, service, and his donation of food baskets and bikes for underprivileged children in Oklahoma City and New Orleans.
In April 2008, Men’s Vogue ran a great piece on Chris Paul; which-in part- exemplifies his heart, soul, passion and past that have made him the mighty-mighty-sexy-good-guy he is today. Excerpt: Paul was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he developed into a high-scoring high-school point guard. In 2002, the day after Paul signed his letter of intent to play college basketball at Wake Forest, his grandfather, Nathaniel Jones, was murdered in his driveway. A few nights later, Paul took the court and scored 61 points — his grandfather’s age when he died — before taking himself out of the game and weeping on the bench. He now runs the Nathaniel Jones Scholarship Fund, which sends deserving high-school grads to Wake Forest. And if that didnt give you goosebumps, you’re on the wrong blog.
I dare anyone to find something negative written about Dwight Howard. (And I ain’t talking about his hoops skills-although I’m willing to bet there’s not much you can rip on there either). Hot-stuff, along with his parents, established the Dwight D. Howard Foundation in 2004 to empower kids to reach their highest potential- he’s given out scholarships for students who want to attend his alma mater, Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy in Atlanta Georgia and provides grants to Lovell Elementary School and Memorial Middle School in Orlando Florida. He’s personally donated money for the Katrina Hurricane relief efforts, and helped to build a playground at the Boca Club Apartments in Orlando. And to top this sundae with a plump cherry- Dwight has faith. When he’s home in Atlanta, he attends the Fellowship of Faith Church and donates his time to the youth programs at the church. Needless to say, it’ll be a cold day in hell when you read anything about Howard getting a DUI, arrested for gun possession or accidentally picking up a stranger who later beats and robs him. Dwight Howard is more than a mighty-fine-man, he’s a stellar example for all of us to look up to.
Of course, not much ‘community’ news available on Chris Bosh, but according to his foundation website-Bosh is okay by me. Each year he runs a Chris Bosh Foundation Book Club where over 2000 kids get involved to read as much as possible during hoops season. Throughout 2007 Chris supported and initiated a variety of community events including a holiday party for more than 300 kids, his first annual basketball tournament, homework and book clubs…he’s the Read To Achieve spokesman for the Raptors and has attended a ton of Raptors community events including the Raptors Foundation Court Launch, Sick Kids Hospital visit and KingPin Bowling Challenge. During the month of February Chris promoted Black History Month by hosting in school trivia contests and provides youth the opportunity to come to games throughout the season.
By now you’ve must have heard of Boozer’s Buddies right? Boozer and his wife established the foundation to support families affected by Sickle Cell Disease. Inspiration comes in many shapes and forms, and Boozer was inspired after his 17-month-old son, Carmani, was diagnosed with has sickle cell anemia (who later underwent a successful bone marrow transplant). “You think of yourself as a father, brother, son, a basketball player, all these things,” Carlos said. “Now I realize I’m so much more than that, I’m an advocate. I want to raise money, help kids who can’t help themselves. This is the beginning of a long story for us, and this is just Part One.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…Carmelo Anthony is a good-guy. I don’t care about his DUI-he made a mistake, which he’s owned up to, so get over it already. Im not condoning drinking and driving, but if the media would report the good things Melo’s been involved with, you may change your opinion. And again, I’m not gonna address some asinine video-game-much-to-do-about-nothing or overblown 7-Eleven BS that some of you have latched onto in efforts to bring Melo down. My point is finding about finding a balance…and when Melo is interacting with kids and kicking down some hefty cash (under the media radar) to improve the lives of needy kids-its easy to read his face and you just know in your heart he’s doing it outta love. Simple as that.
As for the rest of Team USA-Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Redd, Deron Williams, and Tayshaun Prince…well, lets see, D-Wade is always out there in the community- not sure if its sincerity or contract work, but regardless, he’s always smiling and licking those juicy lips of his…Lebron James-hypocrite…Michael Redd is a a devout Christian who bought a church building for his father’s ministry as the first purchase after signing with the NBA-I’d say he’s one of the good-guys out there-check out his Foundation…Deron Williams: His Point of Hope Foundation helps people with cancer…he holds charity golf events…and is hot….Tayshaun Prince…can’t give him love just yet…had a nasty run in with some of his peeps in Carson, so by proxy he’s a bit tainted for this Motor City gal.
The USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team will be profiled in a five-part documentary series, “Road To Redemption presented by NIKE”. The series, produced by NBA Entertainment, will debut with a special one-hour episode that will air Wednesday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
SHOWDOWN IN CHINATOWN WITH STEVE NASH
A few NBA good-guys like Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Raja Bell, and Leandro Barbosa hooked up with some of the best soccer players on earth- Thierry Henry, Claudio Reyna, Robbie Fowler, Steve McManaman, Jozy Altidore, Juan Pablo Angel, and Gregg Berhalter for the ‘Showdown in Chinatown’ charity soccer game yesterday in NY. (Side note: Mad Props to Jason Kidd, who has popped up at just about every charity event imaginable during the off-season.)
The ‘Showdown’ was born from the beautiful humanitarian mind of Steve Nash, who spends most of his off-season showcasing the soccer skills that were passed down from his famous soccer-playing dad. Nash co-hosted the event along with buddy Claudio Reyna, who moved to MLS’s New York Red Bulls after making a name for himself in parts of the world where soccer is a religion. Following the game, the hotties held a private auction in SoHo to benefit their respective foundations. “Football and my foundation are two of my big passions,” said Nash, “And the chance to bring together guys like Thierry and Jason and Claudio. And the best part is that it (was) free to anyone who wanted to come watch us.”
“We had it completely wrong in terms of the excitement,” Reyna said. “We knew people were going to come out, but we just couldn’t believe it when we showed.” Uh-you didn’t know people were gonna come out? Actually, Reyna makes a good point. While my West Coast eyes had to search hard for info on this event, I’m wondering how much pre-event pumping up there was on the East Coast? This event could have sold more tickets than David Beckham has for the Galaxy- but seeing as it was Steve Nash holding the reins, it doesn’t surprise me that it was a free event. Thanks to the great fans who filmed the event and posted something fresh to look at on YouTube…if it weren’t for them, footage from this event may have gone by the wayside…the only stone in my shoe today is that I didn’t get my ass on a plane to NY to cover this event myself (a-hem, sponsors pa-leeze). Nash’s side won the 60-minute game, 9-4, while Thierry Henry entertained the crowd by juggling the ball for 20 yards at a time and balancing it on his head-stuff we only see in Reebok commercials…There’s a handful of post-related items…all the same standard wording…and maybe five images from the event making the rounds. And the ‘selling point’ of the story this morning is that Henry said he likes America-media translation? Henry may be following in the footsteps of Beckham and come to the states. “Why not?” he said Wednesday night, “I love America. I love it here. And whenever I come here, I feel free. Hopefully, one day. You never know what’s going to happen. But at the moment, I’m still over there.” But you were here yesterday Thierry, and we thank you for that. We thank you for adding an extra-bit of oomph to the most beautiful game to roll through NY in a long, long time. (And on a side note here-gotta call out a playa for a sham of a show…Baron Davis. While he also took part in this little shindig he gets no love from me-I ain’t buying his ‘charity efforts’ for one second. He may be one of the most charismatic and loved ballers around, but I’ve seen his dark side, his thug of a posse and his overbearing need to have his ego fed. In my book, he ain’t one of the good-guys until he clears up some dirty baggage that’s attached to his reputation.)
NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS MEET SPECIAL OLYMPIANS
Yesterday, NBA Cares held a Special Olympics Clinic at John Jay College in NY. A few NBA ‘draft prospects’ such as Brook Lopez (L), O.J. Mayo (R), Robin Lopez, Russell Westbrook, Jerryd Bayless and Michael Beasley made the kids happy.
And in efforts to justify running this fab-photo of Michael Beasley, I found an auction by Topps who sponsored the McDonalds All American High School Basketball Games. Up for bids is a basketball signed by team members including Beasley. The exclusive Topps Vault eBay auctions features a limited number of Topps McDonald’s All-American High School “The Rock” Basketballs signed by the Boy’s East team, the Boy’s West team, and the Girls teams. 85% of the proceeds from the auctions will go to the Ronald McDonald House charities, so bid away my friends, bid away.
BOWLING FOR DREAMS
Last Saturday in Las Vegas, celebrity athletes meshed with celebrities for the 8th annual Sports Dream Bowl at the Red Rock Resort. The babes lined up to bowl for a benefit for the Sports Dream Foundation’s Urban Youth Scholarship Fund. NFL legend, Warren Moon hosted the event, which delivered some great eye-candy to guests who were able to watch the ‘red-caret’ arrivals…Tony Parker-Longoria was there with his arm-charm, Carson and Jordon Palmer of the Cincinnati Bengals, NFL legend Jerry Rice, Junior Seau, Brandon Jacobs, Tony Gonzalez, Robert Horry of the San Longoria Spurs, Brian Brohm of the Green Bay Packers, Aaron Ross and Brandon Jacobs of the NY Giants…”Everyone involved loves the fun of the event, but also cares tremendously about the cause. As athletes and celebrities, we have all benefited from the support of others, and we are honored to pass along the positive impact by contributing to these outstanding students,” said Moon. “Many of our recipients will be the first in their family to attend college. Their personal stories and achievements are incredibly inspiring.” Moons been kicking in cash for college grants since 1989, and six of the scholarship winners joined the festivities…
DUSTED OFF AND READY FOR AUCTION
I love that John McEnroe is doing this…but I’m pretty sure the value lies in the fact that it was painted by Andy Warhol…Flashback 1986…John McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal were happily married when they attended a charity auction and bid about $30k to have Warhol paint the couple’s portrait based on a Polaroid of the two. Flash forward 2008…McEnroe is selling the portrait via a Sotheby’s auction in London next week…the piece is expected to fetch about $687,000…which I sincerely hope they get, because all proceeds are earmarked for Habitat for Humanity.
CAMILO VILLEGAS: DOUBLE WHAMMY
On Tuesday, June 17, our Columbian kitten, Camilo Villegas crawled his way to victory at the Telus World Skins golf tournament in British Columbia…he’s now got an additional $230,000 to add to his list of prize money…but, just when we’re getting used to the idea of Villegas winning one…he’s gone and done it again- just one week later. “I was a little nervous,” he said. “It’s good to feel the nerves, a little shaky. It’s good for myself.” Villegas made two birdie putts in a three-hole playoff and along with his partner Bubba Watson to win the rain-delayed CVS Caremark Charity Classic on Tuesday. “It’s all about charity,” said Bubba Watson, who donated $10,000 of his winning check back to the tournament. “I know it helps Rhode Island a lot.” No word on whether or not Villegas is gonna send some cash to his Foundation…because although I know he’s established one in Columbia-there is nary a peep of info available about it-so Camilo, wake-up and email Delinda information about your Foundation already-how long you gonna make this girl wait?
ATHLEBRITY NBA DRAFT PICK: JERRYD BAYLESS
While some of our off-season ballers are busy playing in charity soccer games with Steve Nash or performing their ‘NBA Cares’ duties, a plethora of fresh-blood is waiting for their entry in the NBA via that-oh-so-long-and-boring NBA Draft process. In efforts to help you weed out the good from the bad (pun intended), I think I may have found a future-charity-diamond-in-the-rough. Jerryd Bayless, formerly of the Arizona Wildcats, has created quite a buzz- with predictions calling for him to be selected either fourth or fifth in the Draft. We have yet to see how this sexy youngster will adjust to life with the big boys- whether he’ll let the fame and fortune take him down faster than a drunk baller in a Vegas club, or if he’ll take a similar path as Chris Paul and give love to the community- my intuition says he’s headed for the mighty-mighty-sexy-good-guys category.
In a 2005 GOAZCATS.com article, the writer’s first impression of Bayless: “To my pleasant surprise, he turned out to be the polar opposite of what I expected. He was — and remains to this day — humble, polite, dignified, respectful, caring, selfless, charming and witty. Basically, Jerryd Bayless is the exact kind of person people want to call their friend, the kind of guy parents hope their kids hang around with because of his positive nature and the good upbringing by his own parents.” And wouldn’t ya know it-Bayless gave credit to his parents, “I am a reflection of my mom in ways and my dad in ways,” he said. “And, yes, they have made it easier for me to succeed.” No argument coming from his former AAU coach either, “Jerryd is a class act. It comes from being around quality people and having good parents.” Sweetness is already off to a great start-on June 19, Bayless teamed up with Feed the Children to provide 400 Phoenix families with boxes of food, love and personal care items. “Arizona and I have a special connection and commitment to bettering the lives of Arizonans, “ he said, “I am privileged to be able to help out the community before I start this next phase of my life in the NBA and in a new city…it will always be a priority for me to assist young people and their families to ensure that opportunities are available. This is just the beginning of what I intend to be a long-term commitment to helping those less fortunate in the Arizona area.” Let’s cross our fingers and hope this future NBA star continues to makes us all proud and we don’t find him among the posts in Deadspin…
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!
THE PRO TEAM CAPTAINS SPEAK
Four teams, four Captains. You’ve got, of course Sir Charles in charge of Team Basketball, Drew Brees leading Team Football; Ozzie Smith taking the reins of Team Baseball, and hockey great Mario Lemieux keeping his Team Hockey in check…what am I talking about? The Pro Team Sports Challenge. On April 18, I wrote about the Pro Sports Team Challenge, and today, I’m going to reiterate how cool this event is going to be. Lead by Team Challenge Commissioner, Charles Barkley, the two-day golf event will pit some of the best athletes from four sports (baseball, basketball, hockey and football) against each other on the greens. They are all playing for charity but perhaps the most unique aspect of the event is fan interaction.
During the course of the event, fan interaction will influence the outcome of the game, think ‘American Idol’ on a golf course. Do you think Team Hockey has a more competitive edge with their roster of established pros? Then get online, vote, blog, debate and trash talk with those who think Team Football has better golfers. You could actually win a spot on the greens and walk with your favorite Team inside the ropes as a ProCoach…but you gotta register before May 19 in order to cast your votes and decide which players are playing better or worse than their stated handicaps.
Participating in a press-call this morning, team captains Drew Brees, Ozzie Smith and Mario Lemieux spoke about the event and what we should expect. All three were equally as pumped up about earning bragging rights, as they were to be playing for charity.
Drew Brees: “This is one of the most unique events I’ve ever played in. To find four guys from major sports and bring them together in a fun atmosphere, it’s incredible, I’m gonna have a chance to meet and play with guys I’ve watched growing up, Hall of Famers, world champions.” And when Drew Brees spoke about playing for charity, I knew he was for real. “Our charity is Operation Kids,” he said. “Its an international charity whose mission is to care for the total well being of the child, they focus on education and healthcare for kids, and they’ve done some phenomenal things.”
Baseball team Captain Ozzie Smith was equally as enthusiastic about participating and raising money at the same time: “To have all these guys at the same place at the same time makes it a great event. My charity is Baseball Assistance Team (BAT), they assist families and players that have fallen on hard times, older players who didn’t reap the benefits of long contracts.” Ozzie Smith was reluctant to reveal any coaching strategies: “We’ll put our heads together and figure out how best to approach it,” he said, “Its going to be interesting to see how they (fans) match us up.” When asked who he feels the best player on his Team Baseball is, Ozzie wasn’t promoting himself. “George Brett and Vince Coleman are probably the best on the team. I certainly think I’d be the weakest.”
Hockey Team Captain, Mario Lemieux on his participation: “Just having the fans involved at the same time and most importantly, to raise money for some great charities.” His charity? Hockey Fights Cancer, “Its been going on for a few years, and helps those who‘ve had cancer, I’m one of them, in 1993 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease, so it’s very dear to my heart.”
Who’s the best coach and best player on thier teams?
Drew Brees: “I don’t know if I’ve ever done much coaching on a golf course, but John Elway is the best member on my team. I’ve got a good team and I think we all know our own strengths and weakness.”
Mario Lemieux: “Bret Hull is the best player on my team.”
Because of the fan interaction, I was curious about which fan-base would produce the most-trash-talking interaction. Brees: “Well, we got LaDainian Tomlinson, and (John) Elway covering the Rocky Mountain area, myself in the south, and (Michael) Strahan holding down the east, so we’re hopefully going to grab fans from everywhere and it can get very interesting.”
And Ozzie was just as excited, “Our fan base will be very diverse and I think that this tournement, with the guys chosen, have great fan appeal and will make it very interesting as well.”
Commissioner Barkley, who’s charity is the USO, was not available for the press-call, and Drew Brees opined as to why: “I’m sure he’s strategizing as we speak.” Brees’ strategy? “I just grip it and rip it!” he said.
For those of us who follow the off-court/field wardrobes of the players, Brees was quick to remind us that Ballers got it going on. “Basketball is gonna be the most stylish, those guys- their style far exceeds anything we’d be wearing.”
When asked the hypothetical question- what theme song would you play while teeing off…Mario chimed in first with ‘We Are The Champions’…followed by Ozzie who laughed, ‘Off To See the Wizard,’ while Brees said he would pick something similar to a “dramatic theme song used in NFL films”.
For the sake of my own curiosity, I had to ask which ranked celebrity golfer they’d most like to play with: Samuel L Jackson, Bill Murray, Cheech Marin, or George Lopez. Ozzie and Brees both said Samuel L Jackson, while Lemieux went Caddyshack on us and chose Bill Murray.
The Pro Team Sports Challenge will be held on June 7-8th in Palm Springs California. I highly recommend you keep an eye on this event and its unique fan-interaction aspect. Aside from raising money for charity, it just may be a sign of bigger things to come- like Reality Sports. Don’t like the way Jason Kidd is swinging for Team Basketball- text in your vote. If you think Team Hockey is swinging better than Team Baseball, cast your vote for Team Hockey…all the details are available on Team Challenge, with more updates to be released soon.
BARKLEY’S NEW TEAM
I just finished an article for Look to the Stars about Charles Barkley and his generous donations to fire victims in the Lake Tahoe area…and today, I’ve got more good-hearted fun coming from the former NBA beast. On June 7-8 in Palm Springs (CA), Barkley will act as Tournement Commissioner for the Pro Sports Teams Challenge. Sixteen legendary athlebrities (four each from football, baseball, basketball and hockey) will tee off at Eagle Falls Golf Course and compete against each other- not just for bragging rights- but also a charity prize of $100,000. “Athletes from each sport think that they are the best golfers. It’s high time we found out who really is: baseball, football, basketball or hockey,” said Team Challenge spokesman, Mike Paul.
The hotties already committed to participate include (*team captains): Baseball: *Ozzie Smith, George Brett, Vince Coleman; Basketball: *Charles Barkley (L), Jason Kidd (C), Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving; Football: *Drew Brees (R), LaDainian Tomlinson, John Elway, Michael Strahan; Hockey: *Mario Lemieux, Brett Hull, Grant Fuhr, Peirre Larouche. “The playful smack talk regarding which sport and athlete are the best started months ago,” said Tom Belton, founder and managing partner of Team Challenge, LLC. “These sports legends look forward to the challenge and to raising significant money for charity. Nothing makes them happier than playing sports to raise money to help others in need. Moreover, this competition might also depend on who has the most loyal and knowledgeable fans.” YES! This isnt just a spectator event-you get to participate. The Team Challenge will for the first time ever give fans the platform to be ‘Pro Coaches” by using the internet or mobile text messaging to make real strategy decisions in this competition- this will have an actual impact on the scoring. Blogs and chat rooms will be available for fans to strategize together on real choices, bringing the fan inside the locker room in a sports competition…it’s hot, so don’t be left out of the game…check out Team Challenge for all the juicy details.
NBA ENTERTAINMENT LEAGUE CHAMPS
It’s been around for eleven seasons and admittedly I don’t cover it enough…but big ups to the Nuggets who won the NBA Entertainment League Championship 71-63 over the Cavaliers on Saturday, April 12. The Nuggets team included actor Morris Chestnut and singer Drew Lachey…while the Cav’s roster included Will Ferrell, Scrubs actor Donald Faison and ‘Las Vegas’ actor James Lesure. After the game, the league’s wrap party attracted celebrities such as Jamie Foxx, Brody Jenner, Stacy Kiebler, Terry Crews, and Jaleel White among others. Check out the complete NBAE League and full rosters here.
The NBA Playoffs begin Saturday with the Celtics the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Lakers the top seed in the Western Conference…and just about everyone is praying for a Celtics-Lakers Final…one reason why could be that the two teams haven’t faced each other in the Finals in about what…20 years? Celtics first gotta win the best of seven against the Atlanta Hawks and the Lakers gotta do the same against the Nuggets…first round Sunday.
Boxing bad boys Joe Calzaghe of Wales and Bernard Hopkins of USA are set for their fight in Vegas this weekend, making it Calzaghe’s first fight on “US soil.” This girl hopes the Welshman can finally get Hopkins to shut up…and yes, I will in fact be in Vegas looking for a posse to invite me to their after-party.
As always, thanks for reading. delinda@athlebrities.