The NBA Playoffs are now in full swing. The regular season is done, but there have been some memorable plays. The NBA and Crown Royal have put together the best of the best plays from this year. From sensational dunks to great defensive stops here they are! Which one is your favorite?
Sit back and watch the plays that make us love this game! While watching the playoffs hopefully my Chicago Bulls will be able to #ReignOn!
Bud Light is getting fans pumped up for the NBA playoffs with the same mentality by releasing the latest installment in the brand’s “Up For Whatever” video series, where they surprised two fans with the ultimate NBA weekend. They played video games against Alonzo Mourning, received a special delivery from “The Mailman,” played a predictably brief game of H.O.R.S.E. against Clyde Drexler and went suit shopping with Darryl Dawkins. And that’s only part of what happened.
Even though Tony Meola is retired from soccer he still has a passion for the game. He played on the U.S. Men’s National Team and played in the MLS. He was in three FIFA World Cups and is a member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame. During his time playing in the MLS, Tony was named the league MVP in 2000. That year he and his team the Kansas City Wizards won the MLS Cup title. He now co-hosts a soccer radio show on Sirius/XM Radio called “Counter Attack.”
Meola and I had a chance to chat about his work with Allstate for the “Good Hands” soccer clinic where he surprised a local soccer team by stopping by their practice and giving them a few pointers. We also discussed if he would make any changes to the World Cup.
Art Eddy: Last year around this time you and I had a chance to talk about the great work you were doing with the Allstate “Good Hands F.C.” soccer clinic. Now it looks like you are picking up where you left off from last year. Tell me what you are doing this year?
Tony Meola: We will march in on a practice for some young kids. We look to run a clinic and in the end we will give the team and the coaches everything that they need in order to be successful on the field. Things like training gear, soccer balls, soccer uniforms, shin guards, bags, sweat suits, and everything else that need to run a club.
We also openly invite them to the Allstate fan zone during the United States and Mexico friendly game. We give them tickets to the game. It is a great event. We love seeing the look on their faces when they are finding out that they are going to the game. It is fun to be a part of it.
TM: Obviously it is hard to make an impact with just one night of practice. We will kick the ball around a bit. It is more about showing how much Allstate cares about the community. We love to give back with this sponsorship. If they don’t learn any soccer that night or don’t get any better I am okay with that. The vehicle is soccer, but the mission is to make the kids happy. We want to give them something in one night that would not necessarily get.
AE: You must have a blast at these events where you get to teach kids about the sport you love, right?
TM: The end result is always fun. These kids are so appreciative. The coaches who spend all their time and effort and probably send more emails than they really want to. They probably have to deal with more issues than they want to. They don’t get paid, but they are really, really appreciative. It is great to see that they get something that they necessarily wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for the people at Allstate.
AE: How do you think the game of soccer has evolved since you retired from the game?
TM: It has been all positive. It continues to grow. I am now coaching at the youth level. It is great to see all the different age groups improve their game. It was great to see what the 17 year old group did at the recent Nike friendly as well as what they did in the tournament overseas.
I don’t know what more we could ask our youth coaches to do other than to continue in the direction that we are going in right now. The coaches are doing a great job of that. They are putting the time in and showing the kids the passion that they have about the sport. I think the future is bright.
TM: I follow soccer every day. I do that because I am on the radio all day. I like the EPL (English Premier League). I am a fan of La Liga. I love watching the Champions League. There are not a lot of leagues that I don’t like. I love watching the game. I love watching the tactics of the game, the adjustments that are made during halftime, and just studying the game.
AE: Are there any changes you would love to see in the game especially in the World Cup?
TM: No, I am happy with it. Everyone argues what region should have more teams. We respond to it because we have to since it is part of our job, but I don’t get too caught up in it. Instead of complaining about the World Cup I would rather enjoy it. Just enjoy the greatness of the players, the teams, and the passion of the fans.
To me there is nothing negative about the World Cup. Everyone wants to argue all the time, but I try to stay away as much as I can. I just try to enjoy what I am seeing for that month.
Reebok Classic introduces the Kamikaze I purple/green/orange – one of the first full family packs of the year. Inspired by the legendary Shawn Kemp, this aggressive colorway is accented by metallic purple hits on the upper and Aztec patterned lacing in a nod to Shawn Kemp’s 1996 All Star Game appearance.
Lightning struck every time Shawn Kemp stepped on the court. His larger than life persona set a new pace for basketball, and his groundbreaking athleticism inspired a shoe just as bold: The Kamikaze I. Shawn Kemp and the Kamikaze I, A Cut Above Since 1994.
Very limited pairs of the Kamikaze I purple/green/orange will be available on Friday, April 25th at City Gear, Shoe City, Villa, Shiekh, and Cool J’s for $115 ($90 GS, $70 PS).
There are those athletes who talk the talk and then there are those athletes who use their actions to do all the talking. One of the best players to step on the diamond has to be Cal Ripken Jr. The Hall of Famer who played 21 season all with the Baltimore Orioles is a two time Gold Glove winner, a 19 time All-Star, and won the American League MVP award twice.
Oh, there is the other small thing where he passed Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record for consecutive games played. That is when he got the nickname of “Iron Man” for never missing a game. The first ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2007 has even won the Home Run Derby in 1991.
Now since retiring from the game Cal is still showing his love for baseball as he is teaming up with Kellogg’s for their “Never Miss a Game” promotion. Kellogg’s and Cal are encouraging fans to love every moment this baseball season, and share the lengths they’ve gone to never miss a game. Tweet them at @Kelloggs_US ,@Ricekrispies or @Cheezit using the hashtag #nevermissagame. You can win some great prizes by sharing your story.
I had the honor to chat with Cal about this campaign, baseball, and who he enjoys watching now play in the big leagues. I even shared my story with Cal about how I never missed a game.
Art Eddy: First off let’s talk about the great campaign you are working with Kellogg’s called “Never Miss a Game.” Tell me about what you are doing with Kellogg’s and how fans can participate?
Cal Ripken Jr.: The “Never Miss a Game” campaign is really a celebration of baseball fans who go to great lengths to never miss a game. I guess I was a somewhat obvious choice because I never missed a game in 17 years. (Both laugh.)
We encourage you to share your stories with some of the great lengths that you go through. Whether you put a flat screen up in your wedding reception or anything like that. I can relate to this because when I really wanted to watch a game I had to go to a dinner at the White House. It was the championship game of the National League. I befriended a secret service agent and he kept giving me updates as I sat at the President’s table. (Both laugh.)
Maybe I will submit that story. We are encouraging all the baseball fans out there to use the hashtag “Never Miss a Game” and submit your story. You could win a bunch of prizes like MLB game tickets, flat screen TVs, and the grand prize still has not been divulged yet. I guarantee that it is something that every baseball fan would desire.
AE: Sounds like an awesome promotion. I can relate as well. My wife and I got married in 2004. I am a Red Sox fan. I remember Game 3 of the ALCS was supposed to be played on our wedding day. It was postponed. I remember watching the greatest comeback in all of Red Sox history in Spanish while I was on my honeymoon.
CR: You should submit that story. That was a good one!
AE: I think I just might. Thanks Cal. You played your whole career with the Baltimore Orioles. For you was that something that was important to you in an era of free agency?
CR: Yeah. Ultimately I was a hometown kid. I rooted for the Orioles when I was a kid wanting to be a baseball player like every other kid. I wanted to play for the Orioles and my dream came true. Against all odds I made it to the big leagues and played my whole career there.
When we went through rebuilding phases, especially when they fired my dad, I thought about playing elsewhere. In the end I wanted to stay in my hometown and my home community. There were many other factors that went into it. I thought I was young enough to go through the rebuilding parts of the team in my career. I think most players would like the stability that I had playing in my hometown and playing in front of my own fans.
AE: You have accomplished such a long list of milestones during your amazing career. I have to say though watching you pass Lou Gehrig’s 56-year-old record for consecutive games played was a priceless. Where does that record rank when you look back on your career?
CR: It is part of who I was as a player. It is my identity. Some people ask me if I feel it overshadows other accomplishments I made in my career. To me who you are is how you are going to be remembered. It was important every day. If you are an everyday player you are always in the lineup.
I understood that responsibility. I learned that from Eddie Murray. He was a player that was in the middle lineup and encouraged me to play. I was lucky enough to play through some injuries and be able to contribute. I didn’t set out to do it, but it was just something that happened. I am very proud of the fact that I was able to be there for my team every single day. That was really the motivation for coming out.
AE: When you got the call about being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame what was your initial reaction?
CR: It is one of those things that when your career is said and done you have a chance to be elected to the Hall of Fame that only a few players are selected for. I wouldn’t say it is your goal to make the Hall of Fame when you play. It sure is nice to be recognized.
I think all of us want to leave a mark on a game and leave it better since you played it then it was before. I had a chance to make a mark. I had a chance to play and be a kid all that time. To be elected to the Hall of Fame is really special. To look around and see all the game’s great players and for you to be considered one them is quite an honor.
AE: For you what was the best part of playing baseball day in and day out?
CR: Again I reduced it to where you are playing a kid’s game. You shouldn’t forget that you are getting paid really well. It is hard. You are under scrutiny. There is a lot of pressure. At the end of the day you are playing for a living. You are not working. (Both laugh.)
So I think the best part of it is that I had the joy for the game every time I put on that uniform. I had a smile on my face every time I did that. I think that is the best joy. You get a chance to be a kid and you don’t have to grow up until you are done playing.
AE: Which player or team do you love to watch the most now?
CR: I am curious about the whole league. The Orioles are a team that I pay close attention to. Manny Machado is a player that I like to watch. I am curious to see him at shortstop, but I also love J.J. Hardy. I wouldn’t move J.J. Hardy.
I like to watch Mike Trout. I like to watch Bryce Harper down the street. They are young players that have really come on. They are super, super talents that have made an impact early on in their careers. It is going to be fun to watch them develop.
We all know that NFL players are tough. To me some are tougher than others. One guy that sticks out to me is San Francisco 49ers wide receiver, Anquan Boldin. He is one of the toughest both mentally and physically in the game today.
Boldin started his NFL career in 2003 when the Arizona Cardinals drafted him from Florida State. In his first year he made an impact by winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Not one for personal accolades though, Boldin wasn’t satisfied until he helped the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII.
The three time Pro Bowler is even more impressive off the field. In 2004 Boldin started up the Anquan Boldin Foundation to help those in need here in the United States and around the world. Anquan has a caring heart and it shows with the many programs his foundation provides for the youth.
I had the great pleasure of talking with Anquan about playing in the NFL, his foundation, and how it feels to be called a Super Bowl champion.
Art Eddy: You have reached the top of the NFL mountain when you helped the Baltimore Ravens win their second Super Bowl title in 2012. When the game was over and you were able to be called Super Bowl champion how long did it take for reality to set in?
Anquan Boldin: It took a while. It didn’t hit me right away. It is what you work your entire life for. To eventually get into the NFL and win a championship on that level is something. For me it was a dream come true.
AE: What was your mindset like when the lights went out during the Super Bowl?
AB: In disbelief. (Both laugh.) It is the biggest game in the biggest sport in the U.S. and here we are with the lights off. We were trying to figure out what was going on, but at the same time trying to say warm because at some point we had to continue playing the game.
AE: 2003 was your rookie year and you made your presence known by winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award. Playing at the pro level is tough, so what did winning that award mean to you?
AB: I guess it is something that you can look back on once your career is said and done. It is something to be proud of. I am not into the individual accolades. Had we been a team that made it to the playoffs and had a winning record it might have meant more to me, but we struggled that year. We were probably 4-12 or something like that. Even though I had a great year individually, we had a long and rough year as a team.
AE: You have definitely showed toughness many times on the field. I remember watching the game against the New York Jets where you got injured. That was a scary scene. Still you just told the media that if you were really worried you wouldn’t get back on the field. So I want to ask you where do you draw your strength from after taking a hit like that?
AB: My parents. Both of my parents are strong. They are the type of people that don’t let anything get to them. Also being a product of my environment. Growing up in Pahokee (Florida) you have to be tough. It is a place of poverty. It is a place that lacks opportunity. So in order to make it you have to be tough. That probably had a lot to do with it.
AB: The physical part isn’t challenging at all. If you go out and prepare the right way and take care of your body I don’t think that part is tough. I think for me just balancing the whole football part and being a husband and a dad. I think that is the toughest part for me.
You want to be there for your family as much as possible. I am going on 12 years in my career. It seems that my whole family has revolved around when dad has a game on Sunday. I don’t want it to be that way. I want my life to revolve around my family. If my son has a game I want to be there for him. If my wife has something I want to be there to support her. So for me that is the hardest part.
AE: You started the Anquan Boldin “Q81″ Foundation ten years ago. Congratulations on a decade of success for your foundation. You do a lot of great work here in the states and around the world. What inspired you to start up the foundation?
AB: For me it was something that I always wanted to do. Even if I didn’t make it into the NFL giving back is something that is close to my heart. Like I said I didn’t grow up in the best of situations. Definitely wasn’t raised with a silver spoon in my mouth. There were a lot of things that I went without growing up.
As I said earlier I grew up in a place where there wasn’t a lot of opportunity. Whatever opportunity you do have you have to make the most of it. Being in a position to help out and give back was what I wanted to do. If an opportunity wasn’t there for a certain kid for whatever reason I want to help create that opportunity. There is a lot of talent where I grew up, but there is not a lot of opportunity for them to show that outside of athletics. For me I want to give them that opportunity.
AE: Talk to me about your annual “QFest” and how that came to be?
AB: It is the tenth year that we are doing this fest. At this point in consists of three events. Thursday we have a celebrity golf event at the PGA National, which is a course that everyone is dying to play. We are getting the champions course and the Palmer’s course. So we will be playing two courses that Thursday.
Friday is the celebrity basketball game. We play it at my Alma mater high school in the gym in Pahokee. We usually get around 25 to 30 NFL guys to just have fun and play basketball. On Saturday we have a fun day at the park. We have a lot of activities going on. We feed everyone that comes out. We have entertainment and prizes on Saturday.
It started out as just a celebrity basketball game. It was my way of saying thank you to my community for supporting me over my career. They have always done that since high school. They have always backed me and supported me. So it is my way of saying thank you and it has grown from there.
AE: Since the basketball game came first I take it that your basketball skills are better than your golf game.
AB: Yeah. (Both laugh.) Still working out some kinks in my golf game, but we are getting there.
AE: How do you pick your teams for basketball?
AB: The basketball thing is just random. We put guys on each team. It is just random. We don’t really decide who is going to play for each team.
AE: How can people help out your foundation?
AB: We are always looking for people who have the same heart as us. If people are really wanting to help other people there are definitely things that they can do. We do a number of programs with my foundation that is not just athletically based programs.
One program that I am very proud of is one that we started a few years ago. I think that this will be either the third or fourth year that we will have it. We have a summer enrichment program. It is an eight week program where we help kids that are falling behind in school. We help them get back on track to graduate. That is a program that we are really proud of.
We have done a great job of getting kids back on track to graduate. Our percentage rate is really high in that program. Those are the type of things that I am more proud of than the athletics part. We do camps and things like that, but I am really just trying to help make a difference in kids’ lives apart from athletics.
Zach Parise followed his father’s footsteps by playing in the NHL. Zach was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in 2003 as the 17th overall pick. Parise then signed a 13 year contact with the Minnesota Wild where he currently plays the position of left wing. This move was sort of a homecoming for Zach since his dad, J.P. Parise played there and was the captain for the team who at the time was called the Minnesota North Stars.
Just recently Zach was named the captain for the 2014 U.S. Men’s Hockey team for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. He and his fellow teammates came up short winning a medal, but he will always remember his time in Sochi.
I was able to chat with Zach about the NHL, fatherhood, his Olympic experience including shooting a commercial with Chobani Greek Yogurt, and what lessons he learned from his dad before entering the league.
Art Eddy: The 2014 Winter Olympics are now a month behind you. What did you take away most from that experience?
Zach Parise: Unfortunately for us we left on a pretty sour note. We started off the tournament really well, but the way we ended with that loss to Canada and losing in the Bronze medal game to Finland was not what we had planned. We had some pretty high expectations over there.
The whole experience was awesome. There was a lot of fun. They did such a good job. The Russians did a great job of running the Olympics. I know all the stuff that was on the TV and the media before, but it was such a good experience. It was a lot of fun.
AE: The commercial you did with Chobani Greek Yogurt was pretty cool. How did working with Chobani come about?
ZP: They are one of our major Olympic sponsors for Team USA. They were looking for an Olympic athlete, well a hockey player in particular. We have a great relationship with them now. The commercial thing was one of the first times that I have done a commercial like that. It is amazing to see what goes into it.
It took us about 12 hours to film it. It was cool to see how they do everything and how many times you have to do the same thing over and over again, but it was really fun.
AE: Now switching to hockey is there a team that gets you more hyped when you see them on the schedule than any other team?
ZP: When I was playing in New Jersey you have those special rivalries. It was always us and the Rangers. Those games were so intense. I think we played them three times in the playoffs when I was there. Here in Minnesota we are starting to establish ourselves as a pretty good team. We are going to have some good rivalry games with the Jets and also Chicago with just how close we are.
AE: Besides playing at home, which city do you like to play in?
ZP: Going to play in Montreal is always fun. The crowd is so good. To experience the excitement in the building is unbelievable. That is probably one of my favorite places to go play a game. It is a great atmosphere in the rink.
AE: Your dad, J.P. Parise made a name for himself in the NHL. What advice did he give you when you entered the league?
ZP: I think that his biggest thing was to enjoy it. He told me at the time of my first year that how quickly my career will fly by. At the time I was thinking okay I am 21 years old and it won’t go by fast. Then all of a sudden I look today and I have been in the league for almost nine years. Then I was like he was right. He wanted to make sure that I enjoyed it and had fun playing.
It seems simple, but it was great advice. You go through so many ups and downs throughout your career. It is always good to take a step back and take a look at your career and see where you are and where you have come from.
ZP: I think you learn a lot as you get older. You learn a lot mentally how to keep an even keel throughout a season. You go through so many different stretches where things are going right and everything seems to go in. Then there are times where nothing you do goes right.
As I have gotten older I kind of learned to keep a level head throughout the season. Not get too excited when things are good or not get upset when things aren’t going so good. I think that is probably the biggest thing I have learned.
If you are a fan of the game of basketball than you are probably a fan of Grant Hill. From his college days at Duke University to his time in the NBA Hill always gave it his all on the court. If you don’t believe just look at some of his accolades. In college he was a two time NCAA champion, the ACC Player of the Year, and NABC Defensive Player of the Year.
In the NBA Hill made his presence known right away by winning the NBA Co-Rookie of the Year award. He was a seven time NBA All-Star and was part of the All-NBA First Team in 1997.
Besides his great body of work on the court, Grant has helped just as much off the court with community service. Hill has been working with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and Allstate to promote the 2014 Allstate NABC Good Works Team. This is a team made up of 10 college basketball players who have been recognized for their community service and work off the court. Hill is a member of the voting panel with other former student-athletes, coaches and media members to select the team.
Grant was able to chat with me about the NABC Good Works Team program, basketball, and his signature sneakers.
Art Eddy: First off let’s talk about the 2014 Allstate NABC Good Works Team program. Tell how you are helping out with the NCAA and Allstate.
Grant Hill: I am proud to be associated with the National Associate of Basketball Coaches and of course AllState to be a national ambassador for this team. It is the second year of this program. Basically they select a group college basketball players who stand out in their community for their charitable achievements and activities.
We get a chance to honor the ten players who were selected for this team. It is really an outstanding group of men who exemplify and embody what this award is really all about. The great thing for me is that I had an opportunity to see the importance of giving back and making a positive impact on my community while I was at college in Duke. That is something that really stuck with me throughout my career and my life.
To know that there are basketball players all over the country that we had a chance to select from was great. Unfortunately not all could make it, but the ten who did are really exceptional. Just to know that there are other kids out there who understand this I think is really amazing and really important. I am honored to be involved and share it with people like you.
AE: How can fans participate?
GH: You can go to the website, nabc.org or bca.org. There is also a team for women’s college basketball. There will be a program where we honor them at the Final Four this year in Texas. There will be a community project benefitting the city in the Dallas area. We will have an opportunity to get all ten of these honorees together. Certainly you can go onto the website and get all of the information.
AE: March Madness is here. Every sports station seems to always show your iconic moment with Christian Laettner to beat Kentucky. I take it that video highlight never gets old for you?
GH: No it doesn’t. It is funny. You get a chance to relive great moments. Basically that happened about over 20 years ago. It is still one of those plays that I guess people will always remember. It is really just what I think the NCAA tournament is all about.
Those big game moments and great plays on that stage are fun. I don’t have a problem whatsoever. I know that at some point during March Madness I get a chance to see it on television and I am not complaining. (Both laugh.)
AE: What were some of the things that Coach Mike Krzyzewski taught you at Duke that you still take with you in life?
GH: Coach K has taught me that there are so many values that you can take from the game and really apply them in life. There is hard work. There is preparation, discipline, collective responsibility, and pride. All these different things that he stressed makes him a great coach, teacher and a leader. It also translated into great teams.
Certainly all of his teams do not win the championship, but for the most part they play and do things the right way. I think a lot of those values you can take with you. I know I have. It stuck with me. I was a teenager 20 some odd years ago playing for Coach K. I still remember and go back and think about those lessons and apply them in all facets of life.
Coach K is the best. I am fortunate that I had a chance to play for him. He is still going. Coach is still continuing to contribute to the game. He still is having an impact over the span of 30 years at Duke University. It is pretty remarkable.
GH: At first it was interesting. There were certain things about the game early on that I realized were easier than I had anticipated. There also were some things that were more difficult. After a year under my belt and having the time to reflect after my rookie season I had an idea of what I needed to improve upon.
I had some confidence now. I can play at a high level. I can make the All-Star games. I was hungry like most young players to get better. After success early on you are still trying to prove yourself. After my first year I was still trying to prove myself. I locked myself in the gym. I worked on my game and I felt like I came out better the next year.
AE: Do you have a favorite all-time moment from your playing days in the league?
GH: It is hard to choose from. I feel like my career was separated in a few different careers. It was like two or three careers in one. In the 90s, which included my time at Duke from 1990 to my time in Detroit up to the year of 2000 were just amazing. I certainly couldn’t have dreamt up anything better. Four years in college and six years in the pros, All-Star games, and all of that.
From the adversity of my time during the Orlando years, being hurt, and thinking that I might not be playing ever again. At the end there were some really neat years in Phoenix. Maybe because it was more recent I would say I enjoyed my time in Phoenix. I had a new opportunity. I was appreciative of going through the fire and going through adversity.
Even though I was a different player it can be just the opportunity to play. Sometimes you can only appreciate things until they are gone. They were almost gone for me. My whole career was great. It had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t change it for one minute. I was just grateful that I was able to play and play for as long as I did.
AE: You had some cool signature kicks during your time in the NBA. Did you have a favorite?
GH: Not really. Maybe my first shoe might have been my favorite just because it was the first one. It really took off and did well. Those were fun times. I was real fortunate. A lot of things that I have dreamed of happened for me and happened right away. That seems like a whole lifetime ago. That was almost 20 years ago.
It was cool to have your own shoe. It is cool now for my kids to look back and see that I had my own shoe.
Brackets are made and all eyes will soon be on Dallas. If you’re not heading to Dallas and are stuck in the office, Bud Light is making it easy to pretend like you’re working when you’re secretly watching the biggest basketball tournament of the year.
This week, Bud Light is introducing three tools to help sports fans focus on the tournament, even if they’re trapped at their desks:
Mad Ads – Keep up with all the scores – no matter what site you’re on – with Bud Light’s Mad Ads. This handy little app will replace banner ads with scoreboards. You’re welcome.
Cheat Sheet – Want to check the scores, but the boss is hovering? No sweat. Just use the Bud Light Cheat Sheet, a spreadsheet that automatically populates with the latest tournament updates but looks like something you’re supposed to be doing. You know, work stuff.
Fast Break – Need an excuse to get away from your computer? Use the Fast Break tool to fake a hard-drive catastrophe so you can sneak away to watch the games.
Beginning today, fans can grab the tools at BudLight.com/MadThingsHappen.
Bragging rights on the line as Dick Vitale goes up against Joel, the Fort Worth Herd longhorn as they make NCAA® Division I Men’s Basketball Championship picks at the Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.
Dick Vitale, ESPN college basketball analyst and one of the sport’s most famous and recognizable icons, is putting his NCAA® bracket to the test against Joel, the Fort Worth Herd’s lovable longhorn, as part of the Allstate March Mayhem™ Challenge.
Last year, fans were reminded that anything can happen during the NCAA® Division I Men’s Basketball Championship after witnessing Dick Vitale narrowly edge out a bracket victory against the Georgia Aquarium’s sports-prognosticating dolphins.
This year, Allstate, an official corporate partner of the NCAA, has challenged the legendary television analyst to put his college basketball expertise on the line again against an unlikely opponent – a 1,795-pound Texas longhorn. From inside the Fort Worth Herd steer pen, Vitale will go head to head in a bracket contest and reveal his team picks before Joel makes his selections in an attempt to beat the broadcasting legend at his own game.
From improbable upsets to come-from-behind victories, Mayhem is everywhere, making it difficult for even the most respected and knowledgeable basketball analysts to predict what will happen.
If Vitale loses to his NCAA March Madness® arch-nemesis, he’ll have to work as Joel’s personal ranch hand, helping to prep him and the rest of the herd for their daily cattle drive down Exchange Avenue, while the triumphant longhorns earn ultimate bragging rights.
In the spirit of good sportsmanship, Allstate will make donations to both Friends of the Fort Worth Herd and the V Foundation for cancer research.