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Volume 24 No. 136

People and Pop Culture

The Hawks will soon hire longtime NBA exec MICHELLE LEFTWICH to "join their front office as a top aide" to GM TRAVIS SCHLENK, making her "one of the league's highest-ranking women in basketball operations," according to sources cited by Marc Stein of the N.Y. TIMES. Sources said that Leftwich, who has worked in the league office for more than two decades, is "expected join the Hawks next month" as their new VP/Salary Cap Administration. Sources added that the Hawks are hiring Leftwich to "closely assist and advise Schlenk on salary cap matters, league rules and planning on signings and trades." Leftwich has "spent the last decade" as VP & Assistant General Counsel, reporting to NBA General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer RICK BUCHANAN. In that role, Leftwich has "focused on various legal dealings while also working in basketball operations at the league level on matter such as player contracts, collective bargaining, trade approvals and both league and team operations" (N.Y. TIMES, 10/20).

When F1 heads to Austin this weekend for the annual U.S. Grand Prix, Circuit Of The Americas COO KATJA HEIM will be ready, to the extent that is possible for an event of this size. “The last couple of days before, all the unexpected things come. It’s like when you throw a party and all of the sudden realize a lot of little things are outstanding.” Heim came to COTA in spring '16 after having done consulting for the track -- through KHP, the London-based firm she founded -- since the venue was still being built '11. Bringing a wealth of experience in F1 to her role, she has helped make the venue a staple on the F1 calendar and a year-round venue for motorsports and entertainment.

RACE TO THE FINISH: The F1 weekend is the biggest weekend we have at COTA, and we have quite a lot of racing. F1 takes the most preparation time, because we have many more fans here. And we set the weekend up with the STEVIE WONDER and JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE concerts, so it’s a really big weekend of entertainment, on the track and off. If everything goes well, we think this will be the best event yet at COTA, because we’ve added so much for the patrons. And it’s a unique circuit. The architects have taken the best things from the older European tracks, so the drivers really love it.

READY, STEADY, GO: Once the race weekend comes, I jump from trying to set everything up to a little bit more schmoozing and making sure everything is done. You get to catch up with people in F1, because they are far away most of the year. There is sometimes the odd thing that has to be changed at the last minute. But by Sunday, you can’t do a lot, unless you have thunderstorms or something, like COTA had in '15. Then, you go into crisis management.

PACKED CALENDAR: COTA has really developed into a multi-purpose entertainment venue. We have a lot of concerts, with the amphitheater here. We have more track days, events over 320 days a year. Depending on how important the weekend is, sometimes we can just drop in. Then at times we are not there at all, so I’ll have a really nice Austin weekend. 

: When I came here initially in ’11, the first thing you notice is you go to a restaurant, there is great live music. There’s all these fantastic clubs, like the Continental Club. And just last weekend, there was Austin City Limits, with over 75,000 people in town. I’m originally from Germany, so I lived in Munich a long time, and then London. A couple of weeks ago, I was in London, where I still have a house, and I did miss it. But it’s so big. Initially, when I came to Austin, it was too small for me, but now I just love the size. People are terribly nice here, and there’s this weirdness mixed with professionalism. It’s just fantastic. But sometimes, I miss German bread and German sausages.

THE RIGHT FORMULA: I’ve worked with F1 more than 30 years, and over time, I’ve been able to specialize more and more on supporting countries and promoters who build a circuit and sign F1: how to set it up, how to promote it, how to make it successful, and how to make it commercially viable the 360 days of the year it doesn’t have F1. That’s a challenge globally for all the promoters.

Astros Owner JIM CRANE has sold his home in Pebble Beach, Calif., for $12.5M. The 9,956-square-foot home has a "library, wine cellar and elevator, and two guest suites sit separate from the main residence." The second level of the six-bedroom home features "multiple balconies overlooking the outdoor patio and the ocean beyond" (, 10/17).

BUYERS & SELLERS: Former MLBer GARY MATTHEWS JR. sold his home in Newport Beach, Calif., for $3.69M. The 3,000-square-foot home includes a "vaulted-ceiling living room, a family room, a dining room, three bedrooms and 2.75 bathrooms." In the chef's kitchen, "ribboned calacatta marble countertops pair with custom white cabinetry" (, 10/19)....Pelicans C DEMARCUS COUSINS put his Granite Bay, Calif., home on the market for $5.399M. The six-bedroom, 7.5-bathroom "Mediterranean mansion in a gated community" has a 13,690-square-foot main house, a "10-car garage and a lighted tennis court." There are "five stone fireplaces" (,10/18)....Dodgers RF YASIEL PUIG has purchased a remodeled home in L.A. for $2.65M. The living room features a "fireplace, and an arched doorway leads to the adjacent dining room." A butler's pantry and "custom cabinetry highlight the chef's kitchen, which also features three dishwashers and an oversized island topped marble." Four other bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms complete the home's 5,279 square feet of living space (, 10/17)....Fired Louisville basketball coach RICK PITINO has placed his 5,100-square-foot home on the market. A for sale sign appeared last Thursday in the front yard of the home but "no price was revealed." The home has a "large in-ground swimming pool, and massive finished basement." It is valued for tax purposes at $1,075,920 (, 10/12).

The National Basketball Retired Players Association named the following former NBAers to its BOD: JOHNNY DAVIS, JAMES DONALDSON, JEROME WILLIAMS and SAM PERKINS (NBRPA)....FIU named former Florida State Associate SID KERWIN LONZO Assistant AD/Media Relations. Lonzo will serve as the primary contact for the FIU football program and as the spokesperson for the athletics department. He spent five seasons at FSU from '10-14 (FIU).

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As part of the Patriots’ Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer campaign, 11 cancer survivors on Thursday were "treated to a day of pampering at Gillette Stadium, where they received manicures, massages, participated in relaxation yoga and met some star players." The survivors met with Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT as well as S DEVIN MCCOURTY, OT NATE SOLDER, WR BRANDIN COOKS, RB JAMES WHITE and K STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI (BOSTON HERALD, 10/20)....The Cavaliers hosted their "Big Shots, Little Stars" fundraising event on Wednesday at Quicken Loans Arena, where 40 pediatric cancer survivors and fighters were "paired with a member" of the team. The event benefited "Flashes of Hope" and "The Children's Tumor Foundation" (, 10/19).

Now Taking Nominations for the Forty Under 40 Class of 2018

If you know of someone you feel deserves to be nominated, submit their name for consideration by completing an on-line nomination form on their behalf.

DEADLINE: Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 11:59 PM ET

ELIGIBILITY: Must be born on or after January 1, 1978. Hall of Fame inductees are not eligible.