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Sports Authority

Celebrities add fame to fanbases

| Sunday, April 6, 2014

Shortly after Kentucky clinched a wild 74-73 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday to advance to the men’s basketball championship game, the Wildcats celebrated in their locker room with Drake, apparently the newest member of Big Blue Nation.

This scene belonged in one of those “Celebrities — They’re Just Like Us!” sections in a newsstand gossip magazine. After all, these celebrities are just like us — they cheer for their favorite players and teams and revel in the glory of a big win, except they are famous and/or wealthy enough to celebrate with the team itself rather than with non-famous friends on a couch in a less-than-noteworthy suburban house after polishing off a bag of chips and a jar of salsa.

Yes, instead of doing that, Drake high-fived the Wildcats, toasted a glass of Gatorade in his official, NCAA-approved paper cup to coach John Calipari and probably exchanged hair tips with injured center Willie Cauley-Stein.

But the Drake-Kentucky friendship is just the latest in a long line of relationships between celebrities and teams. Even more, there are still so many athletes out there without famous friends (who are not their teammates or opponents, of course), so here are a few acquaintances I’d like to see.

Jennifer Lawrence and the Tampa Bay Rays

Hollywood’s quirkiest actress with the quirkiest manager in professional sports — what’s not to love? J-Law could probably help Joe Maddon come up with some interesting coordinated-dress themes for team travel days, and then the two of them could bond over a nice glass of merlot after a Rays win.

The GIF of Lawrence tumbling on the stage steps at the Oscars would also be a nice accompaniment to DJ Kitty, the feline disk jockey that appears on the Tropicana Field jumbotron every game and has become a cult favorite of Tampa Bay fans.

Zach Galifianakis and the Houston Rockets

Someone has to bring the beards of Galifianakis and James Harden together in the same building, which could very easily be the Toyota Center in Houston. Imagine the giveaway possibilities — bobbleheads, fake beards, chia pets.

The Rockets’ marketing department would have a field day with the visual promotions of two legendary beards, and the community relations department could use the facial-hair twins as inspiration for a no-shave November campaign to benefit a local charity.

And both Galifianakis and Harden are comical guys, so they could team up to ease any tension created by losing streaks or poor performances.

Jay-Z and the New York Yankees

Yes, I know Hov and the Bronx Bombers were friends before, as evidenced by the Brooklyn-born rapper discussing the Yanks in a few of his songs and donning a New York cap on the cover of his “Kingdom Come” album. He even joined Alex Rodriguez on a float in the Yankees’ 2009 World Series championship parade through the streets of the Big Apple.

But something tells me their relationship fizzled after Jay-Z started his own sports agency, Roc Nation, and singlehandedly persuaded Robinson Cano to sign with Seattle instead of remaining with New York.

It’s time these two groups reconciled and reunited because a match between the most business-savvy rapper in the game and a franchise worth $1.85 billion just seems to make sense.

Nancy Reagan and the NFL

As a former first lady, Nancy Reagan is more than a celebrity, and clearly the NFL is more than one team. With the high number of football players arrested and suspended for drug usages, someone has to tell these athletes to “just say no,” and who better than the woman who led that national campaign during the War on Drugs?

This alliance does not have as much promotional value as the others and is not as funny as the pairing of Cam Newton with the “Play 60” kid, but at least one friendship on this list had to have some sort of redeeming quality, and Mrs. Reagan teaming up with the NFL can provide that.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Mary Green

Current Assistant Managing Editor, former Sports Editor of The Observer | Follow Mary on Twitter: @maryegreen15

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