Tuff Juice Campaign Gets New Lobbyists
From my seat behind the west basket, I could see what appeared to be a young girl sitting behind the Wiz bench, hoisting a sign during timeouts that said "Pick My Dad." This required investigation.
During halftime I headed back toward the media room, at which point I almost ran over Kathy Butler-Carter, Caron's aunt, who was carrying homemade Caron campaign posters and was accompanied by Caron's wife and two-year-old daughter Mia.
There were multiple posters; one said "Caron Butler All Star Star." I asked why there were two Stars. "Because he's a superstar," Ms. Butler-Carter said.
They didn't have the "Pick My Dad" poster with them, so they went to retrieve it. I asked how Mia had gotten involved in the Tuff Juice in '07 campaign.
"I'm speaking through her," Ms. Butler-Carter explained. "The camera usually goes for the kids, and I wanted this to be out there. We needed to put the pressure on."
Now this, friends, is savvy marketing. Every person who walked by was locked into the tractor beam of "cute two-year-old-girl trying to help her daddy" energy. There was a lot of cooing. I began trying to take photos of Mia with her sign. Mia is notoriously high-energy, so her mother began attempting to bribe her to stay still and smile with promises of popsicles and chewing gum.
"Excuse me, let's show the teeth, let's show the pretty teeth," Ms. Butler said to Mia. "Smile for gum. Smile for daddy. Yup, you're gonna get some gum for this one. Now, I want my baby on the front page of ESPN tomorrow."
I couldn't promise ESPN; all I've got is a Bog. Luckily, just then a Comcast crew happened by. They wanted to film Mia with her sign, so the sign was handed back to the bouncing girl.
"Hold this for a popsicle," Ms. Butler told her. "You're gonna get like five of 'em."
Mia very calmly took the sign and posed for Comcast, and then Fox 5 came by and also wanted a shot. Aside from occasionally puffing out her cheeks and making funny faces, Mia could not have been a better spokesperson. And so much cuter than Tony Snow.
"She usually doesn't do this," Ms. Butler said, proud and impressed. "That's why I'm trying to bribe her. She usually won't stay still for anything. Today was a good day."
Comcast interviewed Ms. Butler about the Tuff Juice in '07 campaign. She had her talking points prepared.
"He worked hard, he worked extra at the gym," she said. "He really deserves this. He's like Top 10 in everything in the NBA. He deserves it."
And in fact, the campaign is overflowing with spokespersons nowadays. USA Today's all-star index takes both Caron and Antawn Jamison. Israel Gutierrez likes Caron as an easy choice. Bruce Arthur says he's "excellent." Ahmad Rashad votes yes (and also speaks of Darvin Ham).
Jarvis Hayes last night: "Oh man, I can't think of [any] forwards in this league, in the Eastern Conference, playing better than Caron. You know, Antawn also. But Caron, he's having a great year, not only is he having an all-star year, but he's a big cog in this offense, offensively and defensively. You know, 21 (points per game), 8 (rebounds) 4 (assists), 2 steals almost. So it'd be robbery if he didn't make it."
Gilbert last night: "There is no other forward playing the way Caron is playing right now. I also expect to see Antawn make the all-star team. Pound for pound, you can't say there's that many forwards out there better than them two guys. You can't."
Caron last night: "That'd be big. Individually it'd be big. The team success has been great; you know, winning games. And Gilbert's a starter, and hopefully myself and Antawn can get in there. You know, it's something that I've been working hard at all summer, working on my game. And hopefully the hard work paid off."
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