Few people have as many rooting interests in this year's Super Bowl as Wendell Pierce.

The 50-year-old Pierce was raised in New Orleans' Pontchartain Park neighborhood and went to Benjamin Franklin High School. As a young actor he spent several years living in San Francisco and working at the American Conservatory Theater. And he is perhaps best known for his role as Bunk Moreland, the Baltimore detective on the popular HBO show "The Wire."

But when it comes to which team Pierce will be cheering for on Sunday, the answer is simple.

"My affinity of course is for New Orleans,” Pierce told ThePostGame. "But if the Saints aren't going to be in it, I'm rooting for the Ravens because the 49ers knocked us out [of the playoffs] last year."

For millions of Americans who will tune in to Sunday's game, the Super Bowl will provide a few hours of entertainment and a distraction from everyday life. But for New Orleans and its residents, the game is a milestone in the city's ongoing recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

Calais Campbell is serious about giving back.

Not only has the Arizona Cardinals defensive end started his own non-profit, the Charles Richard Campbell Foundation, he is very active in the NFL's partnership with The United Way.

In fact, while he was in Washington, D.C., attending President Obama's Inauguration, Campbell took time out of his busy schedule to volunteer at Kelly Miller Middle School.

On Jan. 19, a day designated by President Obama as the National Day of Service, Campbell spent the morning painting, cleaning and talking with middle schoolers.

"We spoke to the kids that were there for Saturday school trying to get ahead," Campbell told ThePostGame. "It was an awesome experience."

Campbell was extremely busy for the rest of the weekend, attending the Inauguration, the Inaugural Ball and an Inauguration event for the Athletes and Artists Alliance.

After spending so much of his time in and around the professional sports realm, Campbell said he enjoyed mingling with some of Washington's bigwigs.

"It was cool to meet some of the different people in politics," Campbell said. "That's a field I haven't really experienced. They've got a different way of looking at things and a different way of carrying themselves."

Campbell, who supported Obama in the recent election, was joined over the weekend by his mother and his sister, making the experience all the more memorable.

"It was cool to be with my family," Campbell said. "Having a good time and celebrating something for the nation."

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Olympic-caliber athletes are known to be extremely meticulous when it comes to their bodies. And for good reason. These athletes have spent years upon years crafting their physique, and even the slightest change could drastically alter their careers.

So when Jason Dunkerley, a five-time Paralympic medalist from Canada, decided to donate his kidney to his wife, he had no illusions about the risk he was taking.

“I tell you, you can’t put it into words (what Jason is about to do)," Dunkerley's wife, Colleen Hayes, told the Ottawa Citizen. "He was willing to be tested for being a possible match and put so much on the line. He's putting his running races aside and his own health. Doctors have told us any time you have surgery there are risks going in (such as bleeding and infection)."

Dunkerley is a blind distance runner who has medaled in the past four Paralympic Games. Hayes, who is also blind, discovered she had a kidney disease during the 2008 Beijing Paralympics. Martin Cleary of the Ottawa Citizen writes that at that point, Hayes' kidneys were functioning at 25 percent. And they continued at that rate for four years.

Then, in October 2012, Hayes' creatine levels jumped, and she was forced to start dialysis three times a week. Doctors determined that a kidney transplant would be the only way Hayes would be fully healthy.

Normally, kidney transplants must come from relatives. It's quite unlikely that a non-family member can provide a kidney. After submitting himself to multiple tests, Dunkerley discovered that his kidney was more than likely a match.

"I feel lucky to be in a position to be able to donate," Dunkerley said. "Being married to Colleen, I feel lucky she didn’t have to look too far (for a donor). It feels very right. We're definitely not a perfect (medical) match, but it’s close enough. Technology has come a long way and they feel it will be a success.”

There is no date for the surgery yet, but Dunkerley and Hayes expect it to be sometime in late February or early March. After the surgery Dunkerley has been advised to stop running for a period of around six weeks while his body recovers. After that he's hoping to resume normal activities and begin training for the world championships and, eventually, the 2016 Rio Paralympics.

"As hyper-focused and anal as I get about running, something like this makes you realize that it isn’t everything," Dunkerley wrote in a blog post, "that life and health and being there for your loved ones matters far more."

For Dunkerley's full story, see here.

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Ndamukong Suh, who has sometimes been portrayed as a villain during the past few years thanks to a number of controversies, proved himself a hero during a recent filming of the reality show "Celebrity Diving."

TMZ is reporting that one of Suh's fellow contestants on the show, comedian Louie Anderson, had trouble pulling himself out of the pool during filming last week. Upon seeing Anderson struggling, Suh jumped in and lifted Anderson to the surface.

Suh was helped by former Olympic diver Greg Louganis, who is working as a judge on the show.

While this incident may shine some positive light on Suh, it probably won't eliminate the concerns of many of his teammates, who reportedly aren't happy with his decision to participate in the reality show.

(H/T to Game On!)

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It hasn't been the smoothest career for San Francisco Giants pitcher Barry Zito, but give the man credit for bearing down and fighting through it.

Perhaps what has helped Zito through the tough times is the fact that baseball is far from the only thing he's got going for him. Zito is also a very talented musician and a philanthropist, and recently he combined both of those passions in a benefit for his charity, "Strikeouts For Troops."

Last week Zito and singer/songwriter Kelley James performed in Los Angeles at an event called "A Night for the Troops." All the proceeds went to "Strikeouts For Troops."

Before their performance Zito and James went on TV to do some promo work, and it looks like they had a blast. Here's their excellent performance on Good Day LA. Notice how, after the guys are done playing, the anchor mistakes James for Zito:

Los Angeles Local News, Weather, and Traffic

James and Zito also played a Manti Te'o-themed song on Adam Carolla's show.

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It was an ugly week in the world of sports. Lance Armstrong, the all-American cancer survivor who set the record in cycling for most Tour De France championships, admitted in an Oprah Winfrey interview that he achieved his victories by doping. Manti Te'o, a nationwide icon for the courage he displayed in playing after the same day death of his grandmother and girlfriend, admits that the girlfriend was all a hoax. An NFL player is arrested at an airport for trying to take a concealed weapon on a plane. Fallout continues from the autopsy report demonstrating that Junior Seau died as a result of multiple concussions leading to chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- which leads to depression and potential suicide. The sports page read much more like the crime beat or business section of a newspaper due to the drumbeat of off-field problems.

This all raises the question as to whether it is appropriate to look to athletic figures as role models and whether they should be held up to circumspect levels of conduct. With the constant chronicling of every athletic misbehavior, are athletes the right symbols?

My friend, former NBA superstar and current television analyst Charles Barkley is clear that the answer is a resounding no.. He believes that athletes are not the figures that children should be emulating. He feels that it is parents who have the obligation and responsibility to be role models. He believes players have a duty to give peak performance on the court, and that is it. I have built a 40-year career in representation around the belief that athletes are role models and can trigger imitative behavior. Who is right?

Information is delivered to the public in a greatly enhanced and expanded way in this era -- multiple platforms providing 24-hour content. The celebrity-making machine with its focus on interesting personalities brings these people into our living rooms daily. Satellite television means exponentially more games broadcast, more analysis, more focus on personality than previously imagined. That television monitor acts as a magnifying glass, which produces athletic performance and personality in larger than life detail. It is inescapable. Athletes will be figures of admiration and emulation in this sports obsessed society. Parents have a critical role to play in shaping their children's values and behavior. The unfortunate truth is that many families have absent parents or individuals incapable of providing sound guidance. Young people will look to athletes whether we wish them to or not.

Athletes that still play at a competitive level after high school are really participants in the entertainment business. Collegiate players may not be paid, but they and their professional brethren play for colleges or professional organizations that are dependent on public support. Sports are not food on the table or shelter or transportation -- all critical needs for survival. It is a discretionary entertainment business competing for fan viewership, ticket sales, and other revenue streams with other sports, movies, HBO, video games, outdoor recreation, Walt Disney World and every other form of entertainment.

If fans become disillusioned by athletic behavior -- force-fed negative incidents or too many contract squabbles or destructive CBA deadlocks -- they can easily turn their attention elsewhere. A professional player who doesn't want to sign autographs, graciously grant press interviews, or comport themselves publicly within acceptable norms of behavior has an alternative -- he can play on a sandlot. No one will criticize, judge or have any expectations. They also will not be paid huge sums for playing or endorsements or have any of the fame or exalted lifestyle that ensues.

I have asked athletes to envision themselves as role models and responsible members of the communities that helped build and shape them. This does not assume they will at every moment be behaviorally correct, we all make mistakes and mature and grow from them. But over 120 of our clients established scholarship funds or retrofitted athletic equipment or helped their church or Boys and Girls Club at the community they grow up in. They retrace their roots.

A number of players like Troy Aikman and Eric Karros at UCLA, Edgerrin James at U of Miami, Kerry Collins at Penn State, have endowed scholarships at their colleges -- setting an example for younger players and staying linked to that college community. At the professional level, we asked that athletes find a cause near to them to have a foundation that could help. They enlisted leading business, political and community leaders to assist.

Years ago, San Diego placekicker Rolf Benirschke started "Kicks For Critters" to raise funds and awareness for endangered species research at the San Diego Zoo. It had a poster/pledge card component, which was the genesis for many later donations for individual achievement programs. Chiefs linebacker Derrick Thomas remedied childhood reading problems with his "Third and Long" program in Kansas City. Steve Young has a "Forever Young Foundation" to aid children's charities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Warren Moon's Crescent Moon Foundation operated in Houston, Minneapolis, Seattle and Southern California to fund college scholarships for needy high school students.

What all these athletes were modeling was their heart, initiative and the ability for all of us to improve our communities and tackle problems. They are not modeling the chance for millions of young people to be professional athletes -- that is only a gateway for the few. But when heavyweight boxing champion Lennox Lewis said on a public service announcement that "Real Men Don't Hit Women" he made a great contribution to young people's perception of what is embodied in true masculinity. Disaffected teenagers may tune out authority figures -- parents, teachers, and commercial messages. A superstar athlete can permeate that perceptual screen to deliver a message of inspiration and hope.

This country needs role models and athletes have both an incredible opportunity and responsibility to use their power for good.

-- Leigh Steinberg has represented many of the most successful athletes and coaches in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, boxing and golf, including the first overall pick in the NFL draft an unprecedented eight times, among more than 60 first-round selections. His clients have included Hall of Fame quarterbacks Steve Young, Troy Aikman and Warren Moon, and he served as the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire." Follow him on Twitter @leighsteinberg.

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We've all heard the stories about girls asking athletes to a prom or to a formal, and for the most part these young women never hear back from the stars.

That's why this story involving Ryan Lochte is so unusual.

Danielle Jennette, a senior at King's Fort High School in Suffolk, Va., recently started a campaign to get Lochte to go to prom with her. She created a Twitter page, a Facebook page, uploaded a video to YouTube and even raised money for one of Lochte's preferred charities. Eventually, Lochte took notice.

The star swimmer could not attend Jennette's prom, but he did have the courtesy to have his publicist get in touch with Jennette. Lochte's publicist told Jennette that the swimmer was busy training and couldn't attend the prom, but he wanted to send her a token of appreciation for all of her hard work.

And sure enough, that same day Jennette received a dozen roses and a handwritten note from Lochte himself.

"(Lochte) basically said, ‘I'm sorry I couldn’t make it to your prom," Jennette told the Suffolk Herald-News. "Everything you've done for Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy is awesome, and maybe I’ll get to meet you in the Olympic games one day.’ So, that was pretty awesome. I didn’t even know what to think.”

This is the second time in recent weeks that Lochte has shown his thoughtful side. A few weeks ago, at the World Short Course Swimming Championships in Istanbul, Lochte gave away a medal to a young child in the stands.

(H/T to Game On!)

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If it wasn't for a broken GPS, Hunter Haire and Zach Sawin might never have saved Miguel Hernandez's life.

Haire, a freshman kicker at Wake Forest, and Sawin, a freshman offensive lineman at Colgate, along with four other high school buddies from Lake Mary, Fla., were home for winter break on Dec. 15 and they were looking for a friend's house. Their GPS led them in the wrong direction, so they stopped in the parking lot of Reflection Lake to regroup.

From their parking spot Sawin noticed a car bobbing in the lake about 50 yards offshore, and within moments Haire and Sawin had jumped into the lake.

Haire got the driver, Hernandez, to roll down the window of his gray 2008 Mazda, and then Haire swam in and unhooked the seat belt. Sawin grabbed Hernandez by the shoulders, and together he and Haire two of them pulled Hernandez to shore.

Haire and Sawin's four friends, Mike D'Agostino, Kyle Swink, Dave Moore and Mark Lang, also dove into the lake and checked the car to make sure no one else was in it. Right after Sawin pulled Hernandez out of the car, it sank to the bottom of the lake.

"I just hope these guys know how grateful I am, and my whole family is, that they were willing to get out of their car and put their lives on the line to help my brother out," Manny Hernandez, brother of Miguel, told the Orlando Sentinel. "My brother feels like God personally reached out and saved his life. It's given him a whole new perspective on things."

The incidental but extremely fortunate timing of the events was not lost on Sawin.

"If the GPS had not broken," Sawin told the Sentinel, "if we didn't stop at the lake, if it had been a few minutes later, things could have been much different."

(H/T to Off the Bench)

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Not everyone has the luxury of traveling home to celebrate the holidays with family and loved ones each year. For many, the holidays can simply be a reminder of what they don't have -- especially for underprivileged youth. That's why Miami Heat center Chris Bosh takes time out of his busy holiday season schedule every year to throw his annual "Christmas with Chris Bosh," put together by Bosh's foundation, "Team Tomorrow."

This year more than 150 youngsters were treated to an early Christmas surprise when Bosh showed up to hang out, chat, play video games and give away Christmas gifts galore at GameTime, a restaurant and video game arcade in South Miami.

The kids, who were invited from such organizations as Chapman Partner Homeless Shelter, Big Brothers of America and The Boys & Girls Club of Miami, only knew that they would be hanging out, eating lunch and playing video games -- so it was quite a shock when the Miami Heat big man himself showed up. Although, despite the event's title, Bosh wasn't clad in a Santa suit -- they couldn't find a costume to fit his 6'11" frame.

"It's pretty tough to find a Santa suit in my size," Bosh said, laughing. "But I told the kids, next time if they want me to dress up as Santa we'll figure it out."

And judging by the kids' reactions, Bosh's lack of Santa gear wasn't a problem.

"They were pretty excited," Bosh said, "the kids lit up pretty quickly. We really got everything going, the energy really went through the roof. It was really just a special feeling to know that they were excited to see me."

This year was the third annual iteration of the event as Bosh continues to try add some joy to young kids' lives.

"I try to get around to every kid and make sure I say hello," he said, "and just talk to them for a little. Kids are funny man, they have really good questions sometimes. They wanna know certain things -- how it is playing with LeBron and Dwyane, how it is playing basketball and all these things."

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With more than 1.6 million followers, Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul is one of the most popular athletes on Twitter. And the 27-year-old Paul regularly interacts with his fans, proving himself not only well-liked but incredibly savvy as well.

This week Paul showed just how in tune he is, when he noticed a hashtag that was trending among students at his high school in Clemmons, North Carolina. This hashtag was "#PrayForRyan," and it was a movement started by students at West Forsyth High School in support of a sophomore who was diagnosed with a rare type of terminal cancer.

The young boy, Ryan Wood, was told by doctors last week that he only had three or four weeks to live. Upon hearing the grim diagnosis, Paul knew he had to act quickly.


Wood and his family were involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with their hope being a trip to Key West, Florida. When he found out about this wish, Paul "adopted" the Wood family and through his foundation he will cover the cost for the vacation.

"I've never had the opportunity to meet Ryan, but we have a connection," Paul told WFMY 2 News. "We have a bond in that we're both Titans. We both went to West Forsyth, and he's like my family."

(H/T to Cosby Sweaters)

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