SBD/March 31, 2014/People and Pop Culture

Names In The News

Nettles-Bey went through pregame warm ups with James and the rest of the Heat
In Ft. Lauderdale, Ira Winderman noted 16-year-old Wisconsin resident EBONY NETTLES-BEY -- who has stage-four rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer in the soft tissues -- on Saturday "was invited to the Bucks' game against the Heat [and] told courtside seats were made available for her to watch" her idol, Heat F LEBRON JAMES. The Heat and Bucks also worked "behind the scenes on a night that would have her escorting the Heat from the locker room to the court, shooting pregame with the team, lining up alongside James for the national anthem" and later receiving his game jersey (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 3/30).

PAST TIES: In DC, Vargas & Jackman wrote under the header, "CEO Of New Washington Redskins Foundation Connected To 'Defective' Federal Contract." Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation CEO GARY EDWARDS, whose group was created by the team with the aim of helping out Native Americas, also heads the National Native American Law Enforcement Association, which had a $1M contract with the Bureau of Indian Affairs "terminated after federal investigators found the group’s work 'unusable'" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/29).

KEEPING IT ON THE FIELD: NWSL Western New York Flash F ABBY WAMBACH said of whether her life has changed after coming out publicly as gay, "It hasn't been different at all. It hasn't felt different at all and it's not like it's something I've been hiding. I feel it was a surprise for other people. For them it might be different. I don't know. Frankly, I hope it's different in a positive way." She added of whether she has had any pressure to become a gay-rights activist, "Yes, but that's not my personality. ... If someone wanted to pressure me, I wouldn't let that faze me. ... I'm not in the business of politics. Yes, do we have a platform that it can transcend to that forum? Sure. But I've never been that person. I want my legacy to be about the soccer and if I can help people be happier in life in any capacity, awesome" (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 3/31).

A NIGHT AT THE OPERA: An opera based around late Houston Oilers coach & GM BUM PHILLIPS, entitled "BUM PHILLIPS ALL-AMERICAN OPERA," puts its "central focus" around '79, his final year as coach of the team. Phillips, played by GARY RAMSEY, "presided over the 'Luv Ya Blue' years, named after the team’s blue jerseys, from 1978 to 1980, an era of delirious pride." The opera "celebrates the Oiler mania of the era with 'Luv Ya Blue,' a euphoric song accompanied by an even more euphoric choreographed parade of blue jerseys and foam fingers, Texas flags and Derrick Doll cheerleaders, and an operatic rendition" of the Oilers fight song (N.Y. TIMES, 3/30).

NAMES: The Tennessee Sports HOF announced a permanent exhibit for Univ. of Tennessee women's basketball coach emeritus PAT SUMMITT that will open Friday, the "first day of activities" for the '14 NCAA Women’s Final Four. The exhibit "will feature memorabilia, photos, videos and interactive displays highlighting the former women’s college basketball coach" (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 3/31)....Red Wings C DARREN HELM and LW TOMAS TATAR "could face eviction because of complaints by neighbors in their condominum complex about their noisy late-night activities." The Main Street Lofts Condominium Association has "filed a lawsuit in Oakland Circuit Court seeking an injunction" against the duo "requiring them to comply with the association's rules or 'vacate the premises.'" Helm "is on the record as co-owner of the condo but is believed to have moved out." Tatar is "his tenant and resides in the third-floor unit" (DETROIT NEWS, 3/30)....Packers QB AARON RODGERS was seen "taking photos" with actors ZAC EFRON and SETH ROGEN, as the three were "hanging out to shoot a promo" for the movie "NEIGHBORS," which comes out May 9. Rodgers also "made an appearance at both the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight to cheer on Wisconsin" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/30)....BEN HOGAN's MacGregor irons that he used in '53, when he won the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open, are "currently being auctioned at GreenJacketAuctions.com" (GOLFCHANNEL.com, 3/28)....Former NFLer GARRY COBB today will announce “his candidacy for a South Jersey Congressional Seat” (PHILLY.com, 3/29)….Ravens RB RAY RICE married fiancée JANAY PALMER on Friday, one day after he was “indicted on charges or third-degree aggravated assault” for allegedly knocking her unconscious (Baltimore SUN, 3/30).

IN MEMORY: Former Millrose Games Dir HOWARD SCHMERTZ died on Thursday in Port Washington N.Y. at the age of 88 following “complications of congestive heart failure” (N.Y. TIMES, 3/30). Schmertz “forged business and personal relationships with the giants of track and field” (NEWSDAY, 3/30)….Former L.A. Times sportswriter LONNIE WHITE died Saturday at Glendale Memorial Hospital at the age of 49. White worked for the Times from ’87-’08, covering the Clippers, NHL Kings, NFL, UCLA football, USC basketball, high school sports and also was a general-assignment reporter (L.A. TIMES, 3/31).
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