Send In The Clown Questions, Bro’

“Making my entrance again with my usual flair,” Send In The Clowns, Stephen Sondheim

Over the past half-year or so, four athletes have entered the mainstream with exceptional flair indeed. Quarterback Tim Tebow–maligned as much for excessive displays of piety as for his awkward throwing mechanics–came off the bench in Denver to lead heroic comebacks and spark a playoff run for his Broncos. His habit of celebrating big plays by genuflecting to his Lord came to be known as “Tebowing.”

Unheralded New York Knick point guard Jeremy Lin was similarly pressed into a starting role when superstar Carmello Anthony limped off the court. Never before considered an elite player in either college or the pros, Lin nonetheless stunned the sportispshere by turning into an offensive machine and sparking a Knicks winning streak. A performance so improbable that it was absolutely mind-blowing. “Linsanity” was born. New York hadn’t seen such a classy “knickname” since Walt Frazier became “Clyde.”

Speaking of insanity, during March Madness, Kentucky Wildcat Anthony Davis drove to the basket and to an NCAA Championship on the strength of his outstanding play and the sweat of his distinctive brow–unibrow that is. Called “the most distinctive unibrow since Bert on Sesame Street,” Davis’s glowering above the eye coif became almost as feared as his on-court tenacity. Naturally, the slogan “Fear The Brow” emerged.

And on a Field of Dreams, teenage Washington Nationals baseball phenom Bryce Harper made the highlight reels not only for his dazzling slugging and fielding prowess, but for his knack for public relations. When a reporter asked him a question he preferred to dodge like a head-high fastball, Harper responded with the snappy repartee we all wish we could summon on demand–“That’s a clown question, bro.” It’s become his catchphrase–naturally.

And all four stars have more in common than just having their own slogans. They also are taking steps to protect, enforce, and commercialize their catchphrases by getting Federal trademark protection. Smart move. Those registrations will help Tebow, Lin, Davis and Harper cash in on their considerable cache.

Even in the best of circumstances, a pro athlete’s career harkens back to the Hobbesian state of nature–nasty, brutish and short. But not so for a trademarked slogan, name, or phrase. Like a diamond, a trademark is forever.

For more on sports trademarks, read this article from the Christian Science Monitor: http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2012/0627/Anthony-Davis-eyebrows-licensed-5-strange-pro-sports-trademarks?cmpid=addthis_email#.T-yomWTUuI8.email

Quote of the Day: “In the state of nature profit is the measure of right. ” Thomas Hobbes

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