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Volume 24 No. 114
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Names In The News

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 (, 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" (, 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" (, 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 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 (, 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 (, 2/15).