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Sports Beat

Unlike fellow blonde thespian Cameron Diaz, who played the owner
of the fictional Miami Sharks in Oliver Stone's Any Given Sunday,
Gwyneth Paltrow hasn't done a pigskin flick yet, but don't think
the 29-year-old Oscar winner isn't a fan of the game. Paltrow's
father, Bruce Paltrow, creator of the 1970s basketball television
show The White Shadow, reports that his daughter is a regular
Gridiron Gwyneth. "She's a big Pittsburgh Steelers fan," he says.
"I was a Steelers fan when she was a baby, and we used to watch
the Steelers all the time. She's become a real proponent of
defensive football." Perhaps, but back in '98 Paltrow predicted
the offensive-minded Denver Broncos would upset the Green Bay
Packers in Super Bowl XXXII. "I know Green Bay is favored,"
Gwyneth said then, "but I'm going to go with the Broncos."
Denver, a two-touchdown underdog, ended up with a 31-24 win.

--David Beckham may have left the World Cup stage, but
Beckham-mania shows no signs of abating in Japan. Nearly a week
after the English team flew home following its 2-1 quarterfinal
loss to Brazil on June 22, the Westin Awaji Island Resort and
Conference Centre on Awaji Island--the World Cup headquarters of
Team England--was reporting 80 calls a day from fans hoping to
stay in the room used by the Manchester United midfielder. The
hotel has introduced a deal to make available a deluxe twin room
on the 10th floor, where Team England occupied 28 rooms during
the World Cup, for a reduced charge of 11,750 yen ($98). So far
the hotel has refused to reveal the number of Beckham's room, but
fans can sample his favorite dish (cucumber sushi roll) and have
their feet massaged by the woman who worked on his talented

--The Houston Chronicle had to pull a photo of the Rockets' No. 1
draft pick, Yao Ming, from the front of its sports section on
June 27 when a Chinese graphic artist on the paper's staff
realized that a vintage poster visible behind Yao, photographed
in Beijing, was emblazoned with anti-American slogans from
China's Cultural Revolution. Editors replaced the picture, but
not before it had been printed in 220,948 copies of the
Chronicle's 544,819 press run. The next day some 60
Chinese-speaking readers called or e-mailed the paper to provide
precise translations of such slogans as Unite people of the whole
world! Down with the American imperialists! David Stern & Co.
will be relieved to know that the posters were not Yao's; the
photo had been taken at CNN's Beijing studio, where the retro
posters had been hung as a fashion statement, not a political
one. "It was a good history lesson for all of us," says Dan
Cunningham, the Chronicle's assistant managing editor.

--At a robust 6'5" and 320 pounds, actor Michael Clarke Duncan
would figure to be a force in the paint in a game of hoops.
Indeed the gentle giant from The Green Mile attends most L.A.
Sparks games and last Sunday spent a good three minutes telling
ESPN2 sideline reporter Vera Jones how the Sparks should tweak
their offense. ("They need to play the two-man game for Lisa
Leslie and Nikki Teasley," he said.) Duncan's knowledge of the
game impressed at least one hoops guru on hand. Said Connecticut
coach Geno Auriemma, who served as a game analyst for ESPN2: "You
know how good an actor he is? He just acted like a coach."

Pete Rose has been elected to the Summit County (Ohio) Boxing
Hall of Fame.


COLOR PHOTO: FRED VUICH PICTURE THIS There are two sides to Chuck Butorajac, an aficionado of the atlatl, an Aztec device used for throwing a lightweight spear. Butorajac, who has sported half a beard for seven years, competed in the International Standard Accuracy Competition and Meadowcroft Rockshelter Atlatl Contest in Avella, Pa. The former West Virginia and Pennsylvania champ finished fourth.


Thirty-eight-year-old former Lakers star known for his advocacy
of premarital abstinence, on his honeymoon following his April
wedding to former Houston Rockets Power Dancer Veronique Shipley:
"It was worth the wait."