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Volume 24 No. 157

People and Pop Culture

The Triple-A Int’l League Pawtucket Red Sox (PawSox) continued to “honor their late patriarch Friday with the unveiling of a 6-foot bronze statue” of Owner BEN MONDOR, who died in '10, “standing outside his beloved McCoy Stadium, the building he saved from the wrecking ball back when he bought the team" in '77, according to Kevin McNamara of the PROVIDENCE JOURNAL. The statue was sculpted and created by CAROL TAYO HEUSER of Narragansett, R.I., and sits “in Mondor Gardens, a strip of landscaped grass and shrubs just beyond the left-field bullpen.” In the garden “are six small statuettes of kids playing catch and enjoying the game -- Mondor’s idea, of course.” PawSox GM LOU SCHWECHHEIMER said, “We felt it was a fitting tribute to him to be out there with the statues of those kids, because for him it was all about families. That garden is our way of letting Ben’s legacy live long after we’re all gone” (PROVIDENCE JOURNAL, 6/23). In Providence, Jim Donaldson wrote Mondor “turned a bankrupt baseball operation into a model franchise, the standard by which all other minor league teams are measured” (, 6/23). In Boston, Bob Ryan wrote 35 years ago, Mondor “took a bankrupt and untrustworthy franchise known as the Pawtucket Red Sox -- a team that could barely draw 70,000 people annually in a run-down mess of a ballpark -- and turned it into as important a social, cultural, and philanthropic institution as there is in all of Rhode Island.” He did this “by virtue of both his business acumen and his enormous personal charm, and he did it customer-by-customer and business-by-business” (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/24).

The Hawks announced Spurs VP/Basketball Operations DANNY FERRY has been named President of Basketball Operations & GM (Hawks)....The Big Ten Network named Fox Networks Sales Account Exec JIM REEDER VP/Ad Sales, reporting to BTN President MARK SILVERMAN (BTN)....Learfield Sports hired the following as New Account Execs for its collegiate properties: JEFF ZIEGENHORN at the Univ. of Miami, KEVIN TIEMANN at Boise State, TYLER KEYS at Univ. of Alabama, MIKE PHILLIP at the Univ. of Wyoming and ROB MILLER at Univ. of Northern Iowa (Learfield Sports)....Icebreaker Clothing appointed Air New Zealand CEO ROB FYFE Board Dir effective July 1 (Icebreaker).....Comcast SportsNet named DAN HAYES its White Sox “Insider,” effective immediately. Hayes joins CSN after six seasons as a Padres beat reporter for the North County Times (Comcast SportsNet)....In his first moves as Magic GM, ROB HENNIGAN "fired" Assistant GM DAVE TWARDZIK, Regional Scout TOM CONRAD, Int’l Scout RUDY D’AMICO, Int’l Scouting Coordinator SAM FOGGIN, Pro Scout BOB STAAK, Regional Scout GREG STRATTON and NBA Advance Scout AL WALKER (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/25).

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Cavaliers Owner DAN GILBERT's decision to congratulate the Heat and Thunder for a good NBA Finals series, while not congratulating Heat F LEBRON JAMES personally, was discussed Friday on ESPN. Columnist Kevin Blackistone: “Guess who’s gotten smaller? It’s Dan Gilbert.” Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan: “Grow up! Act like the grown-up in this scenario.” ("Around The Horn,” ESPN, 6/22). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon called Gilbert an “ungracious, classless, self-absorbed narcissist who behaves most often, at least publicly, like a bum. He doesn’t have the class, the dignity, the guts. He’s not man enough to say, ‘Congratulations LeBron James, we may have our differences but congratulations on a championship” (“PTI,” ESPN, 6/22).

Smith takes active role as NFL ambassador for Samaritan's Feet

CHARITY STRIPE: NFL Panthers WR STEVE SMITH Saturday in L.A. "helped wash the feet and put new socks and shoes on more than 500 of the city's homeless" as the NFL ambassador for Charlotte-based non-profit Samaritan's Feet (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/24)....Rams QB SAM BRADFORD donated $500,000 to his alma mater the Univ. of Oklahoma (, 6/23)....NASCAR driver JIMMIE JOHNSON hosted his annual golf fundraiser for his self-titled foundation Tuesday in San Diego and raised over $650,000 the Lowe's Toolbox for Education Champions Grants program (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/23)....NHL Green Friday introduced a legacy tree project in Pittsburgh to coincide with the '12 NHL Entry Draft. The NHL Foundation donated 30 trees in total that will neighbor the Consol Energy Center, the first NHL venue to achieve LEED Gold certification (NHL).

AWARD WINNERS: The Pro Football Writers of America named late beat writer TOM KOWALSKI the posthumous winner of the '12 Dick McCann Award for his contributions to pro football through his coverage of the Lions for 32 years. Kowalski passed away in August at age 51 (AP, 6/23)....Nets coach AVERY JOHNSON won the National Association of Black Journalists Pioneer Award at its convention in New Orleans Friday. Hornets coach MONTY WILLIAMS attended the ceremony (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/24).

TENNIS, ANYONE? The N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE's Peter de Jonge profiled tennis coach IVAN LENDL and his work with tennis player ANDY MURRAY. Lendl became "hooked on golf while he was still playing tennis, and since retirement has played as many as 250 rounds in a year." Part of Lendl's negotiations with Murray "included TV viewing of the Masters." Lendl was "willing to miss the first three rounds, but he had to see Sunday." Lendl said, “I’m not watching it from tape, either” (N.Y. TIMES MAGAZINE, 6/24).

NAMES: NFL Jets Owner WOODY JOHNSON joined over 700 donors and fundraisers for Republican Presidential candidate MITT ROMNEY on a weekend retreat in Utah (WALL STREET JOURNAL 6/25)....First Lady MICHELLE OBAMA will lead the Presidential Delegation to the Opening Ceremony of the London Games, incorporating that role with her ongoing initiatives to promote fitness among American children (White House)....NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE named his "Executive Dream Team" in a feature on  He would want Under Armour President, Chair & CEO KEVIN PLANK to serve as Chief Strategist. France also said, "What's happening at Twitter is impressive; my designer has to be" Twitter co-Founder & Chair JACK DORSEY. France said one of the "most innovative companies in the technology space is Cisco, and my choice for CIO" would be Cisco CIO REBECCA JACOBY. France said he would name Coca-Cola Exec VP and Chief Marketing & Commercial Officer JOE TRIPODI CMO because he "runs a best-in-class brand" (, 6/22)....Magic Senior VP PAT WILLIAMS said he is doing "wonderful" in his battle against multiple myeloma, which is in remission. Williams was diagnosed with the disease in early '11 (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 6/24).

IN MEMORY: Former Raleigh News & Observer Sports Editor JOE TIEDE passed away Friday at age 84 (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/24).