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Volume 24 No. 160
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Names In The News

POLITICO's Mackenzie Weinger wrote that in terms of NBA celebrity fans, CNN anchor WOLF BLITZER "may not be the biggest name in the stands, but he's one of the most devoted." Blitzer, a long-time Wizards season-ticket holder, said that he is a "die-hard D.C. fan no matter the standings." Blitzer said that about 20 years ago, he "started getting into the NBA 'big time,' and became a wicked Wizards fan when MICHAEL JORDAN made his comeback with the team in 2001." Blitzer said, "Around that time, I got my first season ticket, and I've been getting season tickets every year." The team utilizes Blitzer "as part of the pre-game show" by showing him "on the jumbo screen reporting 'The Wizards Situation.'" Blitzer said that he has "been doing the video segments, each of which is unique to the day's game and matchup, for several years." He credited late "Meet the Press" host TIM RUSSERT with "helping inspire him to take an active role in helping the organization" (, 12/26).

:'s T.J. Murphy wrote that "with a year at the helm under his belt," the general reaction to Triathlon Corp. CEO ANDREW MESSICK's "leadership style and willingness to communicate has been a collective sigh of relief." Messick's "vision for the global growth of triathlon" is "long-term in nature, given shape by the nations with growing economies and the concurrent middle class looking for health and fitness lifestyles" (, 12/24).

ON THE DOCKET: The London Times has "issued proceedings against LANCE ARMSTRONG" over his '04 libel action against the newspaper. Armstrong "sued the title after it raised questions about whether he had been cheating." The case subsequently was "settled, with the newspaper paying" $485,000 (all figures U.S.) toward Armstrong's legal fees. The paper now is "demanding a return of the settlement payment plus interest, as well as its cost in defending the case." The total claim is "likely to exceed" $1.6M (LONDON TIMES, 12/23).

CHARITY STRIPE: The Red Wings Alumni Association and the Joe Kocur Foundation for Children "teamed up with the Heroes in Blue, a group of local police officers, for a charity hockey game at Compuware Arena in Plymouth and raised more than $120,000" for the family trust of PATRICK O'ROURKE, a 12-year veteran of the West Bloomfield Police Department who was shot and killed in the line of duty on Sept. 9 (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 12/23). 

NAMES: Palace Sports & Entertainment President & CEO and former Dodgers President DENNIS MANNION has sold his La Canada Flintridge (Calif.) home for $2.7M (, 12/24)….Red Sox CF JACOBY ELLSBURY earlier this month married KELSEY HAWKINS (BOSTON HERALD, 12/27)....Comedian CHRIS HARDWICK is the newest owner of a team in the Professional Bowlers Association League. Hardwick owns the Silver Lake (Calif.) Atom Splitters (PBA)….Earnhardt Ganassi Racing co-Owner TERESA EARNHARDT “received a permit this week to create a 317-acre outdoor activities center" in Mooresville, N.C. (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 12/27)….Former NFLer STEVE MCMICHAEL “made his run for Romeoville mayor official Wednesday when he filed the petitions needed to become a candidate” (, 12/27)....NBA Kings F DEMARCUS COUSINS has fired his agent, SportsTalent's JOHN GREIG, and hired Lagardere Unlimited Basketball President DAN FEGAN (, 12/22).....In the film "This is 40," there is a 47-second scene in which former NHLer and current Flyers Player Development Dir IAN LAPERRIERE "absolutely steals, impressing the ladies with his pull-'em-out false teeth." Flyers LW SCOTT HARTNELL, Maple Leafs LW JAMES VAN RIEMSDYK and Lightning D MATT CARLE also are "in the scene." All four were "on the Flyers when the film was shot in August 2011" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/24).

IN MEMORY: AT&T Assistant VP/Sponsorships JASON SIMPSON died in his sleep last Tuesday in S.F. at the age of 41. A cause of death has not yet been determined. Simpson was the lead exec behind business partnerships between AT&T and the USOC, MLS and Cowboys. The USOC “tweeted a statement after his death, recalling him as ‘an incredible individual and partner.’” Simpson also “served on board of the sports marketing program” at Baylor Univ. (POCONO RECORD, 12/25). Simpson joined AT&T in '06 as Dir of Olympic Integration (THE DAILY)....Former Bowling Proprietors’ Association of America Exec Dir DON HARRIS died Sunday following complications from a stroke he suffered the previous Tuesday. He was 60 (BPAA).