NBA Ditches McDonalds, Quiero Taco Bell Instead

For the past 20 years, there have been few sport & sponsor partnerships as strong as that of McDonald’s and the NBA. Both are historically American brands that grew dramatically worldwide over the past couple decades. The partnership resulted in some enduring advertising images of NBA stars chowing down on Mickey D’s foods. The two just seemed to go together.

LeBron Taco Bell

(Always a trendsetter)

But now, amidst this historically bad economic climate, the partnership has come to a close. The NBA and Taco Bell have announced a four-year agreement for the purveyor of wretched Mexican-themed “food” to serve as the official fast food sponsor of the NBA. It’s like David Stern is stomping all over my childhood TV commercial memories while wearing a sombrero.

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Phelps Likes His Strippers and Chewing Tobacco

We’ve learned quite a bit about Michael Phelps since he won all those gold medals last summer, but perhaps nothing was more “shocking” than the fact that a young man likes to take a hit from the bong once in a while. It was Britain’s NEWS OF THE WORLD who were originally kind enough to share those pictures of Phelps toking, and now they’re back with even more fun facts about Phelps.

Michael Phelps Theresa White

That lady in the pink teddy right there is a stripper named Theresa White who works at a club in Baltimore. White claims that she’s gone home with Phelps before with some friends where they engaged in a three-hour love romp suitable for VH1 reality programming. She also shares a few more interesting facts about the Olympic hero, and of course, her breasts, too.

(More pics of tell-all Theresa after the jump.)

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Speed Read: Rumor Mill Heats Up Valley Of Sun

We last left the never-ending stand-up comedy routine that is Shaquille O’Neal’s life as he was engaging in a prank battle with Suns rookie Louis Admunson. But then came word that he might soon be taking his show on the road, as the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS reported that the big man expected to be heading to New Orleans in the off-season in a trade for Tyson Chandler.

Shaquille O'Neal

While the prospect of O’Neal - who had something resembling a career resurgance this past season - joining Chris Paul and David West might make Hornets fans (hello, anyone?)  scream like a teenage girl bumping into Joe Jonas at an am/pm, the TIMES-PICAYUNE says that they can save their voices. They looked at the trade and said that the numbers just don’t work - basically, the Hornets would have to trade $8 million more in player salaries in addition to Chandler’s, which doesn’t help their goal of trimming salary to stay under the cap.

Anquan Boldin

So while the Suns’ trade of Shaq might have stalled, the same isn’t true of Arizona Cardinals’ wide receiver Anquan Boldin. First, the DALLAS MORNING NEWS said that Boldin appeared as a guest on Michael Irvin’s radio show and pretty much pleaded to be traded:

As for getting traded Boldin said, “I just want to get it resolved, it’s been going on way too long.” Later he said, “it would hurt but at the same time, change is necessary. My only problem has been management, always has been.”

While this was happening, the ARIZONA REPUBLIC was reporting that the Cardinals have changed their course and are now open” to listening to trade offers for Boldin, who has two years left on his contract, but still prefer to resign him. Boldin mentioned in his interview that he’d love to play in the NFC East. With basically every team in the division needing a go-to wide receiver, it certainly is an attractive option.

And while this all was happening, on the other side of the country former Delaware football player Julian James was hungry - really hungry.  The DELAWARE NEWS-JOURNAL says that a video surveillance camera at an off-campus apartment complex allegedly shows James entering an unlocked apartment and leaving with loot, while unsuccessfully trying to get into six other apartment. His haul?

Julian James

“100 frozen chicken wings, a pound of frozen salmon, 18 frozen Hot Pockets and 20 hamburger patties worth a total value of $82.”

Or as John Kruk would call that, “lunch.” I hope they recovered the stolen food before James had a chance to eat it; Otherwise, I’d think the state’s Exhibit A in the trial is going to be pretty smelly and disgusting.

  • What’s hotter than Miss America in a basketball jersey? How about Miss America in a basketball jersey draining an NBA 3-pointer. INDY CORN ROWS says current Miss America Katie Stam did just that before a Pacers game last night.
  • Miss America with the Pacers

  • What happens when a stick from an opposing team’s player gets stuck halfway through the glass in Boston? As PUCK DADDY says, it turned into a tug-of-war between Montreal’s Alexei Kovalev and a Bruins fan during the Canadiens’ 4-2 loss, with the stick breaking in half. If this were the 1970s and the Bruins were playing the Rangers, Mike Milbury would have made sure someone ate some leather.
  • Congratulations to Ichiro, who the SEATTLE TIMES reports set the record for most hits by a Japanese baseball player with a fourth inning single, giving him 3,086 for his career in Japan and the U.S. So that’s what was causing his bleeding ulcer.
  • As if the Flyers needed an obstacle in trying to take down the Penguins in their NHL first-round playoff series: the PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS says that Philadelphia enforcer Daniel Carcillo has been suspended for Game 2 after giving a “message” hit to the back of the head of Pittsburgh’s Max Talbot at the end of the Flyers’ Game 1 loss.
  • In the wake of Nick Adenhart’s tragic death and with the Angels’ nearly tragic bus crash from 1992 still on longtime team fans’ minds, HALOS HEAVEN looks at MLB’s contingency plans in case of a catastrophic accident that wipes out a team. George Costanza can rest easy tonight.
  • The ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH says that Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter left the team’s game against the Cubs in the fourth inning with a strained oblique. How did he get the injury? Taking a swing during an earlier at-bat. THIS IS WHY WE HAVE THE DH, PEOPLE!
  • Remember when the Cavs fans got on LeBron James’ case when he dribbled out the ball with the team needing one more point to ensure fans a free Taco Bell item? The CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER says King James was still ticked about Chalupagate as he addressed the fans before the team’s home finale.
  • If I am Kurt Busch and my NASCAR career has stalled, the one person I wouldn’t be yelling at during a race is his car owner, racing legend Roger Penske. FROM THE MARBLES agrees, and has the audio and video proof (about 55 seconds in):

  • Kenyon Martin on Sacramento Kings co-owner Joe Maloof to SI.COM after Maloof demanded an apology after Martin gave a hard foul to the Kings’ Spencer Hawes: “Apologize to him? I’m not apologizing to him. I apologized to Spencer after the game, but before he opens his mouth he needs to know what’s going on.” Guess someone just got uninvited to the Palms VIP suites this off-season.
  • Congratulations to former Arizona basketball star Eugene Edgerson, who the ARIZONA DAILY STAR says was arrested for his second domestic abuse charge within the past two months. Edgerson currently plays for the Harlem Globetrotters, leading me to wonder if his wife is the Washington Generals of marriage.

With Stephen A. Smith out the door, which ESPN talking head should be the next to get the ax?

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Cavs Fans Boo LeBron Over Denied Free Chalupas

The slow crumbling of the relationship between LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers fans continued last week, with another incident that might be even more damning than  wearing a New York Yankees hat. What could inspire enough hatred that James was actually booed in the closing seconds of a win? The CLEVELAND PLAIN-DEALER says he did the unthinkable: he denied the fans a chance for a free Taco Bell Chalupa.

See, the Cavaliers beat the Bucks 99-93 last Tuesday, with James dribbling out the clock under orders from head coach Mike Brown rather than going for one more score. This incensed Cavs fans: there is a promotion in Cleveland where fans receive a free Chalupa if the team scores more than 100 points.

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Speed Read: Phils Win Game 1, Free Tacos For All

With a runner on and one out in the first inning of Game 1 of the World Series at Tropicana Field last night, Chase Utley attempted to push a bunt through the vacant left side of the infield but it went foul. Five pitches later, he crushed one into the right-field seats for a 2-0 lead that the Phillies would not relinquish. Can we just but this whole bunting-is-a-good-idea nonsense to rest? At least in the first inning?

Chase Utley Game 1 home run

Cole Hamels threw seven innings to pick up the win as the Phils beat the Rays 3-2 in what was a rather uneventful Game 1, despite the close score. Tampa Bay never really threatened Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge in the final two innings. Some of the many Phillies fans who were in the Trop revealed to the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER that the Rays set up their games like a “party” for fans while Phils fans are all business, if “business” means getting drunk and flipping off children wearing Rays jerseys. The TAMPA TRIBUNE found little to talk about, other than Akinora Iwamura’s big night.

The most important thing that happened all night anyway was Jason Bartlett’s stolen base in the fifth inning, which entitled all of America to a free taco from Taco Bell next Tuesday. Although, the only way we weren’t getting a free taco at some point is if nobody stole a base during the entire series. Tacos are available from 2 to 6 p.m., which means that all of America should be in the bathroom by 7.

Taco

Just because both his current and former team are eliminated, you didn’t think that Manny Ramirez was just going away, did you? SI.COM’s Jon Heyman says that the Dodgers are willing to pay him market value, but are hesitant to give him a long-term deal. Manny is thought to be seeking at least a four year deal, and maybe as many as six years. This from a guy who a couple of years ago said he might just retire when his contract was up. Heyman quotes a source that tells him that the team may consider paying Manny a yearly salary in the range of Alex Rodriguez’ $27.5 million, and possibly even more if he agrees to a two-year contract. Expect this to get dragged out, especially since Scott Boras is involved and will have to generate some sort of bidding war.

The most famous knee in New England is not healing particularly well, according to the BOSTON HERALD’s Karen Guregian. Tom Brady has already had three arthroscopic procedures done on the knee in the last week to clean the wound and battle infection. Doctors are worried that the grafted tendon that replaced his ACL may break down, necessitating a whole new surgery.  I know that athletes generally recover well from these surgeries, but it can’t be good for his long-term health to go through one procedure after another. You might want to prepare for a Cassel-led 2009 team, Pats fans.

Enough of this “news” crap. Let’s get to the nudity:

• You don’t need to comb through photoshopped pictures of Sarah Palin to see scantily-clad women with funny accents holding guns:

Canadian Biathlon team

These are the women of the Canadian Olympic Biathlon team, who are doing the whole naked-calendar thing to raise awareness about naked biathletes. The biathlon isn’t exactly as salacious as it sounds. It’s an event comprised of half target shooting and half cross-country skiing, and is huge in Europe but not so much anywhere else. The Canadian squad is hopeful for a medal on their home turf in 2010. Bios of the ladies can be found here. Find out which one hates shoveling manure at home on the ranch!

Ryan Howard still gets an allowance from his parents, writes BLOOMBERG’s Scott Soshnick (via CHINA POST). He heaps praise on Mr. and Mrs. Howard for instilling a solid work ethic and respect for money in their son, but doesn’t say anything about it being a bit unhealthy for your mom to be doing everything for you when you’re 28.

• Celtics rookie Bill Walker has kicked off his career in style by trying to start a fight with Yao Ming and Tracy McGrady in a preseason game. This might have something to do with why his ESPN.COM profile page said he was male genitalia this week (thanks to BASKETBAWFUL for the story).

Colt McCoy told the SPORTING NEWS that he’s going to return for his senior season (via ESPN).

• NBA.COM gave every GM a survey and has published the results. Any guesses on who thinks Robert Swift “does the most with the least talent” or picked Toronto to win the Atlantic Division?  Anybody?

• OK, is anyone buying this OCTOBER GONZO thing? I’m not even sure what MLB’s angle is. All I know is that this thing is being written by an MLB.COM intern who knows nothing about baseball. Or Steve Phillips. One or the other. In one post, Gonzo contends that “many” of the 2004 Red Sox who overcame a 3-0 ALCS deficit were still with the team. I guess five constitutes “many” to him (and one of those, Kevin Youkilis, didn’t even play in the ALCS or World Series).

• For an actually entertaining baseball blog, go to FIRE JOE MORGAN, which breaks down ESPN’s ridiculous point/counterpoint article about the World Series, where Jim Caple calls Joe Maddon an “experienced manager.”

• For as much crap as Isiah Thomas takes for running the Knicks into the ground, Michael Jordan has mostly escaped widespread criticism for his terrible personnel decisions with the Bobcats. YAHOO!’s Adrian Wojnarowski has a fascinating look at what is actually the most dysfunctional team in the NBA, especially now that Larry Brown is around to complain about everything.

• The L.A. Galaxy are looking to recoup some of that cash they spent on David Beckham by renting him to AC Milan for the winter. They have to return him by April, though, or face a $2 late fee. The DAILY MAIL seems tired of Becks’ act.

• Anti-doping giant Dick Pound says that unlike China, Canada was filled with “savages” 400 years ago. CTV suggests that Dick Pound should apologize. Dick Pound.

Who will Manny Ramirez ultimately sign with?

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Taco Bell Gives Out Free Tacos Today As Part Of World Series Promotion

TACOBY BELLSBURY URGES AMERICA TO STAGGER FLUSHES: Today is the day that wastewater treatment facilities go to Defcon 1 as Taco Bell gives out free tacos for its World Series promotion. The marketing idea was sheer genius, as the dirt burrito factory announced before the Series that it would give away one free taco to any and all if there was a single stolen base in the World Series (ya think?).

Taco Bell

Boston’s Jacob Ellsbury swiped a bag in Game Two, guaranteeing the transactions between 2 and 5pm ET today and that the sale of Gas-X will skyrocket beginning at 5:01.

Taco Bell

The BOSTON HERALD reports the giveaways will cost Taco Bell $700K, but of course they’ll make triple that because the vast majority of drones who participate will go for additional intestine-flushing items on the menu.


BLOG CRITICS notes how far marketing has gone, with video of Red Sox coach Royce Clayton talking to Ellsbury during Game Two of the Series, just before he stole away the hearts of the morbidly obese.


And Clayton also discussing the deal with Red Sox outfielder Coco Crisp later in the game.

Taco Bell Chihuahua

Then there’s something called DonateYourTaco.com, which (we think) involves donating your taco to the website, which will then try to cash in the value of that donation with a charitable contribution from Taco Bell. Right, that’s almost as legit as Mike Shannon laying off the sauce past 11am CDT.Finally, YARDBARKER has something we can’t believe Taco Bell didn’t think of:

Tacoby Bellsbury