This weekend’s Sports Collectibles Convention in Rosemont didn’t just book some of the biggest names in sports, but also some of the most controversial.
Boxing legend Mike Tyson, NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and baseball’s all-time hits leader Pete Rose, who was banned from the sport’s Hall of Fame for betting on his team’s games, are scheduled to appear at the convention, which takes place Friday through Sunday at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
While each has had his run-ins with the law (and rehab, in the case of Tyson and Rodman), they still remain fan favorites — especially Rose.
“Pete is definitely one of the most popular guys,” said Kevin Schwartz, vice president of convention runner Mounted Memories. “We have him once a year, but (demand has) never slowed down for him. People love to talk to him.”
Other athletes appearing at the convention include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. and U.S. women’s national team goalkeeper Hope Solo.
The prices for autographs vary (Abdul-Jabbar will sign licensed NBA jerseys for $199 while the Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw will sign anything for $25), as do the items that convention guests bring with them to get signed. Schwartz has seen everything from McDonald’s cups and Coke cans to bobbleheads and fan-made art.
“Guys will bring in dufflebags or will wheel in suitcases,” Schwartz said. Still, he insists that it’s not just the autographs that keep sports fans coming back. “If you want an autograph, you can buy that online. These guys want to meet the athletes, say a couple words and shake their hands.”
Heads up: "Ride Wit Me" rapper Nelly will appear at Funky Buddha Lounge Thursday. … Jennifer Morrison, a Chicago-area native and star of ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” will host a private party for Michigan Avenue magazine Saturday at the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel to celebrate her March issue cover story. … On March 21, eDrop-Off owner Corri McFadden will host a private premiere party for her VH1 reality show “House of Consignment” at The James Hotel.
On the record: "It's all I really want — to work in an environment with people I like and respect, and who like and respect me, and who frankly let me do whatever the hell I want to do. As long as it stays like this, I'm happy to be here. [Long pause] At least until Conan's cocaine addiction starts to really go crazy again, and then I'll probably have to get out of here." – “Conan” sidekick and Yorkville High School alum Andy Richter in an interview with Esquire.
Sightings: Former “Biggest Loser” coach Jillian Michaels spoke at the SodaStream booth in the International Home and Housewares Show at McCormick Place Saturday. … Former NBA All-Star Charles Oakley attened the Bulls-Knicks game at the United Center Monday.
Idol news: “American Idol” finalist and Wheeling native Haley Reinhart will return to “Idol” to sing her single, “Free,” March 22. … Former “American Idol” winner and Mount Prospect native Lee DeWyze performed a new song, “Open Your Eyes,” during his show at Viper Alley Saturday.