When Crown Royal and ESPN do it up, excess is nowhere near enough. ESPN Magazine, as part of Superbowl festivities, hosted its NEXT issue party which forecasts the next groundbreaking athlete will be. The featured athlete and winner was 22-year old Native American and New York Yankee pitching sensation Joba Chamberlain, who who got his first start in the Majors on August 7th 2007 and starred in middle relief for the remainder of the season.

Held at the Scottsdale Performance Arts Center, all tricked out with dozens of flat panel monitors, torch flame heaters, and pulsating fountains, it certainly looked like the place to be. The connected people, as well as game-goers, models, ESPN luminaries like Stewart Scott, Michael Smith and Chris Berman, and the athletes themselves came together for a really good time. Although we had a little door incident (shout to Crystal for hooking us up) it was smooth sailing for the rest of the evening. Waitresses passed out free food, including something called Smart Fries, which sounds like an oxymoron, Gatorade’s new low carb drink G2, and assorted hors doeuvres.

The only thing better than Crown Royal, is free Crown Royal, as well as Ciroc, Corona, and Tanqueray which flowed late into the evening. DJ Irie kept it live, infusing old school classics, new school jams and pop hits, warming the crowd up for the event’s headliner Ludacris. Luda and guests (Lil Fate Bobby Valentino and Ciara) certainly did not disappoint and rocked the set to the break of dawn…ok I’m lying but it was late as far as these events outside of the coastal cities go.

Noted celebrities that attended the event included Transformers The Movie director Michael Day, Former all pro and NY Giants great Carl Banks, Superbowl MVP Doug Williams, Mr. Collipark, Dr. Ian Smith, Spike Lee, Giants’ cornerback Gibril Wilson (if Moss ends up with 200 yards you already know), Deangelo Hall, and former NBA Star/ESPN Commentator Tim Legler among a host of others.

A New York Yankee chosen as NEXT? Perhaps a good omen for those football Giants

Past winners of the NEXT designation include Lakers star Kobe Bryant. Cleveland Cavaliers sensation Lebron James, New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush and Vince Young of the Tennessee Titans.