SBJ/Feb. 17-23, 2014/Champions

Bill’s Best: Favorites through the years

These days, Schmidt consults and teaches while living in Knoxville, Tenn.
Photo by: STEVEN BRIDGES
 FAVORITE ATHLETE OTHER THAN MICHAEL JORDAN: Mickey Mantle, because I wanted to play Major League Baseball.

FAVORITE BOSS: Bill Smithburg (former chairman of Quaker Oats) and Phil Marineau (former Quaker Oats president, who later went on to be president at Deans Foods and president and CEO of Levi Strauss): Each of them gave me a blank canvas, allowed and fostered creativity, and trusted me.

FAVORITE GATORADE TV AD: No question, it was “Be Like Mike.’’ From the beginning, it was special. We put a tent in our parking lot and invited our entire employee base just to announce to them our relationship with Michael.

FAVORITE COMMISSIONER: David Stern was the one I worked most closely with. He had clear vision early on, and at the start of our relationship he was in need of people who believed in his vision, and it was the same for us and him. He always stayed loyal and danced with the people that brought him.

FAVORITE FLAVOR: Actually, I like some of the newer flavors, like Fierce Melon and Fierce Strawberry. There’s still Gatorade in my kitchen; it’s still in my blood.

FAVORITE SPORTS VENUES: Different ones, depending on the sport. United Center always has had the best game presentation. Camden Yards was the first retro MLB park, which I love. The facility here (at the University of Tennessee) is pretty hard to beat on a football game day with 92,000 people, the river filled with boats, and all of that orange.

FAVORITE EVENT YOU ATTENDED: The original 1992 Dream Team in Barcelona. It was just a surreal experience. From an event standpoint, Michael Jordan winning the All-Star Slam Dunk contest in Chicago (in 1988) was very special.
— Compiled by Terry Lefton

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