October 7, 2010 8:40 AM ET
Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images
Blazers rookie Elliot Williams catches maximum air because he's not loaded down by carbs.
Sports and pizza go together like movies and popcorn, or Tom Selleck, waterfalls and sandwiches, so it's no surprise we perk up whenever athletics and the world's favorite Italian-inspired foodstuff show up in the news at the same time. October is National Pizza Month, which is no coincidence since we're well into the NCAA/NFL football seasons, but would you believe that most of the pie-related news this week comes courtesy of the NBA and NHL?
First up is Little Ceasar's founder and Red Wings/Tigers owner Mike Ilitch, who is set to purchase the Detroit Pistons. This will make him the only person to own and control a topping team in three of North America's four major professional leagues ... sort of like Ted Turner, only with fewer bison and a lot more dough (and by dough, we don't necessarily mean cash). Forbes valued the Pistons at a cool $479 million, or to put that in Little Caesar's terms, 47,900,000 18" one-topping pies. While the main benefit for Pistons fans is the assurance that their hoops club isn't going anywhere, what are the chances this move ups their shot at free pizza giveaways? How about a personal pan pie every time Ben Wallace hits a free throw?
Now in uniform news (and speaking of Chicago teams), your Stanley Cup Champion Blackhawks will sport advertising patches on their practice gear for the Giordano's pizza chain. Is this the first step towards a soccer-jersey like future? "With regard to ads on uniforms, the whole business area of sports evolves over time," said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly during a recent Q&A. "People in this room probably remember a time when there was no advertising on dasher boards, and now there is. So things change." Psst, Mike Ilitch, this might be your chance to re-brand a division rival as the Chicago Lil' Caesars (deep dish, of course).
And finally, Portland rookie and former Memphis/Duke standout Elliot Williams raised eyebrows when he confessed to Casey Holdahl's Trailblazers blog that he's never tried pizza before. The reason? It's not a Steve Nash-inspired diet, merely a case of hating odors most of the country finds delicious: "As a child, the pizza, I just didn't like the smell for some reason," said Williams ... (My family) just ordered wings when they order pizza ... I just get the wings and I'm good." Elliot claims his favorite food is spaghetti, so it's not like he's got a vendetta against Italian American food either. However, we wonder how many freshman and transfer student mixers Williams missed thanks to his unusual aversion. Mike Ilitch, make sure you hide the sauce should you consider making a play for the point guard.