Hey, Mister Hill, can you sign this?

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 29, 2010 - 7:24 PM

Grant Hill is -- as talk show host Wendy Williams would say -- all kinds of sexy. How you doin'?

The appeal of the Phoenix Suns guard outside the Grand Hotel on Sunday was far from superficial. By all reports he seems to be a seriously married family man; he's also a collector of art and an all-around intelligent citizen of the world.

Hill was one of the players I captured Sunday at startribune.com/video as the team was leaving the hotel on its way to beating the Timberwolves. Stuck in a cordoned-off area, autograph-seekers were left to use the word "Mister" copiously in an attempt to suck the pros into a signing detour.

Would they have sweetened the players' last names with that handle were the autograph-seekers not trying to secure John Hancocks? "Yeah. It's common courtesy," Ben Christensen said. "Mister. It's a little bit of respect."

Sounds like butt-smoochin' to me.

Sometimes it worked (with Taylor Griffin, Jared Dudley and assistant coach Bill Cartwright) and sometimes it didn't, as when Channing Frye and Earl Clark blew by the fans while I was shooting video.

Dan Majerle, former NBAer and current Suns assistant coach, got on the bus without signing or being asked because he had satisfied the group with autographs before I arrived.

Dickinson, N.D., Suns fans Dusty Frank, Cory Heiser and Zach Praus went the costly route to gaining access to players. The trio booked accommodations at the Grand Hotel. "Hopefully, I can run into these guys [on the elevators]," Frank said.

Although the three were paying guests, they were not exempted from being hassled by one particular Grand Hotel staffer who seemed to be in charge of corralling autograph-seekers into a confined area.

I attracted a priceless, suitable for slow-mo, "Wha'-choo-talkin'-bout-Willis" glance from this staffer when I asked him to get the hotel's GM for me.

Autograph-hunter etiquette

The girlfriend of a young man who identified himself only as Mad Max should not hold her breath waiting for Justin Bieber's autograph.

While Max was willing to wait as long as it took Sunday to get autographs from the Phoenix players, he said he would never do the same for Bieber's signature.

Max did say he would get his girlfriend tickets, but would not escort her to Bieber's scheduled stop here in June.

What kind of boyfriend is that, Max? "He's going to be a single one. Girlfriend-less," joked Ben Christensen, a friend of Max's.

Christensen told me he saw Kate Hudson outside the Grand a few weeks before she would be unconditionally cut by A-Rod. "She signed a picture and I asked her if I made $25 million if she thought me and her could be something," said Christensen, whose beautiful teeth look like $25 mil. "She kind of laughed and went inside."

There is an interesting hierarchy among autograph-seekers. The ones who do it for the love of the celebrity look askance at those who seem to be in the market to sell signed memorabilia.

Christensen indicated he was a fan, not a seller.

Local TV celeb pay

March's Money magazine story about Chris and Janie Peterson gives us a look at the salaries of local TV people.

When Janie left her job as Fox 9's chief meteorologist, she was making about $200,000, the story states.

Paul Keegan featured Janie and Chris Peterson, one of the Twin Cities' best freelance TV cameramen, in an article about "Working Without A Net." Both Petersons are now freelancers, which is to say boss-free. This freedom is costly in that they've had to tap into their savings, deal with erratic cash flow and worry about the unexpected medical costs associated with three active children. But, "no question about it," Janie told Money, they'd do it again because of the time they get with their kids.

"Do I regret turning over my tax returns, our combined earnings?" Janie said to me via Twitter e-mail. "Not sure all details were clear. But 10 years of financials can't fit. You should ask the writer why he liked us. I declined, but somehow he convinced me. He's good, huh? Ask him his trick."

Also need to ask the Money writer the trick to getting Janie to provide direct answers to questions.

A Princely chore?

Did you notice Prince passing out concert tickets Sunday in the parking lot of the Cub Foods store in St. Louis Park? I've had one report of a sighting, but I'd like another. This cannot be what life's come to for Symbolina, who owes more than $500,000 in back taxes to Carver County and has been ordered to pay $2.95 million for canceling a 2008 concert date in Dublin, Ireland.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.

  • MISTER HILL

    Grant Hill accommodated several NBA fans by giving them his autograph.

    SYMBOLINA

    Did Prince pick up any groceries when he was at Cub Foods in St. Louis Park?

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