It’s been 40 years since the most storied football coach in NFL history, Vince Lombardi, passed away. That milestone is being noted in a myriad of ways. With the backing of the NFL, “Lombardi” is a Broadway play with Dan Lauria in the title role. On Dec. 11, HBO Sports will present a documentary on his life. Finally, former CBS and Fox sportscaster Pat Summerall has written a book, “Giants: What I Learned from Vince Lombardi and Tom Landry” (Wiley Publishing), in which he recalls his days playing for the Giants when Lombardi and Landry were assistant coaches.
On stage, Lauria is so credible as the legendary Green Bay Packers coach that I wouldn’t be surprised if some teams want to speak to him about taking over their programs. One of the show’s costars, Keith Nobbs, who plays fictional sportswriter Michael McCormick, grew up in Kew Gardens, where his family still is. He finds himself taking the E train to work just as he did as a student at LaGuardia High School for the Performing Arts.
Justin Gimelstob was one of many sports stars who gave generously of his time the following night at the annual New York City Starlight Foundation sports memorabilia auction, which raises funds to aid chronically ill children and was held at Madison Square Garden last Monday. Justin was ecstatic that he won his $10,000 wager with old tennis rival Andy Roddick, who bet that he would need more than 4:45 to finish the 26.2-mile course. He made it in a very respectable 4:09. “Andy called immediately to congratulate me. Knowing how much physical torture I endured probably made the bet worthwhile for him even though he now has to write a check to my foundation,” Gimelstob said with a tired smile.
The Mets get a lot of well-deserved criticism but are great when it comes to helping out deserving nonprofit groups. Last week they donated the use of the Caesar’s Club in Citi Field, with refreshments provided, for a Nephcure Foundation fundraiser that brought in $600,000. Nephcure funds research into kidney diseases and assists families whose lives are upended by them. Former Mets star pitcher Dwight Gooden happily signed autographs. “My father died from kidney disease so being here is really special for me,” said Doc. Also appearing at the event was Sirius XM radio baseball show host and former Mets general manager Jim Duquette, whose daughter, Lindsey, has been successfully battling kidney disease for the last five years.
On Monday, Nov. 29, QB Mark Sanchez, linebacker D’Brickashaw Ferguson, and a slew of other Jets will help left tackle Damien Woody raise funds for his philanthropy, the PROS Foundation, with a “Tear Up The Pierre” cocktail party and fashion show at that swanky midtown hotel. The public may purchase tickets. PROS stands for People Reaching Out to Someone and its mission is to help groups that help impoverished kids. For more information, go to prosfoundation.org.
Is the NBA listening to Jimmy McMillan? In February the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue will close because the rent is too damn high!