Basketball HOFer KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR was "immortalized with a 16-foot, 1,500-pound bronze statue unveiled in front of Staples Center" before Friday's Suns-Lakers game, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN L.A. The statue was "created by sculptors" JULIE ROTBLATT AMRANY and OMRI AMRANY and "joins the statues" of basketball HOFers MAGIC JOHNSON and JERRY WEST, hockey HOFer WAYNE GRETZKY, broadcaster CHICK HEARN and boxer OSCAR DE LA HOYA at Star Plaza in front of Staples Center. Some, including Abdul-Jabbar, felt he "should have had a statue before some of the others who were given the honor during the past decade." During the statue's unveiling, he "singled out" Lakers GM MITCH KUPCHAK, Exec VP/Business Operations JEANNIE BUSS, Owner JERRY BUSS and AEG President & CEO TIM LEIWEKE. Abdul-Jabbar said, "About three or four years ago, Tim made me a promise that this statue would be here and sure enough, he kept his word" (ESPNLA.com, 11/17). The AP's Greg Beacham noted Abdul-Jabbar "pronounced himself humbled and grateful" during the unveiling. Though the Lakers "insist there are no hard feelings with their sometimes-prickly ex-superstar, Abdul-Jabbar ruefully recalled a minor ruckus he started a few years ago by complaining that Johnson and West had been honored with Staples Center statues before him." Abdul-Jabbar said, "I had a little too much to say about it not happening right away. But they were patient with me" (AP, 11/16).
People and Pop Culture
N.C. State Univ. AD DEBBIE YOW "received a two-year extension" and "got $50,000 added to her annual supplemental income in her new contract," which runs through '17. Yow would receive a "$100,000 bonus" for a national title in football or men’s basketball and "would receive a $50,000 bonus for a national championship in women’s basketball and $25,000 for one in any other sport." Yow’s annual salary, $354,200, "remains unchanged with the extension" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/17). In Raleigh, Caulton Tudor wrote Yow's impact has been “quick, profound, entirely positive and probably long-standing” (NEWS & OBSERVER, 11/18).
COMINGS & GOINGS: In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, Terry Lefton reports the Eagles named Learfield Sports Senior Dir of Business Development MOLLY MULLADY ARBOGAST VP/Corporate Partnership Development. Meanwhile, MLS VP/Marketing & Consumer Products STU CRYSTAL has “quietly departed the league after 12 years.” Crystal, a former Starter and adidas marketer, is “consulting and looking at new opportunities” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 11/19 issue).
EXECS: The D’Backs named CRAIG SHIPLEY Assistant to GM KEVIN TOWERS (D’Backs)….The Univ. of South Carolina's Gamecock Club promoted JEFF CRANE to Senior Associate AD, STEVE EIGENBROT to Dir of Development, JORDAN GARDNER to Membership Services Coordinator WAYNE HIOTT to Assistant Dir of the Gamecock Club. In addition, the club named ELAINE ARNOLD Assistant Dir of Development, KENDALL BELK Communications & Stewardship Coordinator, and JAY BROWN Assistant Dir of the Gamecock Club (Gamecock Club)….Texas A&M named Univ. of South Carolina Senior Associate AD/Academics & Student Support RAYMOND HARRISON JR. Senior Associate AD (Texas A&M)....EPL club Liverpool Dir of Communications JEN CHANG has left the club after less than six months (PA, 11/16).
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In Virginia, David Teel profiled ACC Commissioner JOHN SWOFFORD and noted Swofford "isn't law-school polished" like SEC Commissioner MIKE SLIVE. He is not "new-aged trendy like the Pacific 12's LARRY SCOTT, or overtly forceful like the Big Ten's JIM DELANY, the latter a classmate at North Carolina." Florida Citrus Sports CEO & Russell Athletic Bowl Chair STEVE HOGAN said, "He just gets the job done." Wake Forest AD RON WELLMAN said, "It's like herding cats. It is a real challenge ... (John) lets the cats run quite a bit, but in the end, he brings them back together" (Hampton Roads DAILY PRESS, 11/18).
AGENTS OF CHANGE: Phillies 1B RYAN HOWARD, who has been co-represented by CAA Sports and Excel Sports Management will now be exclusively represented by CAA Sports in all areas. Howard will be represented by a team of agents led by CAA Baseball Co-Head BRODIE VAN WAGENEN. Since '11, when prominent MLB agent CASEY CLOSE left CAA Sports to join Excel Sports Management as a partner, Excel represented him on the field and Excel and CAA Sports co-represented him off the field. Meanwhile, Excel has signed free agent P JEREMY GUTHRIE and Orioles P BRIAN MATUSZ for representation. Close and DAVID O'HAGAN will represent the players. Guthrie and Matusz were both formerly represented by CAA Sports (Liz Mullen, SportsBusiness Journal).
NO DODGING: Former Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP bankruptcy attorney "heavy hitter BRUCE BENNETT has billed" the Dodgers nearly $13M for the "defunct law firm's work on the team's Chapter 11 case." Bennett "filed the final legal tally Tuesday." The total "includes a $500,000 bonus that Mr. Bennett argued in court papers is 'modest,' given the result achieved: The baseball team, which was falling apart financially, sold for a 'record-shattering'" $2B in Chapter 11 (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/19).
GAMES ON: In a Q&A with the N.Y. Times, SOCOG President & CEO DMITRY CHERNYSHENKO said the organization is “already beginning test events” at Olympic venues, which is “killing rumors that we’re trying to hide our venues.” Chernyshenko said, “We’re telling everyone, please, come see our venues.” When asked what the most difficult aspect of Olympic planning was, Chernyshenko said, “The project is delivered by people. The challenge is personnel. … We’re using two companies, both in the United States, to help -- Adecco and Kelly -- to help find personnel. They’ve built subsidiary offices all over the country. We have to find, select, hire, train and accommodate. So it’s very difficult” (N.Y. TIMES, 11/18).
NAMES: The INDIANAPOLIS STAR ran a feature on the office of U/S Sports Advisors President KEN UNGAR. Ungar "wanted an office without walls and silos." Ungar's desk "sits amid those of his staff." There are no "private offices at the company" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/17)....N.Y. Daily News columnist MIKE LUPICA has "won the 19th annual Damon Runyon Award, one of the most prestigious awards in American journalism." The award is "given annually to a journalist whose work best exemplifies the vivid writing style of DAMON RUNYON, an early member of the oldest press club in the country" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/18)....Dodgers 1B ADRIAN GONZALEZ drew an "estimated 4,000 people to a field dedication ceremony in his former hometown" of Tijuana, Mexico on Saturday (L.A. TIMES, 11/18)....Rapper SNOOP DOGG has "revealed he wants to buy a share" in Scottish Premier League club Celtic. He said, "I got a lot of interest in soccer" (Glasgow DAILY RECORD, 11/18)....Actor RUSSELL CROWE is "selling his stake in an Australian rugby league club in a bid to 'simplify' his life after splitting from his wife." Crowe had been a co-owner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs for six years (TORONTO SUN, 11/19)....Red Sox manager JOHN FARRELL was honored at the American Ireland Fund’s annual Boston Dinner Gala last week (BOSTON GLOBE, 11/17)....CBS announced that former tennis players CHRIS EVERT, LINDSAY DAVENPORT and JUSTIN GIMELSTOB will appear in a January episode of "CSI." The three personalities will play themselves (CBS)....Former U.S. Secretary of State HENRY KISSINGER sat in Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT's suite at the Colts-Patriots game yesterday (THE DAILY).
IN MEMORY: Former Bills broadcaster and NFL Films announcer JEFF KAYE died of cancer last week at the age of 75 (WBFO.org, 11/16).