NBPA Dir of Security & Agent Administration ROBERT GADSON yesterday confirmed that RICH PAUL, longtime friend of Heat F LEBRON JAMES, has been certified by the NBPA to represent players in contract talks with clubs. Paul recently left CAA with James to start a new NBA player representation firm based in the Cleveland area called Klutch Sports Group. Paul first applied to be an NBPA-certified agent in early March (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).
PLAYING THE PART: USA TODAY’s Scott Bowles notes actor HARRISON FORD will portray former Dodgers GM BRANCH RICKEY in “42,” the story of JACKIE ROBINSON breaking baseball’s color barrier. The movie is expected to be released April '13. Ford said that he was “drawn to the role not by the story’s legacy but its personalities.” Ford “combed through press clippings and news footage of Rickey to prepare for the role, one of his few non-fiction characters.” Ford said, “Anything I could find, I used. I discovered he did things too numerous to count” (USA TODAY, 9/20).
A SPOT OF SUNSHINE: GULFSHORE BUSINESS magazine’s Jennifer Reed profiles Red Sox Dir of Florida Business Operations KATIE HAAS, who “oversaw construction" of the club's $78M JetBlue Park Spring Training facility in Ft. Myers. Since arriving in Dec. ’09, Haas “worked with Manhattan Construction and its subcontractors, trained staff, oversaw sponsorships and coordinated parking procedures.” She also established a “Week of Service,” during which the team “dedicated time and money to nonprofit groups.” In addition, she created a “Community Corner” at the stadium to “spotlight nonprofits and joined area board of directors to get a hands-on role in shaping the region.” Lee County (Fla.) Sports Authority Exec Dir JEFF MIELKE said, “Katie has taken the Red Sox in this community to the next level” (GULFSHORE BUSINESS, 10/’12 issue).
STYLIN' & PROFILIN': Celtics G RAJON RONDO's unpaid summer internship at GQ was examined on yesterday's episode of NBC’s “Today." Rondo said, "I was actually in the GQ closet working, packing bags, actually wrote a blog too. I just didn’t go in there and half step it. I actually did some work.” GQ Senior Editor WILL WELCH said Rondo’s “work ethic is absolutely amazing." Welch: "He was up for anything, and he’s interesting because Rondo’s personality is he sort of always has his game face on.” Rondo said, “Next year, I may intern and do something different” (“Today,” NBC, 9/19).
SELLER'S MARKET: Heat President PAT RILEY bought an $11.75M penthouse in Miami Beach after selling his Coral Gables, Fla., home earlier this year for $16.75M (MIAMI HERALD, 9/18)….Former Gatorade President SARAH ROBB O’HAGAN is looking to sell her five-bedroom Chicago-area home for $1.3M (CHICAGOREALESTATEDAILY.com, 9/18)….MLB free agent DERREK LEE sold his three-bedroom condo in Chicago’s Gold Coast for $1.025M (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 9/18).
NAMES: Former USA Swimming coach RICK CURL has been “banned for life” by the NGB over “allegations of an intimate relationship with a teenage swimmer in the 1980s.” Curl was scheduled to appear yesterday before the National Board of Review, but he “informed the governing body he was waiving his right to challenge the case at a hearing” (AP, 9/19)….Athlon Sports Communications launched a Collegiate Sports Marketing Division in partnership with 4A Management (Athlon Sports)….Univ. of North Carolina men’s basketball coach ROY WILLIAMS yesterday had “surgery to remove a tumor from his right kidney.” His doctor ERIC WALLEN said the procedure “went well and according to plan” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 9/20)….Falcons Owner ARTHUR BLANK will speak at the Univ. of Georgia's fall commencement on Dec. 14 after he is “awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 9/18)….Ravens LB BRENDON AYANBADEJO will host a "MNF" party to support same-sex marriage (BALTIMORESUN.com, 9/19)….NBA Kings Media Relations Manager DEVIN BLANKENSHIP published a 292-page novel titled “Sherman’s Eagle” (SACBEE.com, 9/16)….Gold Medal-winning U.S. gymnast GABBY DOUGLAS will make a guest appearance in a season four episode of CW’s “The Vampire Diaries” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 9/18)….MASN Payroll Coordinator PATRICK NAIRN and his wife NICOLE welcomed a new baby girl on Tuesday (“Orioles-Mariners,” MASN2, 9/19).
IN MEMORY: MAX SORIANO, a partner in the ownership group that gave Seattle its first MLB franchise, died Saturday at the age of 86. Soriano and his brother DEWEY in ’69 paid $2M to purchase a 35% share "in the expansion Pilots” (SEATTLE TIMES, 9/20).