Ron Artest Appears at UCLA ZBT Fraternity House for Rush Event

Its been well documented that Lakers forward Ron Artest is a nutball and shameless self-promoter. From dying his hair blonde to showing up on late night talk shows in his boxers, we’ve known he was crazy. We also know that the guy connects with his fan base better than almost any other athlete thus making him extremely likable. Such was the case on Monday when Artest showed up at Zeta Beta Tau’s fraternity rush event at UCLA. ZBT actually won the right to have the Lakers star in attendance that night, according to UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, by selling the most tickets to a Los Angeles D-Fenders game of any fraternity.

Artest enjoyed Korean barbecue and played H-O-R-S-E with the attendees. About 130 rushees were in attendance which is about triple the crowd for a typical event and a handful accepted bids to pledge the house, according to the DB. For as much crap as Artest takes on and off the court, the guy really is incredible when it comes to connecting with the local fan base. I’m surprised he had a chance to make it out to Westwood now that he’s busy starring in a reality TV show. Anyway, here are some pics from the event, courtesy of Zeta Beta Tau.

Lakers forward Ron Artest shows up to Zeta Beta Tau’s rush [Daily Bruin]

Andrew McCutchen Gives Pirates Fans Hope for the Future

The Pittsburgh Pirates are rarely talked about. It’s been years since they’ve had anything to be excited about because they keep trading away all their decent or better players.  But now they have center fielder Andrew McCutchen, a young outfielder who last year said he was “just a step away from reaching his dreams.” Now at the Major League level for the second straight year, McCutchen is a symbol of hope for a deprived fan base.

The Pirates haven’t had a winning season since 1992 so the people of the Pirates organization can’t help but smile watching him play. Pirates outfielder Ryan Church commented on McCutchen’s wheels saying, “He’s so damn quick, it’s amazing. It looks like he’s just floating through the air.” It’s no surprise to read that when McCutchen was called up from Triple-A last year people said he was playing “like a 10-year veteran.” McCutchen has been turning heads in the big leagues ever since.

Despite my praise of McCutchen, I’m not crazy enough to think the Pirates winning season drought of 17 years will finally come to an end. Still, Pirates fans should be smiling when they get to see their speedy leadoff man and center fielder for he is their future. If their farm system can keep producing young talent like it has with McCutchen, we may soon see a different team competing for a top spot in the NL Central.

Biding his time [Midwest Baseball Magazine]
A reason to believe in Pittsburgh [ESPN]

Robbie Maddison’s Death-Defying Corinth Canal Jump in Greece

I would start off by telling you that Robbie Maddison is certifiably crazy, but you already knew that. His last two New Years Eve jumps — the most recent at the Paris hotel in Las Vegas — confirmed that. Maddison really took things to new heights on Thursday by attempting his most challenging jump ever. Maddison jumped over the Corinth Canal in Greece and faced a 300 foot fall if he didn’t make it. Here’s the video of Robbie Maddison’s canal jump in Greece:

Maddison wasn’t exactly riding through a motocross course there if you didn’t catch it and that’s what made the jump so challenging. As if leaping across a 279 foot canal isn’t daunting enough, trying to pick up speed while riding through a village and freaking chicken coops is pretty tough. Maddison might die doing these stunts one day but at least he will have left behind quite the legacy.

Earl Woods Was Talking About Himself, Not Tiger in Nike Commercial

The new Nike Tiger Woods ad with his father’s voice in it has generated a ton of buzz. That’s probably exactly the way the swoosh wanted it — the more talk about their product the better. The one obvious question for most viewers was how they got Earl Woods’ voice in there considering Tiger’s dad has been dead since 2006. Well Nike used an interview Earl gave as part of a 2004 Tiger documentary “Tiger: The Authorized DVD Collection” for the sound bite. Here’s the context via Sports by Brooks and ABC News:

In the original context, Earl was not talking to Woods, but about the golfer’s mother Kultida. …
Earl’s full quote in the film is: “Authoritarian. Yea, Tida is very authoritative. She is very definitive. ‘Yes’ and ‘No.’ I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what you’re thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are and did you learn anything?”

Earl then adds, “So, we were two different types but we co-existed pretty well.”

So there you have it, Earl Woods was talking about himself, not Tiger in that now infamous soundbite. People don’t seem to care because it fit so well. Tiger even felt that way saying, “I think it was very apropos. I think that’s what my dad would say. It’s amazing how my Dad could speak to me from different ways even though he’s long gone. He’s still helping me. I think any son who has lost a father who meant so much in their life, I think they would understand the spot.” Tiger knows the commercial quote was b.s. but still gets people to buy into it. Of course he did — they never betrayed him so why would he betray them?

Nike Ad: What Earl Was Actually Talking About [Sports by Brooks]
Tiger Woods Ad Ripped Audio from 2004 Documentary [ABC]

Nike’s New Tiger Woods and Earl Woods Ad Is just Creepy

Nike released a new ad featuring Tiger Woods and the voice of his late father, Earl Woods. It might be just me but I don’t know exactly what the point of this is or what it does for the company. Here’s the a video of the new Nike Tiger Woods ad featuring his father Earl Woods:

Um, OK so is Nike trying to remind people about Tigers’ “indiscretions”? If I were them I would think that I would want to move past it and make people focus on the here and now rather than the drama of a few months ago. I also find it really creepy that they are using his late father’s voice for this ad. Earl Woods died in 2006 and this ad has got some eerie “beyond the grave” type feel to it and it just really gives me a chill in my spine when I watch.

So with Tiger officially carrying the Nike torch, I wonder what their next move will be after this creepy campaign. Maybe they’ll be changing their slogan from “Just do it” to “Keep it in your pants.”

Angels Break Cavaliers Snuggie Record

It was only a month ago that the Cavaliers set the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of people wearing fleece blankets thanks to a snuggie giveaway at a home game. The Angels saw what the Cavs did and thought pretty logically — we have a larger stadium capacity so we can easily blow that record away and grab some pub in the process. They did just that on the second day of the season, having their fans slip on a Hideki Matsui #55 Angels snuggie in the 5th inning of their game with the Twins. Here’s what it looks like when 43,510 fans slip on a red fleece blanket aka snuggie:

And here are a few close-ups via jennydaws and tekkenazo:

The Angels lost to the Twins 5-3 to even up the series and they got what they deserved for running a cheesy promo. My guess is some college football team comes along and blows them all away this fall. Just what we need, 106,000 maize snuggies at The Big House. Yikes.

Angels easily cover blanket record [Angels.MLB.com]
Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Sports Adulterers Hall of Fame

With Tiger Woods returning to competitive golf this week despite the recent revelations of his extramarital affairs, it got me thinking about other notorious spouse cheaters in sports. If we were to turn our backs on all the athletes who have cheated on their wives, who would we have left? If we were to shun every athlete who has ever done anything distasteful, then our Hall of Fames would be practically empty. Moreover, it’s amazing that some of the finest athletes in their sports dominated despite drama-filled lives. Today, let’s take a walk through The Sports Adulterers Hall of Fame and remember that what an athlete does in their personal life doesn’t necessarily impact their game.

Tiger Woods: He has returned to the golf world despite all the drama surrounding him and his family. Tiger was scrutinized for his multiple “indiscretions” and rumors swirled that he had even impregnated one of his mistresses a couple of times. Tiger has won 71 PGA Tour events, and 14 Majors to which he is second only to Jack Nicklaus. But beyond his honors and trophies, Tiger’s brilliance resulted in an explosion in popularity of the game which itsel has been an amazing achievement.

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