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Sunday, May 22, 2011
Stars come out for Heat-Bulls

By Sarah Spain

All tied at 1-1, the Eastern Conference finals are headed to South Beach for Games 3 and 4. When the Bulls and the Heat leave behind the chilly climes of the City of Big Shoulders for the sticky, sweaty beaches of Magic City, the weather won't be the only thing that changes. The teams will play to all-new faces in the crowd -- and not just any faces. VIPs from music, film and sport were scattered throughout the United Center to support their team in Games 1 and 2. No doubt there will be even more celebs at American Airlines Arena come Sunday night.

Presumed No. 1 NBA draft pick Kyrie Irving, Chicago Sky teammates Sylvia Fowles and Courtney Vandersloot, Bears superstar Julius Peppers, former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel, and Hall of Famers Dennis Rodman and Scottie Pippen were among those who watched the Bulls fall to the Heat 85-75 on Wednesday. Also in attendance: newly elected mayor Rahm Emanuel, "Apprentice" contestant Omarosa, actor/singer Tyrese and movie stars Michael Clarke Duncan and Dennis Quaid.

With big-time games come big-time names, and both of these teams boast plenty of celeb support. But when it comes to star supporters, which city could front the best fan squad?

Team Chicago

Chicagoans have gotten used to seeing some of the city's most famous sports fans on the floor at the United Center, on the sideline at Soldier Field and behind home plate at Wrigley. If the Windy City's most dedicated supporters came together to take on Miami's celeb squad, here's what the all-star starting lineup might look like:

Point guard: Eddie Vedder, 5-foot-7. A staple at Chicago sporting events, the Pearl Jam front man even penned a song for his favorite team, the Chicago Cubs, 2007's "All The Way." What he lacks in size he makes up for in intensity. Not only does he grit his teeth with the best of 'em when he rips through a live performance of "Jeremy," he's also been known to throw a few punches. In 1993 he was arrested when he and a friend, White Sox pitcher Jack McDowell, that year's American League Cy Young Award winner, were involved in a barroom brawl. (Note: Chicago may need to turn to backup point guard Gary Sinise if Vedder's aggressive nature gets the better of him and he picks up early fouls.)

Shooting guard: Bill Murray, 6-foot-1. The hilarious, misunderstood star of classics such as "Caddyshack" and "Ghostbusters" is a true fan of his hometown Chicago teams. He appeared in "Space Jam" alongside friend Michael Jordan and even acted as a guest commentator for the Cubs in the '80s. Both Murray's age and his alleged character issues might be a problem for Team Chicago, but he's a proven champion on the golf course, so he's got that going for him...which is nice.

Small forward: Barack Obama, 6-foot-1. The POTUS will be the ace in the hole for Chicago. Not only does he have a sweet J, he'll also be nearly impossible to defend, as the Secret Service members standing by will scare the Miami defenders into playing nothing but matador D. Obama's status as the most powerful man in the free world also will help keep any North Side versus South Side debates under wraps -- teammates who root for the Cubs will no doubt let the president's love for the White Sox slide.

Power forward: John Cusack, 6-foot-3. The lanky actor, best known for playing almost the exact same character in every romantic comedy in which he's ever starred, is a die-hard Cubs fan and best friend of former Blackhawks star Chris Chelios. His height will be an asset to the Chicago team but he may be slow on the break, as he refuses to play in anything other than his trademark tapered black jeans.

Sylvester Stallone
He's short. He's old. But with a face like this, Sylvester Stallone could still be scary on the court for Team Miami.

Center: Vince Vaughn, 6-foot-5. The popular comedian has gotten plenty of pub sitting on the glass at Blackhawks games and singing during the seventh-inning stretch at the Friendly Confines. Like former Bull Dennis Rodman, he's a bit of a wild card, known for his hard-partying lifestyle, but one can assume that the recent birth of his first child has him handling a different kind of bottle these days. With a few extra pounds of baby weight on his frame, he'll be even more of a force in the paint.

Mascot: Jim Belushi, 5-foot-11. The "According To Jim" actor has been spotted at every sports venue in the city, and he almost always finds a way to get his mug on camera. The sports fans of Chicago would prefer not to be represented by Belushi, so much so that there's a Facebook page titled "Chicagoans Opposed to Jim Belushi Being Chosen To Represent Our City." Team captain Barack Obama, ever the diplomat, handed Belushi the role of mascot to avoid controversy.

Team Miami

Team Chicago is repped by celebs who fit the city's hardworking, blue-collar culture, while Team Miami is as flashy as a South Beach night club. The all-stars from Florida put their money where their mouths are, buying shares of the teams they support. Check out the celeb squad ready to play and party in the city where the heat is on:

Point guard: Gloria Estefan, 5-foot-2. The diminutive diva, who has won seven Grammy Awards, has been spotted at many a Miami Heat game, and she and her husband are even part owners of the Miami Dolphins. She showed herself to be both resourceful and elusive when she got stuck in her suite at Sun Life Stadium but still made her halftime appearance by climbing out of her third-level window and into the suite next door. Additionally, her height shouldn't be a problem, as she always plays in 6-inch stilettos. Her footwork in said stilettos? Well, that's another issue entirely.

Shooting guard: Jimmy Buffett, 5-foot-7. The "Margaritaville" singer, who is good friends with Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, inked a naming-rights deal for the team's stadium, which became LandShark Stadium for the 2009 season. Buffett is also best buds with Pat Riley, but the Heat president couldn't save him from getting tossed from a Heat-Knicks game back in 2001. Buffett suffered a nasty fall while performing in January, but he's been cleared to play by doctors after passing all the necessary concussion tests. His Parrothead fans travel well, giving him a home-court advantage no matter where he plays.

Small forward: Anna Kournikova, 5-foot-8. Perhaps the most famous tennis player never to win a singles title, this stunner and her boyfriend, singer Enrique Iglesias, are often spotted at both Dolphins and Heat games. Though her background in basketball is not well documented, Kournikova may be the secret to Miami's success. Not only is she athletic and competitive, she'd be able to distract Team Chicago with as little as a smile or a flip of her golden locks. Of course, if she tries to body up the POTUS on the block, First Lady Michelle Obama may come in off the bench for Team Chicago and show her what's what.

Power forward: Diddy/P. Diddy/Puffy/Sean Combs, 5-foot-10. The rapper/actor/producer/businessman is the flashiest (and slash-iest) of all the hip-hop musicians who frequent Heat games. He's been known to clash with management, refusing to wear regulation uniforms in favor of Sean John gear and requesting name changes more often than Bengals receiver Chad Johnson/Ochocinco. On the playing field, he's a proven winner, having led his high school football team to a division title, but his attitude may not fly with the laid-back Buffett and the hardworking Kournikova.

Center: Sylvester Stallone, 5-foot-9. A Miami team already lacking in size goes small at center with action hero Stallone. He'll give up eight inches to Chicago big man Vaughn, but with a steady diet of raw eggs and HGH, he's in far better shape than the comedian. A fan of doing his own stunts and a member of the Boxing Hall of Fame, Stallone is an athlete almost before he's an actor. Some have hinted that his frequent appearances at Heat games have frightened Chris Bosh, who's known to spook easily.

Mascot: Fergie, 5-foot-2. The Black Eyed Peas singer and part owner of the Dolphins battled it out with Estefan for the point guard spot, but ultimately the team decided that her name sounded more like an animal and her wardrobe looked more like a costume. Her main role will be to bring 6-foot-3 husband Josh Duhamel to the games; the actor could be a key sub for aging players Stallone and Buffett.

Team Chicago has size, but Team Miami has spunk. Who ya got?