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Volume 24 No. 117
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Names & Faces: Nike Signing Rory Allows It To Bring Tiger Back Into Ads

SI's Alan Shipnuck reports one of the "unsung motivations" for Nike signing Rory McIlroy is that it allows the company to "start using Tiger Woods again." Since Woods' sex scandal in '09, he has been "treated as if he were radioactive, but McIlroy's arrival allows for Tiger's graceful transition into the elder statesman role." Clearly Nike "has grand plans for the duo." Nike Golf President Cindy Davis said, "Nicklaus and Palmer became so iconic not only because of their individual accomplishments but also because they were marketed together" (SIGOLF, 2/'13 issue).

CARD SHARKS: Panini America has signed West Virginia QB Geno Smith, a likely high first-round pick in the NFL Draft, to an endorsement deal. Smith will be featured in social/digital campaigns for Panini and on trading-card packaging. Smith’s first trading cards will debut in Panini's '13 Score Football release in May. He also will participate in a Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic Saturday with Buccaneers RB Doug Martin and Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (Terry Lefton, THE DAILY).

LAUGHTER IS THE BEST MEDICINE: Foot Locker's new ad with Rockets G James Harden features Nets F Kris Humphries mocking his public perception, and ESPN’s Dan Le Batard said “making fun of yourself is invaluable” and Humphries “making fun of himself is genius.” ESPN's Bomani Jones said, “I’m not a Kris Humphries fan but I've always felt bad for him. All he did was marry Kim Kardashian. ... At least he can laugh at this, and that's important because otherwise it's just going to get worse” (“Dan Le Batard Is Highly Questionable,” ESPN2, 1/31).

WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL? Author Jeff Pearlman wrote one of the "all-time worst athlete-involved commercials" is the recent Pepsi spot featuring Saints QB Drew Brees and the "five geeks" from the band One Direction. Pearlman: "Why do athletes do soda commercials. ... I suppose it's possible Brees drinks Pepsi, oh, once a week or so. But is he truly a fan? No way." Meanwhile, the spot also shows a "bunch of Saints fans going wild for Brees in the green room" of a late-night talk show. Pearlman asked, "What the hell’s with the assorted collection of hats and T-shirts?" As a "lifelong Jets fan," Pearlman wrote, "I know many of the same ilk. If a Jet fan is that close to Drew Brees, he’s hitting him with a 2×4 while gouging out his eyeballs and screaming, 'We drafted Santana Moss instead of you!'" (, 1/31).