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Copywriter Steve O'Brien was developing a new campaign for ESPNEWS when he found himself assailed by images from his youth. Sitting in his office at Ground Zero in Santa Monica, he thought of his brother, Pat, and the guys they'd grown up with in New England. Guys who, like ESPNEWS, prided themselves on always knowing the latest sports scores and all manner of sports minutiae. He even envisioned Pat's old bedroom, its shelves always chockablock with sports memorabilia.

That room is now caricatured in an offbeat new campaign. And brother Pat, as well as legions of sports fans, should recognize himself in The Rick, that ESPNEWS spokesweirdo whom O'Brien calls "the most knowledgeable sports fan in the history of the universe." Indeed, The Rick is a connoisseur of everything sports-related, from a mouthguard belonging to Eric Lindros of the Philadelphia Flyers to a jar of pickle juice that ex-Texas Rangers baseballer Nolan Ryan used on his fingers to prevent blisters.

"We blew it out to the next level," O'Brien explains of the environment and character he created with art director Guy Shelmerdine and creative directors Court Crandall and Kirk Souder. "We imagined a kid who is really, really into sports and kept growing in that knowledge and adding to his room until he had this awesome collection of sports-related items."

And how about those funky sports hero figurines crowding the shelves? O'Brien confesses that he brought some of his very own figurines into the office and that he and Shelmerdine did goofy interviews with them. Watch for the spot in

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