Athletes are no strangers to corporate endorsement income. Soccer royalty David Beckham shills for Adidas, Giorgio Armani and Motorola. Here in hockey-mad Canada, we have Wayne Gretzky teabags (seriously) and Sidney Crosby flogging his signature turkey sandwich for Dempster’s bread. We’re used to celebrities who are paid to lend that celebrity to major marketing campaigns. So it should come as no surprise that Swiss-based drug giant Novartis ($44.3 billion in revenue last year), hired sports icons as lures to get doctors to attend free dinners where the company could pitch its drugs to them, writes Tracy Staton of FiercePharma.