Passing grades for Brady at charity event

Tom Brady at the Best Buddies Challenge kickoff event yesterday at Harvard Stadium. Tom Brady at the Best Buddies Challenge kickoff event yesterday at Harvard Stadium. (Bill Brett for The Boston Globe)
By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Globe Staff / June 5, 2010

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Is it possible to predict Tom Brady’s future performance based on a flag football game? If so, the Pats QB is poised to have a big year. Brady tossed tight spirals at last night’s kickoff of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hyannis Port. The honorary chairman of the annual fund-raiser, No. 12 took the field at Harvard Stadium and made his receivers look good. (So what if the cornerbacks weren’t exactly the quality of Darrelle Revis.) The Audi Best Buddies Challenge is a 100-mile charity ride and walk benefiting Best Buddies International, the nonprofit devoted to helping people with intellectual disabilities. (The ride is today.) Brady’s better half, Gisele Bundchen, wasn’t there last night, but a few teammates, including Tully Banta-Cain, Julian Edelman, Dan Koppen, Stephen Neal, and Pierre Woods, were. Celebs making the scene included actors Bob Saget, Verne Troyer, and Maureen McCormick, former Olympic track star Carl Lewis, lawyer Brad Blank, and the new Miss USA, Rima Fakih. Also there was BC linebacker and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich. Saget has been affiliated with Best Buddies for 15 years, but he couldn’t suit up last night because of a knee injury. “I’m capable of holding chapstick and an iPhone,’’ he said. “Really, I should be in bubble wrap with floaties on.’’ . . . There were also a few ringers on the field, including a couple of Mix 104.1 listeners chosen during the station’s “Dress Like a Lady for Tom Brady’’ promotion yesterday morning. After the game, Food Network star Guy Fieri hosted a barbeque at the stadium during which several local chefs teamed up with Best Buddies participants.

Coast-to-coast wager is in mayor’s court
City officials whose teams square off in championship games always make a wager, usually something that represents their respective cities. For the NBA Finals, LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has an unusual idea: He’s offering Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson, and he wants Boston Mayor Tom Menino to make Ben Affleck and Matt Damon available if the Celtics lose. According to the LA Times, Villaraigosa has suggested the actors could make advertisements touting the city of the winning team. “Should the Celtics prove victorious, we will generously permit Hollywood legend and Lakers fan extraordinaire, Jack Nicholson, to don green and film a commercial touting Old North Church, the Common, and all there is to see in Boston,’’ Villaraigosa wrote in a letter to Menino. “Should the Lakers prevail, we will gladly accept your hometown boys, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, as spokespersons for a public service announcement extolling the virtues of the City of Los Angeles, where the climate, the beaches, and the food are far superior.’’ In 2008, Villaraigosa proposed swapping football teams — the LA Avengers of the Arena Football League for the Patriots. Menino passed, saying he’d take the arena but not the team.

Thrill of the ring
While some stars happily stopped to talk to the media at the NBA Finals at the Staples Center, others, like Sylvester Stallone, did not. Rocky Balboa barely acknowledged the crush of cameras as he walked to the VIP lounge at halftime of the Celtics-Lakers game the other night. But, returning to his seat later, Stallone did stop. Why? “Extra’’ correspondent Rick Fox, the former Celtic who won a title with the Lakers, waved his championship ring in front of the actor, and Stallone was powerless to resist the shiny object. The aging action man then tried on the baller’s bling and a smile creased his face. . . . Bruce Jenner’s dad grew up around here and the former decathlete himself is a native of Connecticut, so he must be rooting for the Celtics, right? Wrong. Jenner, whose stepdaughter Khloe Kardashian is married to Lakers forward Lamar Odom, told us he’s supporting LA because he doesn’t want to “rock the boat’’ at home. . . . “Idol’’ winner Lee DeWyze will sing the national anthem before Game 2 tomorrow.

Around town
More than 400 people attended a party at Emmanuel College the other night to honor Sister Janet Eisner, who’s marking her 30th year as Emmanuel’s president. Well-wishers included Hizzoner Tom Menino and Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, and the event raised more than $1.5 million for the school. . . . Model Tyra Banks and friends dined the other night at Meritage at the Boston Harbor Hotel. . . . Bobby Brown had lunch the other day at Legal Sea Foods in Park Square with his fiancé and friends.

Walking to the game
Tyler McGill really wanted to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but there aren’t too many TVs on the side of the road. That’s where you’ll find the 27-year-old surf shop owner from Rye, N.H. McGill’s been offered a courtside seat for next week’s games at the Garden, but there’s a catch. “My buddies have great tickets and I was, like, ‘What’s it gonna take to get to one of those games?’’’ Their answer: Walk 218 miles from Boston to the Big Apple. (His friends live in New York and promise to drive him back for the game if he walks the whole way.) McGill set out Tuesday and was on Route 66 just west of Willimantic, Conn. — about 125 miles from his destination — when we reached him on his cell. “I’m doing about 35 miles a day,’’ he said. “If I keep it up, I could be in New York by midday Monday.’’ (That’s good, because Game 3 is Tuesday.) McGill said he’s subsisting on candy bars, Gatorade, and the kindness of strangers. “I met a girl in a coffee shop who let me stay at her place one night,’’ he said. Romance, we wondered? “Nah, I got a girlfriend at home.’’

Partying for ‘Courage’
It was all about food, dancing, and feisty females at “Women of Courage,’’ La Alianza Hispana’s celebration of extraordinary women in the Latino community. The honorees who partied at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts in the South End included playwright Melinda Lopez, Liberty Mutual managing director Yvonne Garcia, and BU assistant social work professor, Luz Lopez.

Globe correspondent Jason Gregory Gold and Matt Pepin of the Globe staff contributed. Read the Names blog at Names can be reached at or at 617-929-8253.