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Volume 24 No. 137

People and Pop Culture

It’s time to make your opinion known as the 8th annual SportsBusiness Journal/SportsBusiness Daily Reader Survey is underway. The survey features more than 100 questions across leagues, teams, facilities, sponsorship, media, and more.

* Who is the most influential sports executive?
* Which teams are the most innovative?
* Which teams would you want to work for?

Those are some of the questions you'll find in this year’s survey. Cast your votes and then see highlights of the results the week of Nov. 26. We want to hear from you.

Vote now!

U.S. Gold Medal-winning swimmer RYAN LOCHTE made his first of two known post-Olympics appearances in a primetime show Thursday night, making a cameo in NBC’s “30 Rock.” One of the shows’ plotlines centered around Jack Donaghy, played by ALEC BALDWIN, juggling four women at once. While out with one girlfriend, Mindy, he meets one of his other lady friends, Zarina Sbarro who is heir to the Sbarro “slice and calzone fortune,” on the street and is concerned she may be upset or jealous. Jack tells Zarina, “I know this is awkward but we never said we were exclusive and like a silverback gorilla or MITT ROMNEY’s grandfather, I require more than one woman to…” Zarina interrupted and said, “Jack, I understand. I’m sure Mindy gives you certain things I can’t.” Smiling, Jack replied, “Indeed, the woman appears to have no hip joints. Thank you for being so…” At this point, Lochte walks up wearing a leather jacket with no shirt on underneath and said, “Zarina, another old guy wanted to buy my shirt. Old guys are so funny.” Jack asked, “Who is this?” Zarina introduced them and Jack said, “Ryan,” and Lochte replied, “What’s up?” Then Zarina leans in and whispers in Jack’s ear, “Ryan is my sex idiot.” While Zarina and Jack are talking, Lochte and Jack’s “sex idiot” Mindy start kissing, to which Zarina says, “No Ryan Lochte!” Then she stamps her foot like scolding a child and says, “Focus.” Later in the show, Jack receives a group e-mail from Zarina and wants to know who else she is seeing so he looks at the e-mail addresses. Jack sees Lochte’s address and said, “Ryan Lochte -- misspelled --” Lochte is scheduled to appear on the CW's "90210" later this season (“30 Rock,” NBC, 10/18).

Make-A-Wish America selected the Thunder as one of its Chris Greicius Celebrity Award recipients for being “generous supporters of Make-A-Wish Oklahoma,” according to John Rohde of the OKLAHOMAN. The Thunder recently “granted a wish” for 17-year-old LORELEI DECKER, during which she was “made honorary team captain and spent time with head coach SCOTT BROOKS and players.” Brooks “did not attend his team's Blue and White scrimmage on Thursday night at the SpiritBank Event Center in Tulsa,” as he instead “accompanied Decker and her parents to Phoenix, where their unique bond was recognized with a national award.” Decker through the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Thunder “was allowed to call plays on the sidelines during OKC's home game against the Sacramento Kings, a 118-110 victory on April 24.” Brooks and Decker since that initial meeting “stayed in touch via phone calls and text messages throughout the summer and fall” (OKLAHOMAN, 10/19).

SCHOOL'S IN SESSION: In Ft. Lauderdale, Craig Davis noted all 53 Dolphins players and coach JOE PHILBIN on Tuesday “took part in a project at Barbara Hawkins Elementary School in Miami Gardens.” The Dolphins “put muscle and sweat behind their project, planting flowers, laying stones, mulch and painting in the school’s butterfly garden.” They also “decorated the teachers’ lounge in an effort to create an improved educational environment for the school.” Meanwhile, the Marlins’ Day of Service and Philanthropy was Thursday at Miami Edison Middle School, with the team’s office staff “teaming with SHARON ROBINSON, daughter of JACKIE ROBINSON, on a school makeover.” The team “donated $80,000 toward a total makeover of Miami Edison Middle” (, 10/18). In Miami, Kelly Saco notes Thursday for the Marlins was the “first of two yearly ‘total team’ events where the company shuts down all their offices for a day of service.” The team this year has “donated more than $1.2 million in philanthropy and more than 5,000 community service hours” (MIAMI HERALD, 10/19).

HELPING HAND: MLB will dedicate World Series Games 1-4 this season to highlighting the league’s charitable partners and signature programs. MLB will honor its partnership with Stand Up To Cancer during Game 1, Welcome Back Veterans during Game 2, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Breaking Barriers in Game 3 and Habitat for Humanity in Game 4 (MLB)….Duke Univ. announced a $10M “gift for its athletic department -- the largest such donation in school history.” Dr. STEVEN SCOTT and his wife, REBECCA have “committed the money to support a new 35,000-square-foot building that will house ticket offices, a team store, staff offices and training and weight rooms for student-athletes in nonrevenue, Olympic sports” (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 10/19)….Former Sabres Owner TOM GOLISANO “made good on the first phase of a four-year commitment to donate a total of $12 million to expand Special Olympics’ health-related services to people with intellectual disabilities.” The donation is the “largest single gift Special Olympics has ever received from an individual” (ROCHESTER DEMOCRAT & CHRONICLE, 10/19).

Sitting at the helm of the USOC is no easy task. Like many exec positions, it demands a heavy dose of travel to all parts of the globe and quickly makes any person holding the position a frequent flyer. This coming weekend is no exception for SCOTT BLACKMUN, who will look to squeeze in a few activities at home in between business on opposite sides of the country. Blackmun plans to arrive at home in Colorado Springs Friday night from a trip to the Big Apple. After some time at home, he will head out again on Sunday to Nevada for a charity event. The whirlwind weekend involves some quality family time grubbing on pesto pizza, teeing it up with friends and some fabulous California wine.

WORKING FOR THE WEEKEND: I get back late Friday night from a fundraising trip to New York. My son and I are going to go watch “Taken 2.” He’s 17 and the only reason he’s going to the movies with me is he’s grounded this weekend. So I got a little bonus from this grounding. I figured that would be a good way to spend some time because my wife is going to the theater with one of her friends, so we thought we would do a boys thing. I’m a popcorn-with-a-tiny-bit-of-butter-and-big-bottle-of-water kind of guy. Friday is also pizza night for us. My wife makes great pesto pizza. My wife makes the dough, makes the pizza. It’s usually the one thing that keeps the kids from going out early. It’s a pizza tradition.

HITTING THE LINKS: Saturday morning is usually for golf with my friends. I play at the Broadmoor Golf Club, which is where JACK NICKLAUS won his first national championship. We’ve got a group of about 12 guys and usually there’s four of us in town at the same time any one weekend. So it works out perfectly. It’s guys I’ve been playing with for about five or six years. Just spirited competition. Of course no money changes hands because that wouldn’t be right.

ROUND’EM UP! My wife and I moved about six months ago, so we’re also going to go try to find a painting or two this weekend. The special thing we are doing Saturday is to drive over to Aspen to see our friends the YODERS and drop some money at their world-famous western store, Kemo Sabe Ranch. Then I’ll probably explore a good bottle of cabernet from Napa Valley Saturday night.

READING RAINBOW: I get up very, very early. I go have a coffee -- usually by myself -- sometime between 5:00am and 6:00am. I like to read a couple of papers in the beginning of the day. I love to read the N.Y. Times and I love to read our local paper. I’m already reading it every day, but Sunday is a day that I love to dive into the Sunday Times for a couple hours. I’ll put my feet up and wait a couple hours ‘til the rest of the family gets up. I honestly wish I could sleep later. I also have a couple of books going now. One is “Running For My Life,” by LOPEZ LOMONG, who was our flag bearer in Beijing. And I’ve got a book I’m reading now about charitable giving in the U.S. called “Charity Case,” by DAN PALLOTTA. I’m on track to finish both of those books this weekend.

UP IN THE AIR: Sunday I actually get to go to Mesquite, Nevada, to play golf in a donor event at The Oasis, which should be a lot of fun. My catch-up time for watching TV is actually airplanes. So I love “Sons of Anarchy” and “Homeland.” I usually have four or five episodes taped and on my iPad for the trip home when I’m traveling at night.

The English FA named DAVID GILL Vice Chair, replacing DAVE RICHARDS (FA)….The Harlem Globetrotters promoted BRETT MEISTER to Senior VP/Communications. Meister has been with the team for 15 years and most recently led overall domestic and int’l publicity efforts (Harlem Globetrotters)….The Dodgers named Rays Senior VP/Baseball Operations GERRY HUNSICKER Senior Advisor for Baseball Operations (, 10/18)….The Mobile (Ala.) Sports HOF named PETER ALBRECHT President. Albrecht will replace RANDY PATRICK on the HOF BOD (, 10/18)….Learfield Sports named Fresno State's Bulldog Sports Properties GM LANCE GERLACH Manager of Business Development for its Buffalo Sports Properties at the Univ. of Colorado (Learfield)….New Balance named LAMAR LEE Team Uniform Brand Manager (New Balance)….Chicagoland Speedway named former ECHL Chicago Express President & GM WADE WELSH Dir of Ticket Sales & Services (THE DAILY).

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COURTHOUSE NEWS’ Joe Harris noted former UFL Virginia Destroyers coach MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER filed suit in S.F. Superior Court claiming that UFL Founder and Las Vegas Locomotives Owner BILL HAMBRECHT “owes him $2.3 million for coaching and managing.” Schottenheimer claims that Hambrecht “guaranteed him the money to entice him to join the new league as the general manager and coach for Team Virginia” (, 10/18).

OUT OF THE GATES: In N.Y., Joe Drape notes New York Gov. ANDREW CUOMO on Thursday appointed Cornell Univ. President DAVID SKORTON as NYRA Reorganization Board Chair, completing “his takeover of horse racing in the hope of ending decades of scandal and mismanagement in an industry important to the state.” Skorton will “lead a 17-member board" that includes chef and racehorse owner BOBBY FLAY and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder JANE ROSENTHAL (N.Y. TIMES, 10/19).

ON THE REEL: Turner Sports NBA analyst CHRIS WEBBER and Dir/Producer PETER GILBERT on Thursday announced the formation of their new film production company, Webber Productions. The pair will produce a line of films and documentaries that highlight the intersection of sports, culture and society. Pre-production has begun on several projects, including an untitled documentary about the life of Webber as told by Webber (Webber Productions).

NAMES: Modell’s Sporting Goods CEO MITCH MODELL will be featured in the season premiere of CBS' “Undercover Boss,” set to air Nov. 2 (CBS)….Revised drawings for a proposed new restaurant in Oklahoma City “that will be affiliated” with Thunder F KEVIN DURANT “won unanimous praise from Urban Renewal commissioners” in Oklahoma City (OKLAHOMAN, 10/19)….South Florida-based restaurant chain Duffy’s Sports Grill announced a partnership with LAUREN TANNEHILL, wife of Dolphins QB RYAN TANNEHILL (Duffy’s)….Comcast Chair & CEO BRIAN ROBERTS has bought “an unfinished space in a luxury Philadelphia high-rise” at Rittenhouse Square (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/19)....Chesapeake Energy CEO and Thunder investor AUBREY MCLENDON appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money" Thursday night as part of the net's series "Invest in America" (THE DAILY).