NBA Commissioner ADAM SILVER appeared on Fox’ “The Simpsons” last night as himself at the NBA Draft. In the episode, a child behavioral “expert” told Springfield’s parents that their children should be rewarded with trophies to encourage them, regardless of whether they have earned it. The final segment of the broadcast cut to the NBA Draft, with an analyst saying, “It's NBA Draft day, and the world waits to see who will be the first pick.” Another analyst said, “The consensus choice is Cody Harris from LSU, but there's an exciting dark horse this year. It's a player from Springfield by the name of Ralph Wiggum.” The first analyst added, “There's no tape on this 3’6’’ second-grader, but he does lead the nation in trophies.” An animated version of Silver then appeared at the podium to announce the first pick: “From the Springfield Elementary Afterschool Happy Hamsters, the Philadelphia 76ers select Ralph Wiggum, power forward.” Ralph appeared on-stage with his parents wearing a gaudy suit and telling the crowd, “I'm a millionaire!” (“The Simpsons,” Fox, 3/20).
People and Pop Culture
Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment COO FRED MANGIONE is leaving after 17 years to join the NFL Jets as Senior VP/Ticket & Premium Revenue, Strategy & Development, a new position for the team. Mangione will be responsible for ticketing strategy, including premium and suite offerings. He also will oversee the consumer sales and premium partnership departments, as well as the Jets' consumer service department. Mangione will begin April 17, reporting to Jets President NEIL GLAT. Mangione started with the Nets in '99 as Senior Dir of Ticket Sales and performed a variety of jobs with the team and Barclays Center, including CMO and CRO. He has held the COO title since July '14 (Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large).
EXECS: The Golden Knights named UFC VP/Marketing Partnerships for North America JIM FREVOLA Senior VP & Chief Sales Officer (Golden Knights)....N.Y.-based social content developer 15 Seconds Of Fame named ALIX COTTRELL COO. She will report directly to CEO BRETT JOSPHE (15 SOF)....Spectra by Comcast Spectacor named FRAN RODOWICZ GM for the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton, effective April 1. Rodowicz was previously Spectra GM for the Atlantic City Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall. Spectra promoted JIM WYNKOOP to replace Rodowicz as GM for Boardwalk Hall, effective today. Wynkoop was previously GM for Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis Univ. (Comcast Spectacor)....The Millennial Action Project named Basketball HOFer BILL BRADLEY to its Action Project's advisory board. The nonprofit promotes bipartisan civic engagement for millennials (POLITCO.com, 3/17).
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Former NFLer DWIGHT CLARK "stunned the football community" yesterday, announcing he has ALS. Clark's announcement will "put some pressure" on the NFL to "address ALS more aggressively than it has." Clark "becomes at least the sixth former player in the past 10 years to be diagnosed with this incurable disease that gradually shuts down every muscle in the body" (MMQB.SI.com, 3/20). Meanwhile, in K.C., Vahe Gregorian profiled Pro Football HOFer GALE SAYERS, who was "diagnosed with dementia four years ago" (K.C. STAR, 3/19).
FINDERS KEEPERS: The NFL today said that the league and FBI "have located" the Super Bowl LI jersey of Patriots QB TOM BRADY after it "was taken by a member of the media" following the game. Additionally, the jersey Brady wore in Super Bowl XLIX "was recovered." The NFL said the items were found "in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media" (BOSTONHERALD.com, 3/20).
PARK SERVICES: Boston College has hired Parker Executive Search to help the school find and hire its next AD (TWITTER.com, 3/17)....A source said that Indiana Univ. will "use Parker Executive Search" in selecting a new men's basketball coach to replace TOM CREAN (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/20).... Steelers WR ANTONIO BROWN headlines a 16-person panel that will hire Central Michigan's next AD. The university said that it would "not hire a national search firm to headhunt candidates" to replace DAVE HEEKE, who accepted the same position with Arizona earlier this month (DETROIT NEWS, 3/17).
NAMES: Lakers President of Basketball Operations MAGIC JOHNSON's activism "won't disappear" as he begins his new role. Johnson "very publicly engages" in causes "both political and apolitical." Johnson: "I’m never gonna change. It’s not about my job or what I do. This is who I am. I’m going to always be a man that’s going to be involved" (L.A. TIMES, 3/19)....After supporting PRESIDENT TRUMP during his campaign, Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT was “flying on Air Force One" with him yesterday. The AP “tweeted a picture of Kraft standing next to Trump on the plane as the President spoke to reporters.” It is currently “unclear what Kraft's purpose for being on the aircraft is” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/20)....Charter Communications Chair & CEO THOMAS RUTLEDGE was “awarded a compensation package last year" valued at $98.5M (L.A. TIMES, 3/18)....N.Y. Mayor BILL DE BLASIO, a Cambridge, Mass. native, took in a Red Sox Spring Training yesterday (NYPOST.com, 3/20)....Steelers coach MIKE TOMLIN and GM KEVIN COLBERT “stopped by Pirates camp Friday morning” (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/18)....Warriors F DRAYMOND GREEN, a Michigan State alumnus, “delivered the pregame speech” yesterday before MSU's NCAA Tournament game against Kansas (LANSINGSTATEJOURNAL.com, 3/19).
IN MEMORY: The Armory Foundation Founder DR. NORBERT SANDER, 74, died Friday. Sander is credited with saving the Millrose Games indoor track meet by establishing a new business model that allowed it to survive at the Armory as a blended elite/scholastic event after the event left MSG in ’11. Virgin Sport CEO MARY WITTENBERG said, "There is a gaping hole in the hearts of track & field and NYC today. A statement from New Balance read in part, "We are honored to have been involved in seeing Norb’s vision in reviving the Armory Track and Field facility; That is one of our proudest accomplishments as a running brand" (Ben Fischer, Staff Writer).
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