|Notebook: Livin' It Up in L.A.
With athletes and celebrities flying into Los Angeles from all points on the map, Los Angeles has taken over for Bristol, Connecticut at the center of the sports universe. At least for a day or two.
Tuesday saw a full slate of activities in preparation for the 2003 ESPY Awards on Wednesday (9 p.m. ET, ESPN). From the ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic to boxing at the Playboy Mansion to a nighttime bowling excursion at Lucky Strikes, there was plenty of star-power on display.
Here are some of the highlights:
|Allen's game does his talking.|
Your John Hancock, Please
San Francisco 49ers receiver and Best NFL Player ESPY nominee Terrell Owens was one of the first on the ESPY scene, getting into town on Monday. The All-Pro appeared on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live Show, hawking the Sharpie line of pens he made famous during last year's Monday Night Football victory in Seattle. He even made his way into the crowd during the commercial break to hand out pens and autograph a front row guest's shirt.
Must Be The Shoes
Former NFL running back Marcus Allen was practicing his swing in preparation for the 2003 ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic on Tuesday when a tournament volunteer alerted Allen that he still needed to register. "Really, honey, what's the point," joked Allen. "They just want to give me more gear. I don't want any more gear." The volunteer replied, "You don't want the shoes?" A suddenly interested Allen asked "What kind of shoes?" "Adidas," said the volunteer. Allen responded, "I'll take 'em!"
Anything You Can Do . . .
The ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic started with a closest to the pin team putting competition (with a $20,000 prize!). Julius Erving wowed the onlookers by sinking the long putt for his team. The very next putter, ESPN's own Joe Theismann, made it two-for-two when he also sunk the putt. "I love competition," said Theismann. "Bring on that tall basketball player!"
What So Proudly We Hailed
NBA legend James Worthy heard his share of national anthems over his long career. But at Tuesday's ESPY Celebrity Golf Classic, it was the Activities for Retarded Children choir playing the anthem with handbells that made Worthy say it was "the best national anthem I have ever heard."
|What, no Nike bowling shoes?|
ESPN.com managed to catch up with Best Moment ESPY nominee Byron Leftwich at the trendy Mondrian hotel on the Sunset Strip where the conversation turned to sports records. We asked Leftwich which record would never be broken. "Wilt Chamberlain," replied Leftwich. "Yeah, 100 points in a game!" we said. "No, his other record," joked Leftwich.
LeBron Fashion Watch
Best Breakthrough Athlete ESPY nominee LeBron James made an appearance at the "Strike for Sports" event on Tuesday night at the new L.A. hot spot Lucky Strikes (imagine a bowling alley, hotel lounge and swanky bar all mixed into one). He sneaked in unnoticed with some friends and grabbed a couch in the corner. His attire consisted of Nike Air Force lows with red stripes, Nike white satin shorts with a Carolina blue stripe, a matching Nike blue muscle t-shirt and a gold chain with a cross and two dog tags. He rolled games of 84, 87 and 100.
Let It Flow, G
We caught up with George "Ice Man" Gervin on the links and chatted him up about his unforgettable, dynamic style on the hardwood. We asked him if anyone in today's game has anything close to that style. "Nobody has my flowingness", he said with a grin. "Anyone who knows anything about the NBA knows about Ice."
|We'll take beauty over brawn any day.|
T.O. Strikes It Big
Terrell Owens showed off his bowling skills on Tuesday night at the Gatorade party in a charity showdown against actress Geena Davis. Owens won with his wicked curve ball, despite Davis having help from three professional bowlers in picking up spares. Sound corny? Tell that to the lucky person in the crowd (wearing a Team Terrell button instead of a Team Geena button) who won an ESPY gift bag valued at $20,000 and the runner-up who won two tickets to next year's Super Bowl thanks to T.O.'s skills.
Once the ticket-holders left the Gatorade party, the I-don't-need-a-ticket-I'm-famous posse arrived. Music superstar Brandy made a late appearance sporting a Gucci Sherlock Holmes-looking hat and Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson showed up sporting a Jerry Rice Pro Bowl jersey. Johnson quickly hooked up with Owens and the two kept their balls rolling until 1:30 a.m. Even Wimbledon champ Serena Williams got in on the fun. Onlookers couldn't get enough of her Tinkerbell-tippy-toe approach to the lane. Let's just say she won't be trading in her tennis shoes for bowling shoes anytime soon.
A Playboy Who Wants To Play
Los Angeles Lakers rookie Luke Walton got a taste of the NBA lifestyle on Tuesday night when he and fellow Arizona alum Richard Jefferson hit Tuesday Night Fights together at the Playboy Mansion. The duo was approached for multiple interview requests and it was clear who was the NBA veteran at this point. As a polite Walton was being talked into another interview, Jefferson took charge. "Man to man", Jefferson said to the reporter with a smile. "This is our first time at the Playboy Mansion and we've been here five minutes -- you're not trying to ruin this for us, are you?" That left us wondering, is it even possible to have a bad visit to the Playboy Mansion?
The ESPY Awards will air on ESPN live from Hollywood's Kodak Theatre on July 16 at 9 p.m. ET.