The Final Four Celebrity Fan Smackdown

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Fuck the game on the court especially since it’s in LGBT-unfriendly Indiana. It’s a battle royale of cutaways to celebrities in the stands (those who still deign to show up) and that’s how I’m picking my Final Four winners.

By Andrew Pridgen

Saturday, April 4, 5:49 PM on TBS

Pick: Kentucky -5 vs. Wisconsin

Kentucky: Ashley Judd

ashleyjuddkentuckyVIII want to start with a confession: I like Ashley Judd. She makes me feel good. Seeing her lets me know things are going to be OK. Her smile is warm. Her cheeks are still puffy. She hasn’t made a deal with the BOTOX® devil.

No, she’s not going to be solving more crimes with Morgan Freeman anytime soon. And, she’s definitely not going to be cheating on Val Kilmer with Hank Azaria again, but I like Ashley Judd all the same. Always have. Always will.

She’s the Chevy’s Fresh Mex of celebrities. I remember her from the ‘90s being great. Since then, we’ve all gotten a little older and our tastes have matured. Maybe those birthday sombreros, warm tortillas from La Machina and an upside down Corona sticking out of a Creamsicle margarita isn’t the height of epicurean experience. And maybe Kiss the Girls was a little long and Double Jeopardy wasn’t the edge-of-your-papasan suspense-thriller you recall from the last time you got to spend hangover Sunday on the couch watching it on TNT waiting for your roommate to bring back some Boston Market. But you know what, fuck it. I like what I like: Chevy’s. My Alpine detachable-face car stereo with the fake equalizer graphic stamped on it. CDs. The way my jeans tapered.

…And Ashley Judd.

Don’t remind me about Dolphin Tale 2, and I know how disjointed Divergent was. I missed her in Olympus has Fallen and didn’t care to catch the Tooth Fairy. It’s a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world and Ashley is caught in the cross-hairs of the aging-but-still-lovely phylum which means she only gets to read for the sex-crazed single mother/assistant/school admin/first wife or not work at all. Ashley Judd, my Ashley Judd, transcends all that. She’s is still doing her “Go Tomcats” paper towel cheerleading routine in her skivvies for Hugh Jackman in his impossibly huge loft after eating Chinese takeout leftovers by the light of the fridge. Ashley Judd, my Ashley Judd, is always on a mountain bike and baking chocolate chip cookies to relieve stress like it says she does on IMDB.

Ashley Judd, my Ashley Judd, is waking up, doing her yoga, then throwing her Kentucky hat on low over her eyes and if you squint just right, still looks every bit a dewy Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority girl or maybe more like a really really hot mom of a Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority girl. And when she does show up on the HD, she proves she can do more with a Kentucky shirt and a barrette than most women could with a Victoria’s Secret Angel body on loan for 48 hours.

Wisconsin: Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn

rodgersmunnVFirst off, I get it. Aaron Rodgers plays football for the Packers, and Munn is his, along with every fanboy’s, favorite receiver.

And Rodgers is correct in his tweet, he has played football in Wisconsin longer than anywhere else, so stop fronting that he should be repping his alma mater Cal when Cal didn’t even get an NIT bid.

Rodgers deserves to be courtside. He deserves to be Instagramming the net-cutting and since he’s the only Packers QB to win a Super Bowl and not ruin it with dick picks, he deserves to be the “Forward!” state’s current favorite son.

But something about A-Rod II and the third-most-jerked-off-to woman of today’s The Internet (apologies to Kate Upton and the Carl’s Jr. chick who just got booted, along with her boobs, from Dancing with the Stars) doesn’t sit right with me.

Maybe the backlash is because the most-searched couple this side of Kimye has spent less time in Madison than Richie Cunnigham’s older brother Chuck did before he lost his basketball scholarship.

Then again, a quick rundown of famous Badger alums and it’s no wonder MunRod gets the nod for the sausage state’s celeb du jour: Boz Skaggs and Steve Miller probably made a fucking insane pussy-getting busking duo in the dorms around ‘64 and Joyce Carol Oates surely filled diaries about guys like them. Frank Lloyd Wright could well appreciate all the right angels of Bo Ryan’s prolific swing offense, but the reality is it’s been a decade and a half since Ron Dayne first got to spray Minwax on that Heisman—so it’s time for some new Badger blood in the stands.

Good on Wisconsin for locating the prom king and queen of America and shooting them lanyards to the round of 32 at Staples. But for my money, the smart bet is on Judd and her jugg(ernauts) in blue.

Saturday, April 4, 3:09 PM

Pick: Michigan State +5 vs. Duke

Michigan State: Magic Johnson

magicIVMichigan State is Magic Johnson and Magic is Michigan State.

Which is why I’m still amused every time I’m at a bar and some dude behind me goes, “Why is Magic there rooting for Michigan State?”

I get it. Not everyone has seen Magic & Bird: A courtship of rivals. But everyone should. And then see it again with someone you love. Then see it a third time alone with a box of Kleenex.

I love Magic. I love his gritty roots in Lansing. I love that he won the tourney—as a sophomore. I love knowing he turned Inglewood into Hollywood’s hottest night club. I love that he brought Starbucks to the ghetto. I love when he drove the lane and did a reverse layup all over HIV. I love that his kid is a pudgy, spoiled, rotten piece of shit who can’t help himself but be insecure all over TV’s face. I love that Cookie has stayed by his side through fucking everything and then a threesome with Arsenio on top of that.

I love that Magic owns part of the Dodgers and puts fans in the seats even if he is a prop for a hedge fund. I love that he doesn’t wear jewelry. I love how sincere and reverent he is when he talks about “The Game,” about Bird…about how much fucking unprotected fun he had in the early ‘80s. (And I love how unapologetic he is to boot.)

I love that his alter-ego…is actually him, Earvin. Who does that? Who is a superhero full-time and in the down moments is the guy whose name is on his driver’s license?

You know when they pan over to Magic and he’s wearing the quad-XL Nike shirt made from Coolio’s cornrows and wedding DJ slacks material and he’s just sitting there smiling, just enjoying the game—I believe wholly that smile is real.

And that kid from Lansing who didn’t go anywhere, not even the bathroom, without the basketball, is still sitting there like the rest of us, amazed.

Amazed by this team.

Duke: Mike Krzyzewski

coachknetsIAnd finally, there’s Duke.

Fuck Duke.

And I say that with all due respect to Duke alums, especially those who’ve contributed to this site. It also stands to reason that most people hate Duke because:

  1. They didn’t get into Duke.
  2. Some dickhead they know who is not as smart DID get into Duke.
  3. A coworker who reminds them of a dickhead they know who is not as smart…also went to Duke.

That’s pretty much all the Duke you need to know. Well that and:

  • Bowties
  • Topsiders
  • Guys who are shorter in person
  • Parts
  • Law degrees
  • Days-of-the-week v-necks
  • Cordovan lace-ups
  • More monogrammed shit than in Alex P. Keaton’s sweater drawer
  • Patrick Bateman-collection suspenders (though he’ll call them straps or some shit)
  • That turtleneck Kevin Costner wore in the Bodyguard hiding in a “In case of a dating emergency, break glass” case
  • Chicks in nude pumps (mind you, that’s VERY different from ‘nude chicks in pumps’).
  • Black-market Kiehl’s
  • Popped fucking collars. Not ironically. Do it!
  • Lilly Pulitzer on speed-dial
  • Someone’s parents’ fucking weekend house near some body of water somewhere
  • Treating the server at brunch like shit even though you’ve never had a job
  • Your sister, the one who was the PA on Something’s Gotta Give, who’s now living in Williamsburg and ghost-writing a blog
  • I met Ryan McFadyen, and honestly, he wasn’t that bad

Speaking of McFayden, The Ryan McFadyen; the six-foot-five defenseman on the Duke lacrosse team who didn’t get a settlement for not raping someone but being known as the guy who did, should be on Duke’s celebrity cutaways, because, well, there’s really nobody else.

Look who Duke did have in the stands wearing clearance items from the bookstore this season.

Fucking ginger power-tripper Roger Goodell, whose daddy got him into the no-skill white-guy internship with the NFL but no way could he get him into any a-list school, especially Duke, so he had to matriculate from a school that sounded Ivy Patriot League (Washington & Jefferson).

Then there’s fucking Tony Romo and Jason Garrett, texting like a bunch of tweens giggling with their heads down like they’re watching The Janoskians.

Duke’s biggest celebrity, the animatronic wax statue of Mike Krzyzewski, is still on the court and still calling time whenever the opposition rattles three points in a row.

You have to say this about Coach K, not one piece of his GI Joe hair has ever come unglued in more than 1,000 career wins, so that’s at least worth a runner-up spot in this poll.

As for the tourney winner: Ashley Judd vs. Magic

Pick ‘em. My only hope is the NCAA/CBS seats them together and during an early second-half timeout whereupon we catch Magic whispering something in her ear and Ashley giggling—her manicured hand covering her mouth.

During the ensuing break, we return to find their seats…empty.

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