Tag Archives: Nike

I return to my college years. And the city of Cleveland answers back brilliantly

As you read this, I will  have returned to the scene of my years, 1993-1997.
For the first time in about 11 years, I’m back in Newark, Del. this weekend, visiting my wonderful college at Homecoming. Really, I’m going to see old, wonderful friends and my mentor, and to visit the campus that I haven’t seen in over a decade.
It’s so much of a cliche when people talk about college being the best time in their life. But it’s also so true. I had a marvelous four years at UD; it really was the perfect school for me. It was far enough away from my childhood (3 1/2 hours by car) but not too far if I wanted to go home.
I learned so much, and met so many fabulous people, many of whom are still important to me (Pearlman and I are sharing a room at the Howard Johnsons of Newark Saturday night. Hilarity will likely ensue.)
People mock Delaware, because it’s small and inconsequential to much of the rest of America. But on that campus, among those trees, I became so much of who I am today.
I had my views challenged, my mind opened up, and had some of the greatest experiences of my life on that campus.
I’m very curious to see what memories come flooding back. I’m such a different person than I was back then.
Mostly, though, I want to see if the Philly cheeseteaks at the E. Cleveland Sub Shop in Newark are still the best I ever had.
**So I hope you have all seen the brilliant Nike commercial starring LeBron James. It almost makes me like him again. Almost. Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, you can check it out here.
The people of Cleveland have seen it. And they put together this brilliant response video. So good:

The NCAA leaves the Tournament (basically) alone. A weird Nike commercial. And a baseball player who flew.

Well, color me surprised.

Ever since the NCAA poo-bahs floated the idea that they were thinking of expanding the NCAA men’s basketball tournament to 96 teams, I figured it was a done deal.

Never mind that it was a stupid, idiotic, why mess with success idea. One of the dumbest, craziest ideas the NCAA has ever come up with.

The Tournament is perfect, a wonderful three-week march to a champion. But money talks, so of course the NCAA was going to expand, take more TV money, and put more undeserving teams into the Big Dance.

As a diehard college basketball fan (you may have heard I like Duke), I was awaiting the inevitable: the destruction of March Madness as we knew it.

But well well well, the NCAA actually got one right. Thursday it was announced that the Tournament is only expanding by three teams, to 68.

I can live with that. Sure, a few more low-major schools like Winthrop and East Tennessee State will get screwed by having to play those stupid play-in games, but the Tournament’s beauty remains intact.

Much like Pat Forde on ESPN.com, I’m not sure if the NCAA actually did this because they listened to the howls of protest from fans and media, or they just scared us by threatening 96, without really meaning it.

Either way, I’m very happy with the outcome. Bravo, NCAA.

**So I was pretty puzzled by that Nike Tiger Woods commercial, and this one seems equally strange, but a little cooler and easier to understand. Athletes’ heads and hearts in different bodies while playing different sports. Pretty cool.

**Finally, how great is this slide by Fordham University baseball player Brian Kownacki in a recent game? Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.

The kerfuffle over Marcus Jordan’s shoes, no love for A.C. Slater, and Karl Rove cracks me up


So the University of Central Florida basketball team pretty much exists in a vacuum. Local media barely care, national media, ha! The Knights have rarely gotten any attention.

Until now. A few months ago UCF, located in Orlando, signed a guard from Chicago named Marcus Jordan. Seems his dad was kind of an OK basketball player for the Bulls back in the day. Michael something, I think. Anyway, at the time Jordan signed, he asked UCF if it was OK if he continued to honor his father by wearing Air Jordan Nike sneakers. See, UCF has a contract with adidas that states all of its players will wear their sneakers, and in return for that the school will get a few million dollars.

UCF said it was OK. adidas, apparently said it was OK, too, at that time. Only now, not so much. Marcus Jordan wore Nikes during the Knights’ first game the other day, and presto! adidas has cancelled its $3 million contract with UCF.

This is one of those “Only in America” stories, I think. It reminds me of the great Olympic controversy of a few years back, when Shaq and other Reebok endorsers didn’t want to wear Nike warmups at the Olympics.

This may be even more ludicrous. How incredibly tone-deaf is adidas, not realizing how stupid and petty this makes them look? The kid is the son of the greatest player of all time! Who cares if he wants to honor his father?

Some people, including the excellent writer Ann Killion, have taken shots at Marcus, for putting himself before the team.

Me? I’m willing to chalk it up to the kid simply learning from his Dad, and not knowing any better. What Nike ought to do, as several others have pointed out, is come in as the knight in shining armor, and give UCF a Nike contract worth at least as much as what adidas was playing. They have a chance to look like the good guys in all this.

What a strange, strange story. Only in America.

***So maybe only people between the ages of 25-35 will get this, but here goes. I’m reading the celebrity blurbs in my newspaper this morning (the very fine Daytona Beach News-Journal, where yours truly has a big story today about a high school swimmer who’s gone through some serious health issue, not that I’m trying to plug my own work or anything), and I come across something about Mario Lopez.

And the blurb, taken from the AP wire, referred to Lopez as the “Extra” host and as a former “Dancing With The Stars” contestant.

And I’m going: Excuse me? No mention of “Saved By The Bell?” No mention of A.C. Slater, the man who stole Kelly Kapowski’s heart, and then Jesse Spano’s? No mention of the character who turned himself in during a very special Driver’s Ed episode, and helped the Bayside High football and wrestling teams to important victories?

Sigh. It’s a sad, sad day when Mario Lopez and “Saved by the Bell” aren’t even in the same sentence anymore. Ah, A.C.

***And finally today, nothing like a little Karl Rove to brighten my day. I wish I could chalk this article he wrote in the Wall Street Journal up to amnesia, but I don’t think that’s it.

Get this: The man who directed a President to spend more money, and waste more money, than anyone else in history, the man who sent us spiraling into some of the worst debt ever, now says we have to curb the runaway spending of the Obama administration.

My favorite line in this piece, which may break the record for Unintentional Comedy: “Tuesday’s results were the first sign that voters are revolting against runaway spending and government expansion.”

Rove warning against runaway spending is kinda like Jesse James telling those railroad conductors back in the day to watch out for thieves. Unbelievable, the chutzpah on this guy.