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Volume 24 No. 156

People and Pop Culture

Chinese-American filmmaker EVAN JACKSON LEONG already was shooting his documentary "Linsanity" about Rockets G JEREMY LIN’s career "well before the stardom stage, which allows him to bring an insider’s perspective to one of the NBA’s most memorable career starts,” according to a review by Justin Lowe of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The documentary, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, has a “mix of personal interviews -- including extensive on-camera discussions with Lin, combined with more informal scenes -- home-video footage from Lin’s childhood and clips from his high school and college careers, as well as game-play commentary from ESPN and other broadcasters.” Leong has “assembled a film that’s not just a stirring sports drama but also a classic immigrant-family success story, presented in an entirely new context.” With Leong “skillfully orchestrating the interview segments" and actor DANIEL DAE KIM "narrating a voice-over that occasionally tends toward an overly dramatic tone, the film is attractively packaged and superlatively edited by GREG LOUIE.” However, since the film’s title “emphasizes public reaction to Lin’s rise to stardom, some additional footage featuring fan reactions and social media trends would have been welcome” (, 1/21).

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL: In L.A., Steven Zeitchik wrote “Linsanity” premiered to a “rousing response, easily making it one of the most crowd-pleasing documentaries to play the festival this year.” First-time feature director Leong tells the story “in great detail, going back to Lin’s childhood in Palo Alto to the weeks that changed everything last February” when Lin played for the Knicks. Leong’s access to Lin “can lead to lack of distance -- there’s a bit of a hagiographic air to the tale, and Lin is given a little too much time to indulgently tout his faith.” But it also “gives us an intimate knowledge of a world we often only see at press-room distance.” The film “covers plenty of ground that will be familiar to hard-core sports fans, but it also unearths new nuggets” (L.A. TIMES, 1/21). In Salt Lake City, Scott Pierce wrote the film is a “skillful mix of interviews, home movies, NBA film and candid moments.” Leong “hits on the issues of racism and Lin’s religious faith, but he doesn’t hit you over the head with them.” This is the “feel-good movie of the festival,” and the fact that it is a “real story is the most unbelievable thing about ‘Linsanity’” (, 1/22). Lin "couldn't attend the premiere" at Sundance, but "now he'll appear on the very last day of the festival" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/23).

Green Savoree Racing promoted TERRY ANGSTADT to President, MIKE MORRISEY to VP & CFO, CHARLIE JOHNSTONE to President for the Honda Indy Toronto, TIM RAMSBERGER to President for the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and JEFF ATKINSON to VP/Sales & Marketing for the Honda Indy Toronto (GSR).

EXECS: Puma promoted Global Sales Dir VOLFANGO BONDI to Europe GM. He succeeds SERGIO BUCHER, who has decided to leave the company. Bondi is based at Puma’s HQs in Germany (Puma)....The NFL Cardinals promoted Dir of Player Personnel JASON LICHT to VP/Player Personnel. He will serve as GM STEVE KEIM's chief assistant (, 1/22)....Baseball HOFer SANDY KOUFAX will serve as a Special Adviser to Dodgers Chair MARK WALTER (, 1/22)....Sonoma Raceway promoted MICHAEL RE to Senior Ticketing Dir (Sonoma Raceway)....Richard Childress Racing Senior Manager/Communications JODY JENNINGS LETOURNEAU left the team for a position with as Account Manager & Dir of PR (THE DAILY)....Havas Sports & Entertainment named Lloyds Banking Group Olympic Marketing & Group Sponsorship head GORDON LOTT Managing Dir for the network's London-based office. Lott takes over from KEITH IMPEY (HS&E)....Aquarius Sports & Entertainment named KERRI HADDEN Client Services Manager, JOE HENDELE Client Services Coordinator, MEGAN HOSSLER Client Services Coordinator and CURTIS FIELDS to an administrative support role (Aquarius).

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In N.Y., Hank Gola writes golfer PHIL MICKELSON "doesn't have to apologize for anything" after a recent diatribe on taxes. It is "almost more offensive that he feels compelled to apologize." Gola: "He said nothing wrong. The worst thing he's guilty of is a minor public relations gaffe." He has the "perfect right to feel he is over-taxed." If he wants to "consider joining a list of some 3.4 million who have left the state because of the cost of living there, he can do it without being pounced on" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/23).

NEW VENTURES: Former Rockets VP/Corporate Development JASON KOHLL is heading up a new Houston-based sports marketing firm, Professional Sports Partners. Kohll plans to "broker advertising deals and measure revenue impact for the kinds of corporate partners he once signed up" while with the Rockets. The firm is "an operating subsidiary spun out of high-profile Houston advertising agency Lopez Negrete Communications." Kohll said, "We're focused on helping brands drive revenue through sports" (HOUSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL, 1/18 issue).

CHARITY STRIPE: Giants third base coach TIM FLANNERY will "belt out '21 Days' and many more original songs in a series of concerts this week to benefit the family of injured Giants fan BRYAN STOW" (, 1/22)....Baseball HOFer GEORGE BRETT, Royals P JEREMY GUTHRIE, former MLBer JEFF MONTGOMERY and Royals broadcaster REX HUDLER "traveled to Fort Leavenworth on Tuesday as part of the Royals' 'Salute to the Military' trip." The soldiers "exchanged thank-yous with the Royals' representatives as they passed through the autograph line" (K.C. STAR, 1/23).

NAMES: Charlotte Motor Speedway announced THOMAS POPE of the Fayetteville Observer, KRIS JOHNSON of NASCAR Illustrated, ANDREW DODD of Charlotte's WSOC-TV, ROSIE BARRESI of SPEED and GARY NASTASE of National Dragster as the winners of its Russ Catlin Awards for Excellence in Motorsports Journalism (CMS)....NFL Jets coach REX RYAN "avoided injury after being involved in a three-car accident last week in Bethlehem, Pa." Ryan crashed after allegedly "running a red light at a four-way intersection." No one was injured and Ryan "received a written warning but was not fined" (, 1/22)....Subway announced that Australian snowboarder TORAH BRIGHT and retired U.S. gymnast NASTIA LIUKIN will walk the runway in "The Heart Truth Red Dress Collection" fashion show at N.Y.'s Hammerstein Ballroom on Feb. 6 (Subway).