Leon Sandcastle has landed his first big apparel endorsement deal.
Uncle Drew and Cliff Paul can’t be far behind.
The fictional Sandcastle was first introduced to a nationwide audience during an NFL Network spot that aired during the Super Bowl. He is expected to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft a week from Thursday -- at least in his world.
Sandcastle was an unheralded star during his days at Prime University, the story goes. No tape or photos of his play there have ever surfaced, adding to his mystery. Sandcastle posted a 4.2 seconds time in the 40-yard dash during the NFL combine -- at least according to his NFL.com combine profile page -- despite an Afro that undoubtedly cut down on his aerodynamics.
Sandcastle has been compared to an “ugly Deion Sanders.” He is the same height (minus the ‘fro) and weight (6-foot-1, 195 pounds) as the Pro Football Hall of Famer was during his NFL days. Sandcastle’s likeness, complete with the Afro and mustache, will appear in a series of novelty T-shirts created by Under Armour. The announcement of the deal can be viewed on Sandcastle’s official website.
“My partnership with Under Armour is a match as good as peanut butter and jelly, Edith and Archie Bunker and George and Weezie Jefferson,” Sandcastle said. “We’re both ready for the Prime Time, baby.”
• A pair of shoes worn by LeBron James during the Miami Heat’s 102-72 victory over the Washington Wizards on Dec. 15 is being sold to benefit victims and others affected by the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Fans can bid on the shoes through SCP’s spring sports auction.
Proceeds will be sent to the Newtown Memorial Fund through the LeBron James Family Foundation. Each shoe has the words “Newtown, CT” written on the front. James’ signature appears on the right shoe and the words “Never forget!!” appear on the other, along with the date of the game against the Wizards. The minimum bid on the shoes is $5,000 and the auction closes April 27.
• March Madness kept fans fully engaged on Facebook. The NCAA tournament generated 70 million interactions on the site, according to Sports on Facebook, starting on Selection Sunday (March 17) through the title game on Monday night. By 12:15 a.m. Tuesday, mentions of the phrase “one shining moment” were up 317,000 percent from the previous day. The five-most discussed games during the tournament on Facebook were: Louisville vs. Michigan for the championship; Louisville vs. Duke in the Elite 8; Michigan vs. Kansas in the Sweet 16; Georgetown vs. Florida Gulf Coast University in the round of 64; and Michigan vs. Syracuse in the Final Four.
• NBA fans can help choose the league's MVP this season by using the #KiaMVP hashtag on Twitter. It's the first time social media has been used in helping to choose the MVP. In addition, fans can vote at NBA.com/KiaMVPFanVote.
The winner of the combined Twitter and website voting will receive one MVP vote. The remaining 122 MVP votes will come from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Fans can Tweet one player vote per day through April 18. The tweet must include a player’s first and last name, along with the #KiaMVP hashtag.
• Snowboarder Roope Tonteri recently posted a “Guess the Move” YouTube video, showing him doing a big-air move shot with a Nokia Lumia 920 attached to his helmet, shown entirely from that perspective. The trick has been revealed by Nokia as a 720 Melon Grab. One fan who guessed it correctly on Twitter with the #LumiaSickAir hashtag won a Burton snowboard and binding package of their choice.
• April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion, is being featured in a public service announcement during this weekend's tournament coverage on ESPN that offers his reasons for taking the pledge not to text while driving. The spot, part of AT&T's "It Can Wait" campaign, features Johnson's two children. Johnson is fairly blunt in the spot, saying "there are a lot of reasons I took the pledge, but my family is the most important." AT&T offers its customers a DriveMode app for Android and BlackBerry phones that will automatically disable texting when the phone is traveling more than 25 miles an hour in a vehicle.