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Rick Reilly Doesn’t Understand the Meanings of Some Basic Words

June 30, 2009

While we all eagerly await the arrival of Rick’s next column (it’s been a week already, but sometimes he takes 8 days. And he was in Italy over the weekend, so who really knows), I thought we’d dive a little deeper into Ricks’s “Go Fish” (not)blog. Today, we’ll take a look at some of Reilly’s “Freak Celebrity Sightings.” These are more or less harmless, except that we find out that Rick really doesn’t know what “freak” means. I’m assuming that he takes “freak” to mean random or coincindental. And if he’s using it in the side-show character sort of way, well, it wouldn’t make much sense either outside of his sighting of Ozzy Osbourne. Still, I think it’s safe to say he means “Random Celebrity Sightings.”

Off we go!


Despite being scheduled against Game 2 of the Lakers-Magic series, the Cedars-Sinai Sports Spectacular still drew a huge crowd of 1700 to the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Sunday night in L.A. Besides Ochocinco, Dwyane Wade, Ryan Scheckler, Laila Ali, Baron Davis (who donned an Afro wig and introduced Snoop as though he were part of the posse), Warren Sapp, Blake Griffin and dozens of other sports stars, I saw Hasheem Thabeet, the skinny, ever-smiling 7-3 UConn center who figures to go in the top five of the coming NBA draft. I asked him what he thought of the lottery.

Hey, guess what? This is a celebrity event. It’s not like you bumped into the guy at a McDonald’s. You can’t call this a Freak Sighting. On the one hand, this is a minor thing, on the other, it’s all part of Rick’s ploy to come off as a regular guy. Hey! You’ll never guess who I ran into! But in reality, Rick was just another celebrity invited to a celebrity event, designed for the mixing of celebrities. This is not a chance encounter.

Let’s do another, shall we?



Saw Muhammad Ali at Celebrity Fight Night in Phoenix. Fight Night has to be in the top five of fundraisers in the country, with much of the dough going to fight Parkinson’s disease, and Ali never fails to make it. Also, Ali never fails to try his Baby Ruth trick. Someone will come up to Ali and gush, “Oh, Champ, this is one of the great honors of my life, meeting you! Is there anything I can do for you?” And Ali will whisper into their ear, “Can you get me a Baby Ruth?” And the guy will tear apart heaven and earth to get him a Baby Ruth bar. Some people have even left the party, gone to a 7-Eleven and brought one back. And when they hand it to him, Ali’s wife, Lonnie, will snatch it away and scold, “Muhammad can’t have sweets!” The giver will want to dig a hole and hide. Ali will grin. Nice try.

This is funny, because it’s called Celebrity Fight Night, and because Reilly himself says: “Ali never fails to make it.” So Rick had like a 100% chance of meeting Ali. In the words of Inigo Montoya: “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Well said, sir.

All right, one more for good measure.


Saw Michael Phelps at the Kentucky Derby, then saw him again a week later in his hometown of Towson, MD, as I interviewed him on a funny and emotion-filled night for Homecoming (airs July 2 on ESPN.)

This charming little vignette goes on about how Phelps is a compulsive gambler (and really bad at it, to boot). But…Rick, when you call a famous person or his agent, and then set up a date and time at which to meet with said celebrity, that in no way, shape, or form can be considered a “Freak Celebrity Sighting.” Rick, you are a celebrity, who goes to celebrity events and gets to interview famous people…these do not count as chance encounters.

OK, OK, one more.


Saw Nuggets coach George Karl the other night.

Hey, cool! You ran into George Karl! Awesome!

Actually, I only saw his backside. All night, play after play after play: stared at George’s glutes.My buddy gave my wife and me two “fantastic” courtside seats to Game 3 of the Nuggets-Lakers series.

Oh, wait. You saw George Karl…on the sidelines…at a basketball game…where one of the teams playing employs him as their head coach. In that case, I ran into David Ortiz the other day…crazy, huh? And a couple of months ago I saw Sidney Crosby. Random! And when I was 8 I bumped into Barry Bonds! And between the age of 8 and last week, I’ve “run into” like 75% of the professional baseball players who’ve played during that time span. Going to a game and seeing the participants does not count as a celebrity sighting. Just shut up, Rick.



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