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Volume 24 No. 115

People and Pop Culture

Film producer and MLS Sounders Majority Owner JOE ROTH "is a hero" to the sports fans of Seattle, with the team's success "part of a comeback from a series of painful personal and professional injuries, largely self-inflicted," according to an extensive profile by Kim Masters of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. At a time when "many alpha producers are floundering, Roth has a batch of movies on the horizon." He has used his Hollywood association to promote the Sounders, having "personally auctioned off walk-on roles" in "ALICE IN WONDERLAND" and "OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL" at team-sponsored charity events for $30,000 each. Flying to and from Seattle in a private jet, "Roth attends every game and leads every March to the Match." He said, "I talk to the general manager at least once, probably more than once or twice a day" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 11/22 issue).

USA Basketball Chair JERRY COLANGELO has had a remarkably successful career, with notable influences in the NBA, NHL, MLB and real estate. Not to mention he has authored two books, has his name on the Colangelo School of Sports Business at Grand Canyon Univ. and is a Basketball HOFer. But as a father of four and grandfather to 13, there is nothing Colangelo takes more pride in than his family.

BABYSITTER'S CLUB: This particular weekend my wife JOAN and I are actually babysitting a grandson in Carmel, California. ... He’s a sophomore in high school, he’s a great student, great kid. He’s playing basketball, and so being here to get him to and from school and watch his practices, that’s a special treat for me. This past weekend when I arrived I played golf with my grandson and I try to do things with him, give him some experiences, so we spend a lot of time together. And quite honestly most of my weekends, the free time is spent with family members. I look at it as a full-time -- not job -- but full-time pleasure to spend as much time with them as I can. (Friday night) I think what’s on the agenda is a family dinner and a movie.
MAKE YOUR OWN WINE: I have a little farm in Carmel and on Saturday we have a grape harvest. It’s our first crop of grapes that we’ve grown, so I’m going to watch the harvest on Saturday morning. I love the look of the vineyard, that’s a big treat for me. It takes three years for the grapes to mature so that they can be harvested and go in to production to make the wine. This is the first year. We’re going to have Sauvignon Blanc white wine. Because of where we’re located in Carmel Valley, right where the marine layer stops, we’re not far enough into the valley to have red wine. So it’s going to be a white wine and it’s our first crop so we’re excited about that. The grapes taste sweet so I’m anxious to see how the wine turns out. It’s not for sale or public consumption. It’s for the family.

DOWN IN THE VALLEY: Right after the grape harvest on Saturday afternoon I’m going to jump on a plane back to Phoenix and go straight to Grand Canyon University and see the second half of the Grand Canyon home basketball game. DAN MAJERLE, one of my former players is the head coach there. I actually assist the president of the university and am pretty involved in the basketball program. This is the first year in Division I and a lot of recruiting is going on for the future. The expectations this year are building and growing and recruiting, that’s where the focus is. Going to Division I has brought a great deal of enthusiasm so it will be fun to help build the program.

MUSICAL CHAIRS: Over the years that I was owner of the Suns, you could sit most anywhere you want. I used to sit eight rows up behind our bench because I thought that was a great view of what was happening. I wanted to see the game from that perspective and be with the fans rather than sitting on the floor like some people like to. At Grand Canyon, I sit a little bit to the right of our home bench, a couple or three rows up and it’s a good perspective for me. After the game I’m going to be meeting with one of the recruits, a young man from Australia who’s going to be here this weekend that we’re very interested in. I do help in the recruiting area.

KEEP THE FAITH: Sunday is Church, brunch and family. In Phoenix, two of our four kids live there with six of our grandkids right there in Phoenix and Scottsdale. Our family members go to a couple of churches but we always meet for brunch afterwards. Usually out, sometimes at home. We mix it up pretty good. Sunday is usually a leisurely day unless there’s a game that night. Once or twice a month my wife and I go to a bible study with some couples, friends of ours. That’s something to important to us, our faith.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Early Monday morning I fly to Colorado Springs for a USA Basketball board meeting for two days and then I stay there for two more days of board meetings with an organization called Young Life that I serve on the board of. They happen to be headquartered in Colorado Springs also. With all the travel I’ve picked up a little thing over the last year just to keep my mind totally occupied. Some people use crossword puzzles -- I do a little bit of that -- but I like the Sudoku. I like the numbers. It’s challenging but I enjoy that. I also read novels a lot. “KILLING KENNEDY,” and “KILLING JESUS” are two bestsellers right now among the most recent I’ve read.

EPL club Arsenal promoted Global Partnerships & Business Strategy Dir VINAI VENKATESHAM to the newly created position of Marketing & Sales Dir, reporting to Chief Commercial Officer TOM FOX (, 11/14)....The Univ. of Maine named Associate AD/Development and Senior Development Officer SETH WOODCOCK interim AD (Maine)....One World Sports named Tennis Channel Senior VP/Advertising GARY HERMAN Exec VP/Advertising Sales & Sponsorships (One World Sports). 

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DR. LINNEA SMITH, the wife of Basketball HOFer DEAN SMITH, on Wednesday said the Presidential Medal of Freedom award is "a pinnacle" of the former North Carolina men's basketball coach's career. However, she added that Smith, who is suffering from a progressive neurocognitive disorder, "would not attend the ceremony at the White House Nov. 20." Linnea Smith: "We were trying to figure out any way we could to have Dean go to the presentation, but it's just really something beyond his ability right now." Representing Smith at the ceremony will be his wife, three of his five children, current UNC coach ROY WILLIAMS and former UNC coach BILL GUTHRIDGE, Smith's longtime assistant (, 11/14).

ON THE DOCKET: BB&T is the "subject of a high-profile lawsuit filed by 16 current and former NFL players involving disputed financial transactions made within a south Florida bank before BB&T bought the bank" in July '12. The players in their Nov. 1 complaint said that BankAtlantic "allowed a concierge financial management firm to open new accounts in their names via forged signatures" and to withdraw nearly $53M "without their permission or knowledge." The plaintiffs include JAMAAL ANDERSON, FRANK GORE, SANTONIO HOLMES, JEVON KEARSE, RAY LEWIS, BRANDON MERIWEATHER, SANTANA MOSS, CLINTON PORTIS and FRED TAYLOR (WINSTON-SALEM JOURNAL, 11/15).

CHARITY STRIPE: The MLBPA on Thursday announced $250,000 in grants to help fund the efforts of non-profits working to help the Philippines recover from a typhoon (MLBPA). Heat coach ERIK SPOELSTRA, who is of Filipino descent, plans to visit the "typhoon-ravaged Philippines next summer" (, 11/14)....Under Armour Founder, Chair & CEO KEVIN PLANK on Thursday at the Fight Night charity event in DC helped raise a record $4M for local children's charities (, 11/15)....The Players Championship will donate a record $7.1M to area charities from the proceeds raised at the '13 tournament. The Players Exec Dir MATT RAPP said that the $600,000 increase "could be attributed to record ticket sales" that are up 32% in the past three years, "record corporate involvement with the purchase of chalets and other hospitality sites, and increased support from the city of Jacksonville" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 11/15).

NAMES: Golf HOFer ANNIKA SÖRENSTAM was named the recipient of the '13 PGA of America First Lady of Golf Award. She will be honored at The PGA of America Awards, Wednesday, Jan.. 22, 2014 (PGA of America)....Former Univ. of Kansas football player CHRIS POWELL on Monday filed a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA in the U.S. District Court for Western Missouri, seeking undetermined damages for him and other athletes (K.C. STAR, 11/15)....Ohio-based Prim Capital Corporations Founder JOSEPH LOMBARDO on Thursday pleaded guilty in a Manhattan federal court to mail fraud and conspiracy to obstruct justice after he used a stamp to forge the signature of a deceased general counsel for the NBPA and another employee, a move that awarded Prim a $3M fee over five years (AP, 11/14)....Brazilian boxer ESQUIVA FALCAO has signed with Top Rank (AP, 11/14).