SBJ/May 30 - June 5, 2005/Faces Places

John Genzale: Inside Out

Pamela Anderson revved up a few engines when she was grand marshal of NASCAR’s all-star weekend. Going where no man has (shorts in the crew areas, against regulations), she got off a racy one-liner that you’ve probably heard: “Fast men, fast cars and fast women … we all go together.” But I doubt anyone outside the drivers’ meeting heard this one. When the star of Fox’s sitcom “Stacked” was introduced while officials were going over the complicated rules, NASCAR President Mike Helton sighed audibly and whispered to no one in particular, “No crew chief is going to remember any of this.”

Yes, that’s really Marc Ganis on the silver screen. When the lights go down in the theater and come up on the first shot in “The Longest Yard,” you’ll see actress Courteney Cox walking past Ganis of SportsCorp Ltd., the real-life sports money man. The first line in the movie is his. With a beautiful woman on each arm, Ganis tells Cox, “I love that dress.” “That’s my line,” Ganis said last week, “but what I didn’t say in the movie is that I really love what’s inside the dress.” Ganis is associate producer of the Burt Reynolds remake, starring Adam Sandler and Chris Rock. How did that come about? Ganis said Sandler asked him to get involved when they had dinner at the Super Bowl in Houston in 2004. He did it in a big way. He lined up some of the talent, got Tampa Bay coach Jon Gruden to draw plays and even got Reebok to design the uniforms. He gets two credits, one for producing, the other for acting.

For as long as most of us have been watching sports, Dick Enberg has been calling play-by-play. Now he gets to watch as his play “McGuire” premieres at Marquette University.

The one-man show stars Cotter Smith as Al McGuire, who took Marquette to the NCAA basketball championship in 1977, then became part of the fabled three-man broadcasting team with Billy Packer and Enberg. The idea for the play evolved from the eulogy Enberg delivered at McGuire’s 2001 funeral. “It took me eight months to write,” Enberg said. “I could almost feel Al looking over my shoulder.”

From her heart, Christine Brennan is finishing a father-daughter memoir tentatively titled “Best Seat in the House,” which Scribner plans

“Stacked” star Pamela Anderson provided a healthy distraction for NASCAR drivers in Charlotte.
to publish for Father’s Day in 2006. The USA Today sports columnist, who lost her father, Jim Brennan, two years ago, gets emotional when she describes learning life’s lessons while sitting next to her father at Michigan football and Toledo Mud Hens baseball games. “He gave me the foundation to build my life.” … Brennan, along with ESPN executive VP Christine Driessen and CBS president of sales Jo Ann Ross, will be honored at the annual Women in Sports and Events Women of the Year Award Luncheon on June 7. WISE president and founder Sue Rodin said they are “role models for the next generation of young women entering the industry.”

A little birdie at SI said all the swimsuit models mourned when primary publicist Rick McCabe married first-grade teacher Beth Morgan in Rye, N.Y., last week. SI VP and CMO Jeff Price, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli VP Joe Assad and WFAN talk-show host Chris Carlin attended. Best man Brendan Morgan, the bride’s brother, talked about riding the pine with McCabe on their seventh-grade soccer team.

It must be unrequited playoff energy that has to go somewhere, but Jerome Williams has more jump in his offseason than his entire Knicks team had in another non-playoff year. Last month, Williams, a.k.a. the Junkyard Dog, bought into the Montreal ABA franchise, another business venture to go with his line of JYD clothing, his bottled water company and his executive car company. “It’s a chop shop in Brooklyn where my partners and I pimp my celebrity friends’ cars,” he told Cindy Adams of the New York Post. He’s doing his own TV show called “411 on 212”; releasing a CD to go along with a previously published book, aimed at creating a positive message for kids, titled “Triple Threat”; runs his foundation, Positive Shades of Black, with brother Johnnie Williams; and last week shot an episode with Donald Trump for next season’s “Apprentice.” Somehow he found time to dedicate, along with his buddies John Starks and Rob Gilbert, a playground for underprivileged kids in East Harlem, the seventh in Madison Square Garden’s program to build 10 New York City playgrounds.

Busts of Len Elmore, Renaldo Nehemiah and coach Gary Williams were unveiled along with those of Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners and celebrities such as Connie Chung and “Seinfeld” creator Larry David as the University of Maryland Alumni Association opened a new Hall of Fame building.

Upfront week, kicking off the TV buying season, is a big deal in New York. Among those attending an after-upfront at the Marriott Marquis: Giants Jesse Palmer, Eli Manning and Luke Petitgout. Ari Goldman saw Ron Artest outside in a black SUV, but no one remembers seeing him at the party.

Diane Neal, who plays Casey Novak on “Law and Order: SVU,” will run in the NY Road Runners Circle of Friends 10K in Central Park celebrating two years of smokelessness. “Quitting is my great personal accomplishment,” she said. In the program, quitting smokers surround themselves with a circle of friends. Hers was anchored by her fiancé, Irish model Marcus Fitzgerald.

John Genzale (jgenzale@nyc.rr.com) is founding editor of SportsBusiness Journal.

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