Minnesota Vikings Launch Team Merchandise Vending Machines

Last week the AP wrote that the Minnesota Vikings were launching vending machines full of team merchandise. I thought this was a creative and clever idea and couldn’t wait to see what the machines looked like. Well, a week later we have photos of the first team vending machine located at the Mall of America. Suffice it to say they’re a wee bit more complex than the machines at the supermarket that cost a quarter per spin.

Even though the Vikings are already pimping Randy Moss #84 jerseys you won’t be able to find them in the vending machines. It was determined that jerseys were too large and expensive to include in machines. Yeah, that seems like a no-brainer. I’m still getting used to seeing shirts and hats in there but the whole thing is pretty cool. The company that designed them has plans to do the same thing for six other teams so keep on the lookout.

Fans Supporting Teams with Teeth Tattoos

Whether it’s getting your whole body tattooed with autographs from your favorite team or getting an ass tattoo for playoff tickets, fans do crazy things when it comes to their ink. It’s not even fans, either. We’ve seen athletes get tattoos on their necks, on their heads, and their butt. What I didn’t realize is that the latest fad is getting teeth tattoos. Chad Margulius of IntheOT.com has an uncle who is a dentist. One of his patients has this Canucks logo placed on one of his porcelain puppies:

I suppose the good news is, as Chad pointed out, compared to permanent ink at least you can just pull out your tooth when you get sick of it.

Suns Fans Want to Deport Los Lakers

The playoffs are always a time when fan interest is at its highest and rivalries are most heated. Celtics fans expressed their feelings about the Cavs by sporting LeBron James “Nope” shirts — a takeoff on President Obama’s Hope poster. Lakers fans meanwhile were too cool to wear shirts handed out to all customers. Suns fans? Well they hit below the belt. A pair of Suns fans sitting behind the Lakers bench were wearing these “Deport Los Lakers” shirts as a reference to Arizona’s new immigration law.

I’m eagerly awaiting Vanessa Bryant’s response on Thursday night in Los Angeles. As for Phil Jackson? I’m guessing he gave it a chuckle.

LeBron James President Obama Nope T-Shirts Popular in Boston

Usually fans create t-shirts mocking their opponents out of jealousy. For instance, a few female fans in Utah were wearing “Fisher Lied” shirts, commenting on Lakers point guard Derek Fisher who asked out of his contract with the Jazz because he needed to help his ill daughter. Boston Celtics fans did the same thing but their team backed it up by knocking the Cavs out of the playoffs. One of the popular items at the Garden according to the AP was a new LeBron James President Obama Nope t-shirt that’s a spinoff on Obama’s hope poster.

A.J. Perez at FanHouse says about 600 shirts were sold and most went for $20. The good news is if LeBron signs with a team in the Eastern Conference the Celtics fans will get plenty of use out of their shirts in future seasons.

Lakers Fans Too Cool for White Shirts

When I called them “Faker Fans” a few years ago, this is exactly what I had in mind. While the hardcore fans are sitting in the 300 level or watching the game at home with friends or at the bar, you have the Hollywood-type, Faker Fans misrepresenting the Lakers fan base.

The AP recap of the Lakers 104-99 Game 1 win over the Jazz noted that most fans discarded the t-shirt they were given at the gate. Fans were supposed to put on the shirt to show unity and support of the Lakers. As the Associated Press noticed and as anyone watching could tell, the fans in the arena were hardly clad in white. Why is that the case? Because attending a Laker game is every bit as much a Hollywood scene and fashion show as it is a chance to support a team and watch a basketball game. Any wonder why many other fan bases can’t stand the Lakers and have difficulty relating to them? Go to most other arenas — Miami, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City — and you’ll find fan bases decked out in the giveaway shirts to support their teams. In LA, you don’t see that.

What makes matters even more confusing is the thought process behind giving away white shirts to fans at Staples Center for a Lakers game. First off, they turn the lights out in the crowds and focus the spotlights solely on the hardwood during games, so it wouldn’t even matter if fans were wearing the shirt. Secondly, the whole “white out” thing is played out. If you’re going to do the t-shirt thing, at least make it gold or even purple for Lakers fans. Not that it would make any difference for the Hollywood type that waste space in the lower bowl anyway.

Kobe rallies Lakers past Jazz in 2nd-round opener [AP/Yahoo! Sports]
Photo Credits: Getty Images, Getty Images