Last Thursday, for the first time since Michael Jordan filed suit
against her, Karla Knafel, his former mistress, appeared in
court. Wearing horn-rim glasses, very little makeup and a long
sweater over loose slacks, Knafel, 39, listened as Jordan's
lawyers accused her of extortion in a preliminary hearing.
Jordan, who had an affair with Knafel 10 years ago, sued her last
October, alleging that she threatened to go public with details
of their relationship unless Jordan paid her $5 million. Knafel
has countersued, claiming Jordan agreed to the payment to protect
his image, not because he was threatened. Despite the legal
wrangling, Knafel holds out hope that she and Jordan can stay
friends. "I loved Michael, and I still have warm feelings toward
him," she said after the hearing. "I am shocked by the recent
The 1,500 people who showed up for a welcome-home celebration for
Elizabeth Smart in Salt Lake City's Liberty Park were entertained
by a familiar face: Thurl Bailey. The former Jazz forward, who
has been performing and recording music since he retired in '99,
played songs from his recent R&B release, I'm Not the Same. The
Smart saga hit Bailey close to home--she was found about a mile
from his office. "I didn't know how much the world was paying
attention to Elizabeth Smart," says Bailey. "It was surreal. I
had friends I used to play with in Italy who called and wanted to
talk about it."
For Burlington radio listeners Vermont's early exit from the NCAA
tournament--the Catamounts lost their first-round game 80-51 to
Arizona--had a silver lining. It meant their favorite radio
personality was back. Vermont coach Tom Brennan is half of "Corm
and the Coach," the morning drive-time team on WCPV that in
Vermont draws more listeners than Don Imus or Howard Stern.
Brennan and straight man Steve Cormier are known for skits like
"What the eff is Ozzy saying?" as well as spinning classic rock
and making obscenely early phone calls to friends, including
Brennan's opposing coaches. "He's genuinely funny," says BU coach
Dennis Wolff, who regularly gets called at 6 a.m. "I have fun
with it ... other than the time." Brennan was on the air Monday,
bragging about his team's performance in Salt Lake City. "Hey, it
was my job to win the press conference, and I did," he said. He
also disclosed that the Rolling Stones often chartered the same
jet the team took to the tournament, prompting Brennan to liken
himself to Mick Jagger: "I turned to my wife and said, 'You need
to turn into a 19-year-old Brazilian girl.'"
Warren Sapp's musings on feminine beauty: "When we think we've
seen the most beautiful woman in the world, here comes the next
one." The Bucs' All-Pro tackle tested that theory Monday night as
a judge at the Miss USA pageant in San Antonio. He got the gig at
Michael Jordan's 40th-birthday party last month, when his good
friend and event organizer Donald Trump--Sapp and Trump have been
tight since meeting at a Mike Tyson fight in '97--extended the
invitation. "It's been a wonderful year," Sapp told SI. "It just
keeps getting better." ... Tennis champ Goran Ivanisevic says
Wimbledon might be his final tournament (he hasn't recovered from
left-shoulder surgery he had last year) but that doesn't mean
he's about to relax in retirement. The 31-year-old Croatian and
his girlfriend, Cosmo cover model Tatjana Dragovic, are expecting
their first baby, a girl, in May. Says the 2001 Wimbledon champ,
"That will give me something to do: Change nappies and play with
COLOR PHOTO: SCOTT MARTIN/EA SPORTS/AP (DALY) PICTURE THIS Long-hitting John Daly provides a shining example of a classic reverse-C follow-through. He was wearing reflective sensors so that his swing can be replicated for an EA Sports video game. The big question: Will the virtual Daly pound M&M's and chug a Diet Coke after every hole?
COLOR PHOTO: CHICAGO TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO (KNAFEL) Knafel speaks!
COLOR PHOTOMONTAGE: JOHN IACONO (CAR); JENNIFER POTTHEISER/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES (MARTIN)
THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
The sports gambling site betonsports.com is setting odds and
taking wagers on various developments in the war in Iraq.
THEY SAID IT
Nets forward, on why the numerous fines he incurred last season
prompted him to temper his temper: "I lost almost $300,000.
That's two cars."