A mini want-list for those beginning to see the struggle ahead in trying to find the perfect holiday gift for the imperfect sports fan:
ON THE HIGH END:
THE ART OF THE EXPRESSION
What: Desk sculptures.
The background: This is called “Tee With Lemon.” Get it? “When the economy tanked, people’s stress was palpable,” artist Marsha Tosk writes on her website, explaining her series of office-desk artwork called “Figures In Speech.” “I felt compelled to alter the focus of my work to meet the changing needs of my community. … The work elicits a smile from everybody. The sculptures are colorful and whimsical. … A smile is the perfect response to my art.” Raised eyebrows, especially at what it costs, are even more appropriate. What do you think it would cost you to reverse engineer this thing and make one yourself? She’s got another – a cow with a bunch of holes in it. Get it: Holy cow. Like what Harry Caray used to say.
The price: $750, plus shipping and handling.
ONE COOL RIDE
What: A drivable ice chest.
The background: How to turn a 50-quart cooler into a functional riding machine, albeit not street legal but a parking-lot vehicle capable of hitting 13 mph. Non-power steering, disc brakes and foot pedals are standard. Gas or electric options (take the later, and invest in the 1,000-watt model, which is more in line with what you see people zipping around on in a Walmart). Slightly more for a seat back and heavy-duty lock. And please note: Rider capacity limit is 250 pounds.
The price: $399 to $799 (depending on accessories).
THE BANNED SHOES
What: The APL Concept 1
The background: When the NBA ruled these 15-ounce kicks couldn’t be used in its league because the spring-loaded “Load ‘N Launch” technology provided an “undue competitive advantage” in vertical leaping, Gravity-Challenged Blacktop Baller took notice. Adam and Ryan Goldston, the twin former USC basketball walk-ons from Montclair Prep, are reaping the benefits, already selling out many sizes. They even have T-shirts for sale honoring the banned substance they’re selling.
The price: $300.
Also: A company named Spira (SpiraStore.com) claims that its spring-powered shoes (one coil in the heel, two in the front) have been banned from the Boston Marathon. From $79.95 to $114.95. Nearest distributor: Foot Solutions in Sherman Oaks.
MORE EXPRESSIONABLE ART
What: A rare Mickey Mantle signed baseball
The background: From the website description: “Circa 1991, near mint to mint. The Mick has signed this ball on the sweet spot in blue ball point pen and wrote the phrase (as you can read) beneath the signature. This unique Mantle keepsake was signed and annotated in front of a professional who was part of his inner circle. In his letter of authenticity, he says he “recalls having a discussion about medium points and fine points as better for signing. Mick was using medium points mostly, early in the relationship. On one occasion the pen had a little extra ink and the ‘Mickey Mantle’ he wrote was not its normal perfect specimen. So Mick added under his autograph, ‘F—-d Up’ and gave the ball to me.”
What a treasure.
The price: Current bid: $1,200. Ends Dec. 8.
A BIT MORE SENSIBLE:
SHARE THE LAKER MOMENT
What: Lakers Adidas jacket
Where: NBA.com, Staples Center’ Team L.A. store.
The background: Those Adidas satin zipups that the Lakers wore during their opening night ceremony may look like a Boys Scout windbreaker with all the patches on the back, but it’s really mean to be a collector’s item. The squares represent all 16 of the Lakers’ championships.
The price: $125.
MORE THAN A TAILGATE TABLE
What: USC or UCLA party table.
The background: The company makes the foldable 2 foot-by-8-foot tables for tailgate parties that look like the football grid, with school logos, that can be also used for beer pong and regular table tennis (with the optional net). Also with Dodgers and Angels logos.
The price: $129.99
Also: A game called “washer toss,” only in the Dodgers, Angels and UCLA logo, is also sold by the company. Think of it as throwing a quarter into a cup from a distance. Price: $59.95.
ON THE LOW END:
BLING IT ON
What: A shot a Ron Artest’s 2010 Lakers championship ring.
Where: RonArtest.com or CelebritiesForCharity.org
The background: The Lakers forward decided that, to raise money for mental health awareness, he’d use his head and give away the size 11 ring he just won (he actually wears a size 15, so he ordered it smaller just for this). And it’s not just the ring: It’s a flight to L.A. to watch a Lakers game from two premium seats, two nights at a hotel, and $1,000 spending money. The winner will be announced on Christmas Day.
The price: Starting at five tickets for $2 each ($10), up to 100-plus tickets at .75 cents each.
What: U.S. Men’s Water Polo team calendar.
The background: The U.S. Men’s Water Polo team’s 2011 calendar is called “12 Months of Hunk.” Adjust your Speedo and meet Loyola Marymount’s Andy Stevens (those are the goalkeeper’s trunks on the cover), plus Pepperdine’s Merrill Moses and Jesse Smith, USC’s Tommy Corcoran and JW Krumpholz, and UCLA’s Adam Wright. Even better, this counts as a donation, which goes toward the national team’s training for the London 2012 Games. Wait, the women’s team doesn’t have a calendar? Yet, they all posed naked in the recent ESPN “Body Issue”?
The price: $15.99.
IT’S A FLASK? DON’T ASK
What: A fake set of binoculars for your drinking pleasure.
The background: Since they continue to ban alcohol from most college arenas and stadium, sneaking in something to keep you warm has become a game. Here’s the winning piece. Two 16-ounce containers, disguised as a pair of binoculars. A double-chambered blast. The only real problem we see: The company’s website is plastered on the strap, revealing the obvious. The company also offers one that looks like a camera and a cellphone. But they, of course, are much smaller. With no glaring warning sign.
The price: $19.99.
RETRO RAIDERS MONOPOLY
What: 2008 Version of Raiders Monopoly board game.
Where: eBay.com and Barnes&Noble.com
The background: There are a couple versions out there, so beware. The current one on OaklandRaiders.store.yahoo is with a silver box, has Al Davis in the spot at Boardwalk and John Madden on Park Place. But look up the ’08 version – a black box, with Raiders players on the cover, and, to Davis’ chagrin, Marcus Allen is on the Boardwalk, and JaMarcus Russell is on Marvin Gardens – right before the “Go To Jail” square. Seriously.
The price: $34 on eBay; $45 on Barnes&Noble.com