The Basketball HOF on Friday announced the first five members of its class of '14. The direct-elects include former NBA Commissioner DAVID STERN, voted in by the Contributor Direct Election Committee, former NBAer and ABA coach BOB LEONARD from the ABA Committee, former NBAer NAT CLIFTON from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, former NBAer and Northern European Basketball League Founder SARUNAS MARCIULIONIS from the Int'l Committee and former NBAer GUY RODGERS from the Veterans Committee. The HOF also named retired sportswriter JOE GILMARTIN and retired broadcaster JOHN ANDARIESE recipients of the '14 Curt Gowdy Media Award. In addition, former NBAer ALVIN ATTLES will receive the '14 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. All of the inductees and honorees will be part of the HOF's enshrinement events in August (Basketball HOF).
People and Pop Culture
The Suns named Cavaliers VP/Sales & Services NIC BARLAGE Senior VP & Chief Sales Officer. In his new role, Barlage will be responsible for all ticketing and premium sales and service functions, including revenue, retention and client services. He also will oversee marketing efforts for the WNBA Mercury and US Airways Center (Suns).
EXECS: Single-A South Atlantic League Delmarva Shorebirds radio broadcaster and graphic designer BRET LASKY has left the team to purse an opportunity with the LPGA Tour. Univ. of Maryland-Eastern Shore Assistant Dir of New Media DOUG NEWTON will take over as the voice of the Shorebirds (Shorebirds)....The Triple-A PCL Omaha Storm Chasers named ROB STERNBERG Marketing & Promotions Manager and DANNY DUNBAR Sponsorship Sales Exec (Storm Chasers)....California Univ. of Pennsylvania named interim AD DR. KAREN HJERPE to the position permanently (California Univ.).
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The Pelicans on Friday held the NBA All-Star Party at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. In addition to team Owners TOM and GAYLE BENSON, the party was attended by Pelicans President DENNIS LAUSCHA, Vice Chair RITA BENSON LEBLANC, Saints GM MICKEY LOOMIS, Pelicans Senior VP/Marketing & Business Development BEN HALES and Saints Dir of Player Personnel RYAN PACE. Clippers Owner DONALD STERLING, Nuggets Owner STAN KROENKE and President JOSH KROENKE, Bulls President & COO MICHAEL REINSDORF, MSG President HANK RATNER, Smoothie King CEO WAN KIM and political pundits JAMES CARVILLE and MARY MATALIN also were spotted (NOLA.com, 2/15).
AROUND THE TRACK: NASCAR driver JIMMIE JOHNSON and his wife, CHANDRA, are "launching a wellness challenge through their Jimmie Johnson Foundation." The foundation has partnered with Cool Breeze Cyclery on "four events encouraging individuals and corporations to prioritize health" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 2/15)....Daytona Int'l Speedway President JOIE CHITWOOD III on Jan. 18 served as keynote speaker at the annual meeting of the Civic League of the Halifax Area. BETTY JANE FRANCE was honored with the J. Saxon Lloyd Community Service Award "for years of philanthropy and contributions to the area" (NEWS-JOURNAL.com, 2/16)....Actor CHRIS EVANS will "serve as Grand Marshal" for the Daytona 500 (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/16)....Singer ALOE BLACC will "perform the national anthem" (NEWS-JOURNAL.com, 2/14).
POLICE BLOTTER: Prosecutors on Friday charged suspended NFL Network analyst DARREN SHARPER “with raping and drugging two women in California and disclosed he is under investigation in connection with five more drug-related rapes in three other states” (AP, 2/14)….Ravens RB RAY RICE and his fiancée, JANAY PALMER, “were arrested over the weekend after a fight at a casino in Atlantic City” (Baltimore SUN, 2/17).
MAN WITH A PLAN: Mobile app and website GamePlan4Me.com launched on Feb. 6, featuring videos of U.S. athletes telling how having a game plan helped them achieve their goals, with a roster including ESPN’s KEYSHAWN JOHNSON, former NBAer DIKEMBE MUTOMBO and Giants WR VICTOR CRUZ and LB MARK HERZLICH. IMG Sports & Entertainment President GEORGE PYNE, Augeo Founder & CEO DAVID KRISTAL and Valor Equity Partners Managing Dir JUAN SABATER are leading the initiative (GamePlan4Me).
NAMES: Panthers WR STEVE SMITH is part of Nashville-based D1 Sports Holdings, which “will own a stake in the 20,000-square-foot training and physical-therapy center” D1 Sports Training plans to open in the Charlotte area in April (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/14)….TBS’ CONAN O’BRIEN is bringing his late-night show to Dallas from March 31-April 3, which “coincides with the NCAA Final Four” beginning April 5 at AT&T Stadium (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 2/15)….Baseball HOFer HANK AARON is “recovering from partial left-hip replacement surgery” performed on Friday “after slipping and falling” earlier in the day (AJC.com, 2/15).