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SBD/August 11, 2014/People and Pop CulturePrint All
Former NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN during his Basketball HOF induction speech Friday night "preached the totality of basketball, and how everything comes back to the actual game -- to the hardwood, the leather ball and the baskets," according to Tom Westerholm of the Springfield REPUBLICAN. Five people accompanied former Stern to the stage, including HOFer BILL RUSSELL, whom Stern credited "for being a part of the NBA’s civil rights movement." Russell "retired long before Stern’s tenure as commissioner began, but he had a bigger impact on the game than anyone in history." The others on stage with Stern -- MAGIC JOHNSON, LARRY BIRD, RUSS GRANIK and BOB LANIER -- were "important members of basketball history, which was appropriate for Stern’s speech." Johnson and Bird "helped usher in Stern’s era by bringing joy, talent and creativity back to the sport." Granik served as Deputy Commissioner under Stern for 22 years and was, "as Stern put it, 'responsible for just a few things, like, for example, everything.'" Lanier "battled with Stern on a collective bargaining agreement and now serves as an ambassador for the game at home and overseas" (Springfield REPUBLICAN, 8/9).
FREEDOM OF SPEECH: ESPN N.Y.'s Ohm Youngmisuk wrote Stern during his speech was "promoting the NBA and deflecting attention from himself and his impact on the game of basketball and the league." Stern "kept his induction speech short, and thanked his wife and his family." He also "talked glowingly of the state of the game, its impact globally, and the NBA's initiatives in communities and values all over the world." Meanwhile, fellow '14 HOF inductee ALONZO MOURNING "delivered perhaps the most inspirational speech of the night, talking about all the obstacles he had to overcome" (ESPNNY.com, 8/8). ESPN.com's J.A. Adande wrote Stern's speech was "missing ... David Stern." Adande: "You know, the haughty, defiant Stern. The man who could be so condescending in public and tyrannical in private." Stern "was the headliner of this class, the man given the honor of going last." Adande: "For the most part, he was modest, not biting." Stern let his choices of Russell, Johnson, Bird, Granik and Lanier "serve as the backbone of his speech." They "represented the different elements that came together to make his reign so successful and allowed him to quickly summarize his three decades in office" (ESPN.com, 8/8).
UNIQUE GROUP: NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper wrote the '14 HOF class "framed so much about the league and the game." Mourning "was the toughness," while Lithuanian SARUNAS MARCIULIONIS "was the globalization." BOB LEONARD and MITCH RICHMOND "were the local ties, the grassroots feel of the league even as it grew into a conglomerate." Stern was "pretty much everything, of course." And while "some people get big names" to accompany them on stage at the HOF, "Stern gets Mt. Olympus." Stern said, "You've got to love the game. Everything we do is always about the game. Always about the game" (NBA.com, 8/9).
Cowboys Owner JERRY JONES yesterday for the first time "acknowledged the suggestive photos of him and two women that have been circulating on the Internet in recent days," according to David Moore of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. The photos that appear to show Jones in "suggestive poses with two younger women first appeared on the sports gossip site TerezOwens.com and were picked up Tuesday by Deadspin.com." Jones "confirmed that the photos were taken in a Dallas restaurant." Jones said, "Someone has misrepresented photos taken at a restaurant five years ago for their own purposes. I’m just not going to comment on it" (DALLASNEWS.com, 8/10). ESPN DALLAS' Todd Archer noted since the photos were publicized, Jones "had not made any comment or appearances with the team." He was "not on the field during pregame of the Cowboys' preseason opener" against the Chargers on Thursday. On Saturday, Jones went to "great lengths to avoid the media, arriving on the field for practice from a back gate closer to where the fans park" (ESPNDALLAS.com, 8/10).
New Staples Center President LEE ZEIDMAN is the "biggest of the big shots, running one of the world's busiest arenas," but he also is the "most unlikely and endearing of the big shots," according to a profile by Bill Plaschke of the L.A. TIMES. Zeidman "never rolled down his sleeves as he worked his way up from the bowling lanes to the fast lanes." He "ran a college gym in Santa Barbara where he swept the floors, he ran the Forum, where he cleaned the toilets, then he became Staples Center's first employee on Feb. 12, 1998." NHL Kings President of Business Operations LUC ROBITAILLE said, "He is the kind of guy that you want to get a beer with. Then the next day, you call him, ask him something, and he gets it done." Zeidman added, "I have the greatest job ever, I work with the best men and women ever. I cannot believe my luck." AEG President & CEO DAN BECKERMAN: "What everyone loves about Lee, that no matter what his title or responsibilities, he's the same guy. He endears himself to his staff by being down there in the trenches with them" (L.A. TIMES, 8/10). Zeidman also is profiled in this week's issue of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, where he says his personal insight is, "Tell the truth. In the end, the truth always wins" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/11 issue).
SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL’s Daniel Kaplan reports NFL Senior VP/Int’l CHRIS PARSONS “resigned on Friday to take a job running a consumer products company.” Parsons “declined to name the company he’ll lead other than to say it is ... headquartered in Massachusetts.” Parsons “oversaw a staff of more than 40 employees around the world.” NFL CMO MARK WALLER “plans a review of the structure of the league’s international operations in the next few weeks to determine how to replace Parsons” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 8/11 issue).
FRESH FISH: The Dolphins named Priority Sports & Entertainment agent and former NFL Jets Exec VP & GM MIKE TANNENBAUM a consultant. Tannenbaum will consultant with the team on a variety of projects involving innovation, analytics and sports science. He will continue his role at PS&E. The Dolphins also promoted Manager of Football Administration RYAN HERMAN to Dir of Football Administration, while naming DENNIS LOCK Head Analyst and DAVE REGAN Sports Science Analyst (Dolphins).
EXECS: The National Thoroughbred Racing Association appointed JUDY WAGNER, MICHAEL ROGERS, SCOTT WELLS and JOE MORRIS to its BOD (NTRA)....The Univ. of Wisconsin promoted interim Assistant AD/Advancement CHAD KIMMEL to Assistant AD/Development (UW)....UMass-Lowell named Radford Univ. Dir of Advancement for Athletics JA'MARCUS HAMPTON Associate AD/Advancement (UMass-Lowell)....The Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham promoted Dir of Student-Athlete Support Services JUSTIN MACKEY to Assistant AD/Student-Athlete Development (UAB)....The Univ. of Arkansas promoted JUSTIN MALAND to Associate AD/Facilities and MARK TAURISANI to Assistant AD/Football Operations. The school also announced that Associate AD/Business BYRON HATCH "will now assist with sports administrator duties for football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country and track & field and volleyball," while Associate AD/Event Management & Sports Administration CHRIS POHL "now also serves as the sports administrator for gymnastics and softball" (KOAMTV.com, 8/6)....The Univ. of Texas-Pan American promoted CHELSEA BLAKELY to Associate AD/External Operations, JONAH GOLDBERG to Associate AD/Communications and ADAM MENDEZ to Assistant AD/Events & Facility Operations (UTPA).
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MLB Cardinals P ADAM WAINWRIGHT, along with several teammates and Pro Football HOFer MARSHALL FAULK and former NFLer KURT WARNER, this Friday will participate in the "second Waino's World fantasy football draft" at Busch Stadium prior to Padres-Cardinals. The event, a fundraiser for Wainwright's charity, "has spread to 10 major-league cities" and involves players like Dodgers P CLAYTON KERSHAW, Tigers P MAX SCHERZER and Mets 3B DAVID WRIGHT. Reds CF SKIP SCHUMAKER "organizes the Cincinnati branch," while Phillies P COLE HAMELS and Braves 1B FREDDIE FREEMAN will head up their teams' drafts. Wainwright "hopes an experience that raised over $121,000 last season will approach" $2M this year (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/11).
THREE-POINT PLAY: In Sacramento, Marcos Breton writes there are several reasons for Mayor KEVIN JOHNSON "to become Sacramento's first three-term mayor since the city was incorporated in 1850." Johnson is a "frequent guest at the White House" and the 48-year-old is "ascending within worlds not normally frequented by former professional basketball players." Breton: "He said he wanted to enhance Sacramento's self-image, and he's doing it" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 8/9).
HONORS & AWARDS: The Motorsports HOF of America on Friday inducted RUSTY WALLACE, ARIE LUYENDYK, JIM FRANCE and DON PANOZ as part of its 26th induction ceremony. Daytona Int'l Speedway President JOIE CHITWOOD III served as the event's Honorary Chair (Motorsports HOF)....Astros broadcaster MILO HAMILTON yesterday was named to the Des Moines Register's Iowa Sports HOF (CHRON.com, 8/10)....Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations JOHN ELWAY and former MLBer RANDY JOHNSON were elected to the Single-A New York-Penn League HOF (DENVERPOST.com, 8/9).
NAMES: Cubs BOD member PETE RICKETTS is the Republican nominee in the Nebraska gubernatorial race. He would "remain on the Cubs board" should he win the election (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 8/9)....Sports commentator AHMAD RASHAD and NBA free agent RAY ALLEN played golf with PRESIDENT OBAMA over the weekend on Martha's Vineyard (THEHILL.com, 8/9)....Chinese film director ZHANG YIMOU will make a "promotional film to boost" Beijing's efforts to land the '22 Winter Games. Zhang directed the Opening and Closing ceremonies during the '08 Beijing Games (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/11)....Premier Sports & Entertainment's GARY UBERSTINE sold a 2,520-square-foot townhouse in Manhattan Beach, Calif., for $3.139M (LATIMES.com, 8/8)....Red Sox Manager of Media Relations & Baseball Information JON SHESTAKOFSKY married STEPH MARCUS over the weekend (BOSTON GLOBE, 8/10).