Earlier this year, Crown Royal welcomed a new spirit to the family. You already know the classic Crown. The original Crown Royal DeLuxe is still a favorite. Maybe you’ve sampled the sweetness of Crown Royal Maple Finished or taken in the fullness of Crown Royal Black and Crown Royal Reserve. If you’re really lucky, you’ve savored the liquid dream that is Crown Royal XR – that rarest of rare Crown blends that includes the final batch of whiskies from the now-closed LaSalle Distillery in Montreal. The exceptionally smooth finish on the XR is well worth the price of a tasting. I highly recommend it.
The new Crown on the block is the Crown Royal XO. It’s not as sweet as the DeLuxe or the Maple and it’s not as impossibly smooth as the XR, but it does have one strong sensation these whiskies do not: spice. The type of spice we’re talking about here isn’t overbearing or anything like that. It’s not like you’re chugging a bottle of Cholula here. But make no mistake, there’s some bite to the XO. It’s a welcoming bite though – a crisp wave of spice that wakes you up without making you cry.
Maybe it’s the blend of more than 50 different Crown Royal whiskies. Maybe it’s the fact that XO is finished in cognac casks from the French Limousin Forest. I’m not sure what gives XO its bite, but I think that the feature that sets it apart from the rest of the Crown family.
Other folks have talked about the smoothness and vanilla undertones and hints or dried fruit and so forth, but that’s not what I think of when I try this whiskey. I think of that spicy bite, and I like it.
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.
It’s hard to imagine, life before Bluetooth wireless speakers became so commonplace. Outside of a boombox that could play cassettes or provide portable radio tunes, most people my age grew up listening to immoveable music stations. Sure, the Discman was a big deal and we were all very happy when we could listen to CDs on the go or even in the car (with the help of a cassette tape converter thing). But now everything’s different. Now you can pack gigabytes of tunes on your phone and carry a pretty impressive library with you wherever you go.
But what happens when you want to bump the tunes you have on something outside of headphones? That’s when you need a wireless speaker solution. And there are tons of options to choose from.
You can go affordable and keep things under $40. You may save on money and size, but you get what you pay for with these. You can skip to the next tier and keep things under a bill. You’ll be looking at a larger unit with better sound quality, but if you’re an audiophile of any sort, you’re going to want something better than tinny sounds and weak bass lines.
Enter Cambridge Audio and their Minx Go Wireless Bluetooth Speaker. This thing costs about $150, but man, it is solid. It feels like an old school stereo system, but it’s completely mobile. The lows thump. The highs are crisp. The unit isn’t that large, but it truly provides room-filling sound. You place this thing in a large living room and you can cover every corner with tunes. Want to jam out in the shower? This thing will turn your bathroom into a club with the push of a button.
And 18 hours of battery life? That’s pretty sweet, right there. One charge and you can have this thing fueling a party for an entire weekend. And unlike other Bluetooth wireless speaker options, this thing actually looks nice. It’s not a big cube or some other clunky/awkward shape. It’s got clean, curvilinear lines and a modern feel. Sure, the whole thing is portable and that’s the point and all, but the Minx Go can live comfortably on a mantle or other living room space and it won’t look goofy.
The unit is super easy to pair with all types of devices. You can stream Internet radio or tunes from your iPhone, Android, laptop, tablet or any other Bluetooth-enabled device. It’s a one-button-touch setup process. Couldn’t be more simple.
Attractive, well-constructed with amazing battery life and unparalleled sound quality, the Minx Go delivers big, quality sound in a compact, easily portable package. Pass on the cheapo wireless speaker options. Drop the $150 and pick up the Minx Go.
Most of us can’t wait for the madness to begin. We have finalized our brackets for the 100th time and we are ready to watch the underdogs take on the powerhouse teams. As guys we are always looking for some ways to get more done at once. So guys are ready to put more things on that to do list? No better time to start then now right?
There comes a time during every NCAA® March Madness® when the underdog comes face to face with the goliath. Every year, basketball fans are witness to amazing buzzer-beating moments and historical, dramatic upsets. So many great underdog moments have occurred it’s hard to pick the best one ever!
As Official Locker Room Products of NCAA® Championships, Degree Men® deodorant is creating “Clash of the Underdogs,” a series of brackets that place history’s favorite March Madness underdog victories against each other, and gives fans the chance to vote for the greatest of all time. Fans can visit DegreeBasketball.com and vote for their favorite NCAA March Madness “underdog moments,” and then register for the chance to win a trip to the 2015 NCAA Final Four® in Indianapolis.
Basketball superstar, Stephen Curry is someone who is very familiar with underdog and buzzer-beating moments. From leading his college team to two March Madness appearances in a row, to becoming one of the best guards in pro basketball, Curry constantly pushes himself to DO:MORE and IMPROVE. With help from Degree Men®, Curry is on a mission to inspire others to push themselves to DO:MORE and IMPROVE no matter their passion.
Fans can visit YouTube.com/DegreeMen to view an exciting short film series, directed by 9-time Grammy winner John Legend, showcasing how Stephen Curry pushes himself to DO:MORE off the court in order to IMPROVE on the court.
To push guys to DO:MORE during the hype of March Madness, Degree Men® deodorant has released a limited edition NCAA basketball-themed Sport Defense stick from its Adrenaline SeriesTM line featuring new and improved MOTIONSENSE™ Technology. Triggered by even the most sudden and slightest of body movements, Degree with patented MOTIONSENSE™ is the only antiperspirant/deodorant that releases extra microcapsules when you start to move – not just when you start to sweat – protecting you from sweat and odor for 48 hours and allowing you to DO:MORE. The more you move, the more it protects.
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.
BOOST provides you with more energy return than any other foam cushioning material in the running industry. Ever. To give your feet a BOOST go to www.adidas.com/boost.
Whether you hit the roads, tracks or trails, adidas BOOST cushioning technology delivers you the Energy Running solution that you’ve been waiting for. adidas knows that today’s runners are seeking more from their runs and more from their running shoes.
To answer the call, adidas developed BOOST foam cushioning which uses thousands of energy capsules that combine the benefits of comfort and responsiveness to provide you with a running experience unlike any other.
After your pub crawl this St. Patrick’s Day you might be starting to get a little ripe. You can change your awful odor with the luck of the Irish. There is some new GEAR from Irish Spring.
For over forty years, Irish Spring has kept men fresh and clean as a whistle. Now, Irish Spring introduces Irish Spring GEAR a new line of shower products engineered for advanced performance to help men stay cleaner and fresher longer than ever before.
Irish Spring GEAR body wash and bar soap contains a unique, clinically-proven odor neutralizing technology that provides 24 hours of long-lasting freshness. Unlike most brands that use fragrances to mask the odor, Irish Spring GEAR with Odor Neutralizing Technology actually neutralizes and helps eliminate odor at the source to provide a clean, long-lasting freshness.
Plus we added an old school commercial from Irish Spring. You are welcome.
Now through March 23, consumers 21 and older across the country have the chance to win a trip to Dallas by initially participating in Bud Light Mini Hoops Challenge tournaments at their favorite local bar or restaurant (so keep a look-out for these tables when you’re out and about this weekend). Mini Hoops Challenge players have 35 seconds to bounce as many mini basketballs through the basket as possible. The winners of these tournaments will earn the Ultimate Hoops Experience, including a trip to Bud Light Hotel Dallas. Fans of legal drinking age can also attempt to win prizes by playing a virtual version of the Mini Hoops Challenge on Anheuser-Busch’s Fan Zone smartphone app.
In addition to sending skilled basketball fans across the country to Dallas, since the Bud Light Mini Hoops Challenge game itself is just downright good fun Man Jr. is giving one of these table games away to a lucky reader. All you have to do to make this mini game a permanent entertainment addition to your home, office, man cave is by following MANjr. on Twitter and filling out the contest form.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright hopes to see his team play for the NCAA National Championship for college basketball. This season for the Villanova Wildcats has been great so far. As fans of the tournament know anything goes in during March Madness.
As a coach of the team Wright needs to guide his players with poise and a sense of determination. As you will see in my interview with Jay it looks like he is putting his players in the right direction.
I was able to chat with Jay about this year’s team, Twitter, and the great work he is doing with Dove Men+Care. You will be able to see his commercials during March Madness.
Art Eddy: Let’s first talk about the Dove Men+Care campaign you are doing. Tell me a bit about this promotion?
Jay Wright: Dove Men+Care has a campaign going on during March Madness with the top decision makers in basketball. I get to be one of them. In my commercial I get to make an easy choice to choose Dove Men+Care for my skin care. I like it because it provides me with more moisture.
I am psyched about it. It is pretty funny. People can check it out on the Dove Men+Care website.
AE: You join a great group of guys in this campaign. Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash, and Coach Tom Izzo have worked with Dove Men+Care. Did they give you any advice before you started filming the commercials?
JW: (Laughs.) Not before, but I did share it with Tom Izzo and Jay Bilas after. Then I saw theirs. Theirs were great. Those were great ads. I use the body wash and I am hoping that I look better than those two. (Both laugh.)
AE: What got you into coaching basketball?
JW: Probably like most coaches I was a player that thought I was going to play in the NBA. I went to Bucknell. I didn’t figure it out until the draft was over after my senior year. I didn’t get drafted. I said to myself that this might not be working out and I better find something to do.
If you remember the Unites States Football league I actually started in marketing my first year out. I loved it, but my friend, Pat Flannery got me an assistant job at the University of Rochester. I was on that job for one day and loved it. I knew that was what I wanted to do.
AE: Do you like the way the game of college basketball has evolved?
JW: I think it is a great time for the game Art. I really do. The way things are changing with the conferences is a little unsettling for us traditionalists. The talk about allowing the players to have some of the revenue, the new conferences, all the new TV outlets, the thought that the NBA will have these guys in college for two or three years are in the forefront, but the game right now is as good as it has ever been. Going into this tournament this year I think that there are 30 teams that can win the National Championship.
AE: As a coach how tough is it to get your guys focused after a huge win during March Madness?
JW: You know Art I would say that is our greatest challenge. It really is. It is keeping the guys focused on the next game. We use the term, ‘Be here now.’ Get over that game. When we win games we also use the term, ‘Stay hungry and humble.’
If we lose a game we refer to the word attitude. That is what we can control moving forward. It is a big part of tournament play. That is a good question because it is not just winning that one big game. It is how you handle it and are you ready to prepare for the next one.
AE: Some coaches recently bashed Twitter. You are on Twitter so I am guessing you like social media. Is that a fair statement?
JW: Yeah. I have come full circle with it. When Twitter first started my first experience with it was hearing one of my players tweet during a class. So I am thinking he is not supposed to be tweeting right now. He is supposed to be learning.
We started addressing it and talking about it. We started talking to the players saying that Twitter is your own branding. It is how you present yourself publicly and it is the same thing for me and our program. It is funny Art. It is like being a parent. You know where your guys are all the time. We are all on their Twitter accounts. We follow all of them. You know what they are thinking and what they are doing. It is like a homing device.
AE: Do you look at the college rankings at all or is that just more of a media driven thing?
JW: Much like Twitter, I think that we are at an age where there is so much information available to these kids that you are not going to hide them from it. So it is not about ignoring it. It is about how you handle it. Do you use it as an advantage or a disadvantage?
With all the hype being in the top ten we use a reference where we say, ‘Perfume is okay if you sniff it, but if you swallow it, it is poison.’ It is the same thing. With all the media hype you can look at it, but if you are defining yourself by it and swallowing it, it will kill you. So we have to address it all the time.