HOUSTON (AP) — Michael Phelps approaches his Super Bowl pick with equal parts athletic achievement and brand loyalty.
So while he admires Tom Brady, he will not commit to the New England Patriots winning Super Bowl LI.
Phelps commented on the big game, his trademark Phelps face, and hosting the Big Game Big Give poker tournament Saturday night in Houston.
“As an athlete you root to watch athletes do great and remarkable and impressive things that have never been done before. So you look at Tom (Brady) having a chance to win his fifth (Super Bowl), you gotta root for him,” Phelps said.
Most Read Sports Stories
- Seahawks coach Pete Carroll on Antonio Brown: 'We're pretty well set right now'
- Russell Wilson's durability stands out even more as his contemporaries get KO'd | Matt Calkins
- Sports on TV & radio: Local listings for Seattle games and events
- Instant analysis: Three impressions from the UW Huskies' 45-19 win over BYU VIEW
- Puka Nacua made a big entrance last week. What will he do for an encore against hometown BYU?
But then he added: “I’m keeping it more political and rooting for both sides. I’m rooting for the Under Armour family. We have an Under Armour guy on each side,” Phelps said. “Hopefully it’s a good game.”
Phelps is the most decorated Olympian in history, with 28 medals. One the most notable moments at last year’s Rio Olympics was an angry expression before the 200-meter Butterfly Semi-finals race, known affectionately as the “Phelps face.”
But according to Phelps, it’s not something you want to see.
“You gotta really piss me off. If you want the Phelps face, you gotta really make me mad. I was in a mood that day.”
He called that victory the greatest Olympic race of his life.
As for the event in Houston, Phelps expressed how important it is for him to do charity events.
“A passion of mine is working with kids and being able to help and give back. To be able to get an event like this where you have a bunch of us here for a great cause at a great time of the year, down here for the Super Bowl, you can’t beat it.”
Phelps hosted the after-party celebrity poker tournament with renowned poker player Jamie Gold. Josh Brolin hosted the evening’s earlier event, with David Schwimmer emceeing and a performance by Common.
Follow John Carlucci at http://www.twitter.com/jacarucci