Professional athletes making appearances at high school proms has become something of an annual tradition, but Andre Drummond's cameo comes with a twist: His date didn't just get lucky, she earned her arm candy through a challenge met on social media.

Raquel Smith initially hit Drummond up with a simple request over Twitter, asking him to prom back in January. Not only did Drummond respond, he said he'd go -- but there was a catch.

Smith had to get 12,000 retweets of her request for Drummond to go with her. And she only had two weeks to hit that number.

That's a tall order for anyone, but Smith went to work.


In the end, she wound up less than 300 retweets shy of making the mark. But Drummond didn't want to play hardball: He called it good and said he'd still go.

In case you can't tell, she was excited.


Compliments must go out to Drummond's stylist, who has him looking top-notch from the animal-print lapel all the way down to the monogrammed loafers.

Afterward, the high school's principal gave him a rave review.

"He was absolutely amazing,” principal Patrick Watson told the Detroit Free Press. “He stayed at prom almost two hours, was social with everyone, he was very nice. Of course even the adults wanted pictures and he was very accommodating. He was just unbelievable."

One more picture from the night:


Martin Passeri had won five straight national surfing championships in Argentina, and 2015 figured to be his sixth straight victory -- he entered the competition as its frontrunner. He wound up losing, but in a way that feels much more like a win.

According to The Inertia, Passeri failed to win the contest after his final ride of the day. On his way out to the water for the competition's final heat, he stopped on the beach to visit with Nicolas Gallegos, a fan sitting in his wheelchair in the sand. The Inertia notes that Gallegos used to be a surfer but was paralyzed from the waist down after an accident when he was 18.

That was 18 years ago. It's unclear how much Passeri knew of the man's story, but he quickly took to an idea: He would bring Gallegos out on the water and let him ride on his back while Passeri took one last wave.

It's unclear whether Passeri was disqualified for bringing Gallegos onto his board, or if he simply failed to mount his surfboard in the allotted time, causing his last heat to be disqualified. Either way, he's probably not too upset about it. Both he and Gallegos seem to have a great time, and for the handicapped man, the experience will be one to cherish.

The story recalls a feature published in ThePostGame last year, which followed Jesse Billauer's journey from top-notch surfer to quadriplegic, and then his evolution into an activist creating assisted surfing experiences for handicapped individuals:

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Surfing

More than a decade after he was first invited, Jason Kidd showed up to Daniel Marks' birthday party. Better late than never.

Marks, who now works as a basketball database manager for the Milwaukee Bucks, turned 24 this week. Fourteen years ago he had sent this letter to Jason "Da Bomb" Kidd, pleading with the All-Star point guard to come to his 10th birthday party.

Despite the enormous praise that Marks showered on his idol -- Marks wrote that Kidd hustled "more than anybody in the NBA" -- Kidd never showed up.


Jason Kidd is the new Bucks coach. I wrote him this letter 13 years ago

A photo posted by Daniel Marks (@dgm591) on

But things are different now that Marks and Kidd are employed by the same organization. In fact, Marks posted a photo to Instagram of he and the Bucks coach celebrating his big day:


As for the letter Marks wrote 14 years ago, Kidd did get a chance to see it. After Kidd was named coach of the Bucks last year, Marks showed him the note.


Showed Coach Kidd the letter I wrote him when I was 10. He signed it and asked for his own copy. Pretty cool

A photo posted by Daniel Marks (@dgm591) on

It's a good time to work for the Milwaukee Bucks, as the squad that had the second overall pick in last year's NBA draft finished as the sixth seed in this year's Eastern Conference. Kidd's young, talented team pushed the Chicago Bulls to six games in their Eastern Conference quarterfinals series.

Even though he's a quarterback by position, Cam Newton has never shied away from carrying the ball.

The super athletic top pick of the 2011 NFL draft had more rushing attempts in 2014 than every quarterback except Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson. While attending the Preakness Stakes, Newton was tasked with another carry, and in this case a fumble would have been extremely costly.

Newton was dressed to the nines in a white suit and a salmon coat:


Everyone's a winner at the #preakness. Cam Newton with my winning ticket in the 12th race.

A photo posted by Michele Patsos (@mrspatsos) on

A downpour turned the track into a muddy mess, and the appearance of distant lightning about 40 minutes before the race led track officials to ask fans to leave the track and find cover.

Newton risked the integrity of his outfit to help a woman across a particularly treacherous stretch of track. Here's photo and video evidence:


It's been a busy offseason for Newton, who has been in talks with the Panthers about a contract extension while also finishing his undergraduate degree at Auburn. The 26-year-old also learned a new sport, knockerball, although most Panthers fans would prefer he stick with football.

Lacey Parker is 10 and lives with Down syndrome. That hasn't stopped her from chasing her dream of becoming a cheerleader. Lacey has been hoping to follow in the same footsteps as her older sister, who is a cheerleader herself.

This year, Lacey had the opportunity to audition for the cheerleading squad. The final list of squad members was sent out to parents. Lacey's mother, Renee, pulled up the list and went through it with Lacey to see if her name appeared.

They caught the moment on video, too.


Can't even put into words how excited she is!!!! I am the proud mom of an NDMS cheerleader!!! (Again) lol

Posted by Renee Parker on Friday, May 1, 2015

According to 7Online, Lacey -- a fifth grader in Louisiana -- already overcame the odds when she was born. Doctors had expected her to live less than 10 days. Instead, she grew up to be a happy, healthy 10-year-old cheerleader.

Congrats to Lacey, and a round of applause not only for her family and friends, but also the school's principal and cheer coach, who encouraged her to try out in the first place.

There has been one constant during the past eight years of journeyman pitcher Buddy Carlyle's career.

As he's bounced between the Braves, Yankees, Blue Jays, Mets and Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in Japan, Carlyle has tried to engage fans with a cool pregame ritual.

Before certain games, Carlyle, 37, will head to the outfield and play catch with kids. Here he is in two separate games this past weekend in Philadelphia:

Here's Carlyle in 2009 and 2007, respectively:

Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal caught up with Carlyle in the Mets' clubhouse and asked him about the tradition.

"It's something that's easy for me to do," Carlyle said. "I figure it's something they'll always remember."

Carlyle has never been a star, but he's managed to hang around as a pro since he was selected by the Cincinnati Reds in the second round of the 1996 MLB draft. He's played in the majors or the minors for a handful of organizations, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals and Florida Marlins. He's pitched 292 innings in 149 major league games, mostly in middle relief, and has a career ERA of 5.15. He has also put in work with teams in South Korea and Japan.

Carlyle, whose real first name is Earl, says he has been playing catch with kids in the stands since 2007. In this, his second season with the Mets, he's managed to earn some fans for the team. And if they won't root for the organization than they'll at least follow Carlyle.

"That's why you root for players," said Eric Wellington, whose 8-year-old daughter recently played catch with Carlyle in Philadelphia. "I'm not going to root for the Mets, but I will root for him."

Red Nose Day might be the biggest attempt at viral charitable fundraising since the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge last summer. The drive, launched by Walgreens, is attempting to raise money through the sale of red clown noses for one dollar, with the proceeds going toward efforts to lift kids out of poverty.

Vague as the campaign's goals may be, it is gaining a lot of traction, thanks in large part to celebrity endorsements and involvement.

In a video published Thursday, Walgreens sent Shaquille O'Neal onto the neighborhood streets with not much more than but a red nose, an ice cream truck and a hoarse voice to call the local children.

Shaq uses ice cream handouts to bribe kids into wearing the red noses, suggesting that the campaign is more about awareness than fundraising, even if fundraising is pointed to as its primary goal.

It's hard not to see the campaign as much more than a way for Walgreens to build good sentiments among consumers. Consider how Walgreens seem to get as much mention and face-time as the "less fortunate kids" Shaq is hustling to help out.

Even so, it's fun to see Shaq hitting the streets and interacting with kids 1/13 of his size. Plus, with the ice cream truck, it looks like Shaq finally found a vehicle that fits his oversized frame.

Daisy Esterline is 11 years old and wheelchair-bound because of cerebral palsy. But thanks to Paul George, she can get around just fine in her family's new van.

After a GoFundMe account was set up to raise money for a new van that could accommodate wheelchairs, the Pacers superstar caught wind of the drive and decided to help out. Roughly one year after meeting Daisy at a special children's event, the star gifted the Esterlines with $10,000 toward their purchase of a new van.

George's donation came after an anonymous donor pledged to match donations dollar-for-dollar up to $6,000. If you add in that matching donation, George accounted for $16,000 for the family.

In the video, Daisy expresses her disbelief at getting the van, which dramatically improves transportation for her and her parents. Her mother told the news station RTV6 that Daisy was still trying to wrap her head about the size of the gift.

But for a girl who was already a big Pacers fan to begin with, Daisy has nothing but adoration for George.

After receiving the gift, Daisy's brother reached out with a sincere thank-you to the superstar -- and George responded:


Put George at the front of the line for next year's NBA Community Assist Award.

When Ferguson, Missouri, erupted into violence in November, one of the best commentaries came from NFL tight end Benjamin Watson. His Facebook post, which articulated his anger, sympathy, hope and confusion, went viral.

In response to the riots in Baltimore, Watson has again crafted an insightful essay that is gaining steam online.

Here's the embedded Facebook post, which is followed by a transcript for easier reading:


We have major problems as a nation. Yesterday Ferguson burned. Tonight #Baltimore burns. Tomorrow it will be another...

Posted by Benjamin Watson on Monday, April 27, 2015

We have major problems as a nation. Yesterday Ferguson burned. Tonight ‪#‎Baltimore‬ burns. Tomorrow it will be another city in our homeland. Watching the coverage I'm hearing yet another version of a nauseatingly familiar narrative. Violence by police reciprocated by violence by the community, reciprocated by violence by police reciprocated by.... It seems fruitless to continue to analyze, condemn, and respond to these dreadful episodes.

"Frustration, anger, tension boiling over, upset and unfortunate" are words we hear from Baltimore residents. When it comes to law enforcement, race, poverty, education, immigration we always talk about fixing "broken" systems. We resolve to legislate for education, job creation, and systemic overhaul. These are helpful and definitely needed BUT we have done all of these things ad nauseum and look at us!! Without a change of heart these attempts fail us. So what can we say? What can we do? Systems are broken because people are broken and if systems are fixed without hearts being changed the result will be a legalistic attempt that will lack long term results. Our problems are wholistic and common to the human heart. Hatred, prejudice, exploitation, pride, self righteousness, secrecy, and rebellion, manifest itself in the explosions we've seen over the last year, the last century, and the last millennia.

Tonight I see so much entrenched pain without remedy. Most are handling it without violence while a few are committing the unacceptable.

Tonight I see young children, asking like my daughter did earlier, "What's happening daddy", in desperate need of parents to walk them through these disturbing scenes.

Tonight I see "smoke," but we must address the fire. The response that we are watching is just "smoke" from years of hopelessness. After each situation the more I am convinced that the love of God for our fellow brothers and sisters who were created in His image, is our only hope for reconciliation. But the only way we can even see him that way is if God illuminates our view and changes our thought process. I'm not talking about holding hands and singing. Love is an action that compels one to treat another with dignity and respect even if they don't deserve it. It pushes for education and opportunities for those in poverty. It gives identity and self worth. It administers justice without abuse. It honors authority and promotes peace. It is not weak, but strong for what is right!

Tonight I see a brokenness that only Christ can give us the wisdom and power to mend.

We pray for every disaster that happens to us. Bombings, natural disasters, cancer and outbreaks. What we've seen in our country lately deserves that same attention. Our attempts to fix this have fallen short.

We, and most importantly, the body of Christ, must stand for justice in all areas, for all people. We must set the standard for the correct way to treat people.

Tonight I pray for the pastors, leaders, police and community of Baltimore.

Tonight I ‪#‎PrayForAmerica‬.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has had a high-profile offseason with two appearances at White House functions, one with his grandma and one with Ciara. But even away from the media spotlight, Wilson manages to generate some news, and it's of the heartwarming variety.

According to a sequence of tweets Wednesday night, Wilson upgraded a U.S. Army soldier to first class for a flight to Seattle on Alaska Airlines:




This kind of cool move shows why Wilson has a such a strong reputation as being one of the good guys in sports. It also underscores why companies like Alaska Airlines are interested in having him represent their brand. The airlines designated him as its Chief Football Officer, and the solider's upgrade only enhances its brand.

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