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Original Issue

Sports Beat

Hey, how many dream jobs does one guy get? NASCAR star Dale
Earnhardt Jr. recently landed a gig as a guest photographer for "How could you not say yes to an offer like this?"
says Earnhardt. For his subjects Junior, an amateur photographer,
chose the Dahm triplets--Erica, Nicole and Jaclyn, the December
1998 Playmates of the Month--and he photographed them at his
garage outside Charlotte, posed around his yellow Corvette GTR.
"I thought I was just going to show up and push the shutter
down," said Earnhardt, "but I was involved in the whole thing,
from the setting to the wardrobe."

--The next best thing to having Tiger Woods as your pitchman? How
about the fellow who carries his clubs. Last week Steve Williams
(below, left), 39, who's been the caddie for the world's No. 1
player for four years, signed a deal with Valvoline to wear its
logo on his shirtsleeve during golf tournaments. Details of the
contract, which Tiger and his chief sponsor, Nike, approved, were
not announced. At least one sports-sponsorship expert thinks
Valvoline has struck oil. "They are paying for an indirect image
association value with Tiger Woods," says Dean Bonham of the
Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports and entertainment marketing
firm. "How many people will associate Tiger Woods with Valvoline?
Some will. And 'some' when you look at the universe of people who
are watching Tiger Woods is a pretty big number."

--Golfer Greg Norman, already an accomplished vintner, course
designer, clothier and agronomist (he's developed his own strain
of grass), has found a new passion: yacht-building. His 70-meter
cruiser, Aussie Rules, recently launched in Perth, Australia, is
believed to be the world's largest motorized yacht. The vessel
can comfortably sleep 24, including the 12-man crew needed to
sustain it on long voyages. Guests can take excursions on a
42-foot sportfishing boat that fits comfortably on the back deck.
There are some 200 fishing poles on board, scads of scuba-diving
equipment, a decompression chamber for drops into the deep blue,
a swimming pool, a spa equipped with 100 jets, and a theater.

--Construction worker and lying lover Evan Marriott, better known
as Joe Millionaire, was booed lustily by fans when he attended
the Warriors-Knicks game at Madison Square Garden last week....
Among the celebrities at the Daytona 500: actors Vin Diesel and
John Travolta, boxer Evander Holyfield, skateboarder Tony Hawk
and Mariah Carey, who sang the national anthem.... Sports agent
Duane Martin couldn't crack the NBA--after averaging 14.8 points
per game as a senior at NYU, the guard was cut from the Knicks'
training camp in 1989--but he's appeared in more than a dozen
Hollywood films, including the current release Deliver Us from
Eva with LL Cool J and Gabrielle Union. He's also thriving as an
agent, having recently handled contracts for Angels pitcher
Francisco Rodriguez and Dolphins wide receiver Cris Carter, among
others.... The February issue of Glamour offers some interesting
off-the-pitch details about U.S. soccer star Landon Donovan,
who's dating Dawson Creek's Bianca Kajlich. Once when Kajlich,
25, was out of town, Donovan, 20, missed the starlet so much that
he sneaked into her house and slept there without telling her.
The magazine also reports that when Donovan is on the road,
Kajlich fills her time by surfing the Web to find sexy pictures
of him.


COLOR PHOTO: MIKE GUASTELLA/WIREIMAGE.COM (SHAQ) PICTURE THIS On his first Valentine's Day as a married man, Shaquille O'Neal surprised his wife of two months, Shaunie Nelson, by cooking her a six-course meal at the Beverly Hills restaurant Avenue. After the Lakers' Feb. 14 loss to the Spurs, the Love Shaq donned an apron and a hat inscribed CHEF O'NEAL and prepared a feast that included Alaskan king crab legs, roasted lamb and a kiss. They're drinking water.





HBO is rebroadcasting the entire seven seasons of Arli$$.


Former Devil Rays manager, on the upside of being dismissed after
last season: "I'm not drinking nearly as much. I don't have any
reason to drink."