Updated October 14, 2023 - 4:36 pm
As the worlds of football, hockey and entertainment collided for “Monday Night Football” at Allegiant Stadium last week, there was one particular extended conversation that sparked my curiosity.
Stanley Cup playoff hero Adin Hill, the goaltender of the Golden Knights, was engaged in what appeared to be quite a lengthy chat with former star NFL running back Marshawn Lynch. ESPN cameras captured a small snippet of their talk, but it was going on for some time.
Both are great athletes and cult heroes in their own right, though that’s about where the similarities seem to end.
Lynch combined one of the most entertaining running styles any back has brought to the game with a great sense of humor and willingness to say anything on the occasions he did choose to speak.
He forever cemented his legacy with Raiders fans by coming out of retirement to play his final two seasons for his hometown franchise, making it clear he wanted that experience for himself and the people of Oakland before they left town to move to Las Vegas.
Hill had a tremendous postseason run to help lead the Knights to a Stanley Cup title and further secured a spot in local lore by rocking a Larry Johnson UNLV basketball jersey to the parade.
Both are humorous, but in different ways. Lynch is brash and in-your-face, once again evidenced by his recent podcast interview with Shannon Sharpe when he told the behind-the-scenes story of the infamous Super Bowl XLIX play when the Seahawks elected to throw the ball from the 1-yard line instead of handing it to him with the game on the line, only to have the pass intercepted.
Lynch said in the interview he walked to the sideline, laughed in the face of coach Pete Carroll for making the decision, and then walked to the locker room.
It’s the kind of story that would make almost any other athlete detestable, but it somehow makes Lynch even more endearing because he’s just so real all the time.
It’s certainly different from anything that would be expected of the soft-spoken Hill.
So, what was their meeting like and what did they talk about? It was a silly hypothetical that was still floating around in my mind 24 hours later when Hill walked into the Knights’ locker room following their season opener against the Kraken.
It turns out Lynch was one of two celebrity Seattle investors, along with Grammy winner Macklemore, who were brought in as minority owners of the Kraken to help promote community outreach and engagement.
And Lynch was taking his involvement in the team to the next level, according to Hill.
The goalie wasn’t even aware of Lynch’s connection to the opponent the Knights would be playing the following night, though he quickly found out.
Hill believes that Lynch was simply playing mind games with him and trying to get in his head in an effort to gain an advantage for the Kraken.
“I think he was trying to get me to slip up a bit,” Hill said with a laugh.
It didn’t work.
Hill stopped 32 of 33 shots he faced, including several as they killed off a dangerous 5-minute major penalty in the third period, as the Knights earned a 4-1 victory.
Hill certainly didn’t fault Lynch for his efforts, getting a good chuckle out of the conversation.
“He’s a good guy,” Hill said. “I talked to him for a few minutes and he really seemed like an awesome dude.”
Lynch was having a grand old time at the game on Monday night. He spent a great deal of time outside the stadium before the game challenging influencers and content creators in Madden while rocking long pants, a full-length trenchcoat and the ultra-exclusive Air Jordan 1 Low Travis Scott Reverse Mocha sneakers (my personal dream shoes) in nearly 100-degree weather.
Then he was onstage by the torch dancing with Too Short, DJ Quick and Warren G during the halftime show.
All of this was happening as just one of several sideshows at an NFL game that included the Stanley Cup receiving bottle service at a nightclub in the end zone surrounded by several Knights players, yet another reminder that Las Vegas is not only now the center of the sports world, but also the coolest place on earth.