As a comedian, actor and podcast innovator Chris Hardwick has a busy schedule but he’ll definitely be keeping a close watch on his Silver Lake Atom Splitters team in the inaugural Professional Bowlers Association League. The PBA League makes its debut with a live telecast of the first round Sunday at noon ET on ESPN from Thunderbowl Lanes in suburban Detroit.
Hardwick, the creator of the popular Internet comedy podcast The Nerdist, and the son of PBA Hall of Fame bowler Billy Hardwick, will be rooting on his Atom Splitters which features franchise player Chris Barnes, the 2007-08 PBA Player of the Year and 14-time PBA Tour titlist, Nathan Bohr, British stars Dom Barrett and Stuart Williams, 2011-12 PBA Rookie of the Year Josh Blanchard and supplemental player Jon VanHees.
“I like Chris Barnes,” said Hardwick, who brings Silver Lake, Calif. its first big time sports team. “I talked it over with my dad and he was very supportive of Chris being the franchise pick. I think the whole team has a good chemistry.”
It was chemistry in the literal sense that proved to be the inspiration for his team name and logo named after the town of Silver Lake near his home in southern California.
“I think it’s a brilliant idea to involve celebrities who obviously either enjoy or have a passion for bowling to promote the sport,” Hardwick added. “Plus, I’m proud to give Silver Lake its first professional sports team.
“I was looking for something that was modern but nostalgic at the same time,” Hardwick added. “It represents the 60s when we had the jet age and it was when my dad was bowling on Tour. Bowling is also all about physics whether you’re talking bowling ball dynamics or what it takes to make a good delivery.”
Hardwick is very confident of his team’s chances of taking home the Elias Cup which will be awarded to the winning team when the 2013 PBA League season culminates with the finals that will be telecast at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN April 7.
“I feel great about the team,” said Barnes. “Everyone I drafted was in the top 25 in points last year. They all have the ability to play straight or hook the ball. With the exception of me, they’re all young. They are all team players. “
Other teams and their owners making up the PBA League are: Former NFL greats Jerome Bettis (Motown Muscle) and Terrell Owens (Dallas Strikers); NBA superstar Chris Paul (L.A. X); sports icon Billie Jean King (New York City WTT KingPins); Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro linebacker LaMarr Woodley (Pittsburgh Jack Rabbits), Grey’s Anatomy star Jesse Williams (BROOKLYN STyLES) and comedian Kevin Hart (Philadelphia Hitmen).
Hardwick also started "All Star Celebrity Bowling" on The Nerdist YouTube channel, a team charity bowling match where he and three Nerdist employees take on teams of celebrities such as the casts of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Mythbusters and Team Conan.
The Nerdist will expand from numerous pop-culture specials to a 10-episode season on BBC America that will kick off in spring 2013 as part of the cable network's "Supernatural Saturday" programming block.
As for any advice or words of inspiration that Hardwick will pass on to his team as it gets ready for the Winter Swing, Hardwick responded, “Yes, I’m going to tell them to don’t let me get in the way and just let them do what they do best.”