WISE BEYOND his years, LeBron James knows that with all his success he needs to be brought back down to earth every once in a while. So last week James had himself roasted. More than 250 guests ponied up $1,000 to attend A Toast to the King at the Cleveland Marriott. (The money went to a local charity for kids.) Among those who teed off on James were teammates Damon Jones and Donyell Marshall and comedians Paul Rodriguez and Cedric the Entertainer. James (below), who sat on a gold throne most of the evening, took the barbs in stride. Among the topics touched on: James's wealth and his not-so-youthful features. Joked comedian Alex Thomas: "I knew something was special about LeBron when they started televising his high school games.... Who's the dude with the beard? They got one of the coaches playing. Somebody's dad is playing the game."
This is an article from the Feb. 12, 2007 issue
• Director Stacy Dymalski has come up with a twist on the undersized underdog flick: the oversized underdog flick. Her subject is Mark Eaton, the 7'4" former NBA center. Eaton, now 50, hardly played basketball in high school but was recruited by UCLA because of his height. He played sparingly there, too, but finally made it big with the Jazz, twice being named NBA Defensive Player of the Year. But casting Eaton's role is, as you can imagine, a tall task. "If Jared Leto was 7'4", I'd hire him," Dymalski told SI. "But it's hard enough to find an actor who's 6 feet. So [Eaton] will be, like, 6'4" with a ton of short actors around him."
• Physical violence doesn't trouble White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski—last summer he took a slug from Cubs catcher Michael Barrett and hardly flinched—so he was the perfect choice to fill in as a security guard at a recent taping of The Jerry Springer Show. Pierzynski, who is friends with Springer bouncer Steve Wilkos, got to break up a fight during a Dumped and Deserted segment. (The show aired on Jan. 29.) Says Springer rep Linda Shafran, "He was right in there. He got down and dirty like you'd expect him to."
• The most eligible bachelor in Boston not named Tom Brady has changed his status. Last week word leaked that Theo Epstein, 33-year-old general manager of the Red Sox, wed 28-year-old health care volunteer Marie Whitney on a family-only yacht cruise off St. Thomas on New Year's Day. "We can't say much more," says Epstein's father, Leslie. "But I hope there's much happiness for them and for all Sox fans." ... If you liked Prince's performance in the Super Bowl halftime show, you should have seen him at his press conference last Thursday. After announcing he was going to field a few questions, the purple instead treated reporters to a miniconcert, belting out Johnny B. Goode, Anotherloverholenyohead and Get on the Boat.
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A pregnant Chicago woman agreed to advertise an online auction company on her belly during the Super Bowl in exchange for two free tickets.
Now the world knows Victoria's secret: She's a huge soccer fan. A pack of models showed off their soccer ball lingerie at halftime of the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and VfB Stuttgart on Sunday. (Ironically, it was the first Super Bowl Sunday since 2004 not to also feature a Lingerie Bowl.) Stuttgart won 1--0 in front of 64,000 fans—most of whom had little trouble keeping their eye on the ball.
They Said It
REX GROSSMAN, Bears quarterback, to reporters at Super Bowl media day:
"I'm realizing how ignorant you guys are. But I don't mean that in a bad way."