Monday, February 19, 2007

USA Today

A weekend in the life of Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat was a superstar on the move in Las Vegas. The experience was unlike any other for the three-time NBA All-Star.
Unlike his first all-star appearance, which he spent mostly in the giant shadow of his Heat teammate Shaquille O'Neal, tagging along with O'Neal at some of his events in 2005, Wade was busy this time just being Wade.

"He's handling his own marketing, he's taking care of his own business," O'Neal said. "It's good to watch a young kid grow up. He's the type if you tell him one time, he does it. You just tell him the do's and don'ts about all-star and he's perfect."

As one of the biggest stars in Vegas, if not the biggest (his 250-by-225-foot image covered 27 floors of Mandalay Bay), Wade balanced time with family, including his pregnant wife, Siohvaughn, who is seven months pregnant, meeting sponsors and promoting personal endorsements as well as mandated league appearances.

"This is the most fun I've had in my four years in the league coming to All-Star Weekend," Wade said. "Vegas put on an unbelievable event. We are all just excited to be here."

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Friday, February 16, 2007

NBA: Dwyane Wade has a busy All-Star break ahead
Tim Reynolds/Associated Press
Friday, February 16, 2007

J. Pat Carter/Associated Press

Dwyane Wade's All-Star "break" is going to be anything but. Wade has the NBA Skills Challenge title to defend Saturday, will start in the All-Star Game on Sunday, and has meetings all weekend with his biggest fans - Lincoln, Gatorade, T-Mobile, Topps and Staples.

Associated Press

"Good Wade says I should shoot it, but Bad Wade wants me to dunk." The Heat's superstar shooting guard stars in a new Gatorade commercial that debuts tonight.

6 p.m.: All-Star Saturday - Skills Challenge, 3-Point Shootout and Slam Dunk competition, TNT


6 p.m.: All-Star Game, TNT

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MIAMI — Dwyane Wade will leave the NBA's All-Star festivities and enter a Las Vegas hotel today to meet some of his biggest fans.

Converse will be there. So will T-Mobile, Gatorade, Lincoln, Topps, Staples, Marquis Jet and more companies that he's aligned with - along with others that may want to soon start working with the Miami Heat's superstar guard and budding sports business giant.

It's called the Brand Wade Summit, the latest example of how Wade's drawing power isn't limited to the basketball court. Over 90 minutes, he'll thank those he's already working with and, perhaps more importantly, hear ideas on what might come next.

"You have a roomful of all my partners - all the people that care about Dwyane Wade and the Wade name and brand - together to talk and chat and see what direction they want to go in," Wade said in an interview with the Associated Press. "I think it's going to be great. I'm excited about it. It's one thing I'm really excited about."

And it's just one part of what Wade - last season's NBA finals MVP for leading the Heat to their first championship - calls an "insanely" busy All-Star break.

"It's all still crazy to me," Wade said. "It's really not about the contracts and making money and doing commercials. It's about us all being serious about the direction we're all going, and doing the right things and making the right choices. That's what's important."

All weekend in Las Vegas, there'll be multiple events with sponsors every day, multiple parties every night, league-mandated media sessions, and, oh, the little matters of defending his title in the NBA Skills Challenge on Saturday night and playing in the All-Star Game on Sunday.

"It's a challenge," said Henry Thomas, Wade's agent. "I've been at this for 18 years now, and I've had some star clients. But I haven't had anything like this. Any agent in the business would love to have the opportunity to represent a player who's become what Dwyane's become. Has all this come faster than we expected? Of course."

The weeklong Wade business blitz started Monday, when T-Mobile unveiled its new "D-Wade Edition" Sidekick, which Wade helped design. To celebrate the launch, T-Mobile will have a "wallscape" in Las Vegas this weekend, a 56,250-square-foot image of Wade holding the wireless device on the side of the Mandalay Bay.

On Thursday, he unveiled his new line of Converse athletic apparel, a collection of T-shirts, shorts, fleeces, warm-ups, shooting shirts and more that will be in stores early next month. He'll also wear a new style of his signature Converse shoes - the Wade 2.0 - in the All-Star Game.

It's the first time Converse has designed an apparel line around an athlete.

"I wanted mine to be different," Wade said. "I wanted to make sure everything is great quality. I didn't want something that someone will wash one time and it'll be done. I want it to be perfect."

Also Thursday, Staples announced a $57,500 program to improve 14 parks in South Florida, with the winning park getting $25,000 and five winning online voters a chance to meet Wade.

Today, it's the Brand Wade Summit, followed later tonight by the release of his first solo commercial for Gatorade, a spot called "Good Wade, Bad Wade" that was filmed last fall in Miami and has Wade dribbling upcourt, trying to decide whether to shoot over a defender or dunk over someone. (It's easy to guess which decision wins.)

Saturday brings more events with T-Mobile and Topps - before Wade will defend his title in the NBA Skills Challenge. He'll start in the All-Star Game on Sunday night, flying home to Miami to rejoin the Heat after the game.

So, there'll be no break during the All-Star break.

"I couldn't get a break," Wade said. "I tried. I couldn't. There's a lot of things I want to do and a lot of things I have to do, so I'll just do my best to make it all work."

Wade still remembers when all this was the stuff of his fantasies.

He grew up very poor and he and his wife often worried about how they would raise their son, Zaire, when he was first born five years ago.

But now, Wade can afford almost anything he wants - and afford to dream big, too.

He wants to be a movie star, build community centers in Miami and Chicago, keep reaching out to kids, all the while being mindful that his top priority remains trying to win another title or more with the Heat.

"I'm trying to do a lot of things, because I just don't want to play basketball and retire," Wade said. "I want to touch lives."

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Unveiling of America's Largest Ad

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feb. 13, 2007
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

NORM: Jordan, Hilton to host big bashes

Michael Jordan will celebrate No. 44.

Vince Neil in crowd at Foreigner concert.

Don King dines with Trump, Ruffin.

The toughest party ticket in town this week?

It's a coin flip between Michael Jordan's birthday party at Bellagio and Paris Hilton's soiree at the Hard Rock Hotel. Both are on Saturday.

Organizers for Jordan's party have reportedly been on a mission to hire 75 models and dancers. He turns 44.

The invite list to Hilton's 26th birthday party at Body English includes former party pal Nicole Richie. Also invited: Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg, porn star Jenna Jameson, actress Elisha Cuthbert, music producer Scott Storch and rapper Fat Joe.

At 3 a.m. the Hilton party moves to the Hard Rock Penthouse, where host Jeff Beacher has assembled a mini-"Madhouse," with little people, the Tiny Kiss band, a monkey, a goat, stiltwalkers and plus-sized go-go dancers.

Lindsay Lohan is listed among "possibles" at the Vince Carter-hosted kickoff bash at Risqué (Paris Las Vegas) on Friday. Also on that list: Hilary Duff, who is 19. Lohan turns 21 on July 2.


Las Vegas' famous neon is getting overshadowed this week.

The NBA All-Star Weekend ad blitz, unprecedented locally in size and scope, will include a nightly barrage on the 1,149-foot Stratosphere.

Starting with a test run tonight, T-Mobile ads will be projected from the base of the Stratosphere pillar to the top.

"It's never been done before," said Jen Grant, vice president of sales & marketing for Elite Media, Inc.

The campaign begins Wednesday night.

NBA sponsors have wrapped Las Vegas casinos in acres of ads along the Strip, part of the most expensive marketing campaign in the city's history.

"These are the biggest ads in Las Vegas history and currently the largest in America," said Grant.

The T-Mobile wrap at Mandalay Bay is currently the largest ad in America and the largest sports ad ever. It covers 56,250 square feet, with the head of Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade eight stories high.

The Stratosphere projection media will rank as the tallest ad in the world, Grant said.

Adidas has spent millions on multiple wraps, including the largest ever placed on the Luxor's pyramid façade.


The rumblings continue that the NBA has even bigger plans for Las Vegas, and soon. ...

Reunited and it feels so good: Sting and The Police have a June 15 date at the MGM Grand. They announced the tour schedule on Monday, after leading off the Grammy Awards on Sunday. ...

Auctioneer Jamie Niven generated a lot of buzz at Saturday's "Keep Memory Alive" gala, not all of it positive. The longer the evening went for the son of film icon David Niven, the saltier his language and the grumpier he got. ...

Fred Glusman's birthday surprise? With all the usual suspects gathered for his birthday luncheon on Monday at Piero's Italian Cuisine, Glusman appeared on a video saying he wasn't joining them. He was celebrating No. 70 in Mexico, after getting his pals' goats by running an ad in the R-J saying it was his 60th. Ever the pot stirrer, Glusman had a final touch for dessert: cupcakes with his face on the frosting. Attendees included Jerry Tarkanian, Bernie Schiappa and former Mayor Ron Lurie. ...

Sounds like the rumored Eagles tour is getting close to being announced. At Friday's MusiCares pre-Grammy gala in Los Angeles honoring Don Henley, a live auction package offered by Henley included guest admittance to "all Eagles 2007-2008 tour dates." Las Vegas auctioneer Christian Kolberg was hired for the event, which featured many of the Grammy entertainers. ...

Oscar De La Hoya and Joe Frazier are among a dozen boxing greats who will be on the runway Wednesday for the "Fashion Knockouts" show at the MAGIC convention. They'll be joined in Hall G at the Sands Expo by Tommy "Hitman" Hearns, Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, Ken Norton, James "Lights Out" Toney and special emcee Jimmy Lennon, longtime ring announcer.


Vince Neil of Motley Crue, in the crowd at the Foreigner concert (Luxor) Saturday night. ... Donald Trump, Phil Ruffin and Don King, dining together at Charlie Palmer Steak on Saturday night before the Shane Mosley-Luis Collazo fight. ... Bernard Hopkins, at Mosley's after-party on Saturday at Body English (Hard Rock Hotel).


" NASA made it official today: They are no longer going to recruit their astronauts from" -- Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Feb. 08, 2007
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal

NORM: Strip resorts ad-apt to All-Star Weekend

An adidas ad drapes the side of the Luxor pyramid for the upcoming All-Star Game.
Photo by John Gurzinski.

Now that's a wrap!

NBA sponsors are draping their super-sized promotional wraps over the facades of numerous Strip casinos, including MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Ballys.

Luxor's east side has an adidas ad of Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard where the "Hairspray" ad was a year ago. Workers were putting up a Sidekick T-Mobile wrap at Mandalay Bay on Wednesday.

Bally's has an adidas ad on its north wall, while the lion at MGM Grand will be wearing an adidas jersey. Also on the MGM Grand will be a 300-foot-wide by 180-foot-high adidas ad with Tracy McGrady and Gilbert Arenas.

There are rumblings that the roof of the Thomas & Mack Arena, site of the Feb. 18 All-Star Game, will be painted with a giant "EAS," for the supplement company.


Spies tell me Rene Angelil ranks somewhere between the $1 million-a-week gambler that Jan Jones mentioned last week and the syrupy Caesars Palace news release that played it down with some funny numbers.

Here are some new numbers: I'm told Angelil, who has a $1 million credit line at Bellagio, has lost more than $2 million there on table games (not poker), not a lot compared with the whales.

"Michael (Jordan) and Tiger (Woods) win or lose that in one trip," a spy said.

But what Caesars Palace ignored was that Angelil frequently plays with the big boys in live poker games that would not show up in tournament records.

How wild are the live games? I'm told Daniel Negreanu recently dropped nearly $1 million in one night.


I'm hearing the NBA is in hot pursuit of Bette Midler, the original Diva Las Vegas, to sing the National Anthem at the All-Star Game. Makes sense, given all the talk that she is Celine Dion's successor at Caesars. ...

Is illusionist Criss Angel spilling a big sweeps-week secret? That's part of the tease when he joins KVBC-TV, Channel 3 (NBC) entertainment reporter Alicia Jacobs tonight in Part 2 of her feature on him. Part 1 introduced Angel, who has been living in the Luxor's penthouse suite while shooting a reality show and reportedly preparing for a rumored $200 million Cirque du Soleil-created magic show. In Part 2, Angel provides a big hint about his future at Luxor when he and Jacobs, who have dated, share a magical kiss. ...

The Palms is putting the Hugh Hefner Sky Villa on eBay, with a starting bid of $80,000 for a three-night stay for All-Star Weekend. The offer includes four tickets to the NBA All-Star Game.


At Pure (Caesars) on Tuesday: magician David Copperfield and UFC stars George St Pierre and Keith "The Dean of Mean" Jardine. ... Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, dining at Aquaknox (Venetian) on Tuesday with his wife, Callista. ... New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and his wife, getting chatted up Tuesday at Piero's Italian Cuisine by owner Freddie Glusman. ... Bernie Taupin, Elton John's longtime lyricist, at Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Forum Shops at Caesars) on Tuesday. ... Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and Jim Sturgess, shooting scenes at Red Rock Resort with 100-plus extras at Rande Gerber's Cherry nightclub, the pool area and the casino floor. ... Vintner Grill, the hot new eatery on Charleston, was a gathering point for some of the city's top chefs and sommeliers on Monday. Among the star-chef crowd: Alex Stratta of Alex (Wynn); Julian Serrano, Picasso (Bellagio); Mark Purdy, Alize (Palms); Terence Fong, Chinois (Forum Shops at Caesars); Bruno Davaillon, Mix (The Hotel at Mandalay Bay); and Luis DeSantos, wine director and master sommelier, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group.


"She poisons your Tang." -- From David Letterman's Top Ten Signs an Astronaut is Trying to Kill You."

Norm Clarke can be reached at 383-0244 or norm@review