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Sports Beat

Twenty-one years after Marvin Gaye's soulful performance of The
Star-Spangled Banner at the NBA All-Star Game, Gaye's daughter,
Nona, will perform the funkified version Saturday night at the
Staples Center. Nona, 29, who also models and acts (Ali, The
Matrix: Reloaded), will sing a duet with her late father. (A
digitally-enhanced video of his performance will appear on a
monitor next to her.) Nona's six-year-old son, Nolan, will be by
her side, bringing three generations of Gayes together. "Nolan is
my rock," says Nona. "If I start to tear up, he'll be there to
help me hold it together."

Conan O'Brien took to the ice in late January, taping skits for
the four Late Night shows being broadcast from Canada this week.
In one segment he dropped the gloves and traded blows with Maple
Leafs monobrowed goon Tie Domi--and the results were
unintentionally realistic. "When we were done, there was blood
trickling down my face from above my left eye," O'Brien said. "It
turned out to be just a scratch, but it looked really cool for
four days. And I could tell people I got into a dustup with Tie
Domi." Domi's assessment of O'Brien's skills: "He's a tall, lanky
guy. I just told him he needs to eat a few more potatoes and put
on some beef."

Turns out Kurt Russell, who stars as U.S. Olympic hockey coach
Herb Brooks in Miracle, actually can inspire young hockey players
to succeed. His son Wyatt, a 17-year-old goalie for the Richmond
Sockeyes, was the only unanimous selection to the Pacific
International Junior Hockey League all-star team. In 31 games he
has four shutouts and a 2.65 goals-against average. "I wish Herb
would have gotten a chance to see him play," Kurt told The Denver
Post. "A couple of NHL teams have talked to me about Wyatt, and
they think he has real talent and real potential, and they're
starting to talk about next year's draft. More important,
colleges are starting to come around and see Wyatt play and are
getting serious about him."

The night before Russell's performance hit the big screen,
Brooks was honored with a bronze statue in downtown St. Paul. The
piece, which captures Brooks with his arms raised in triumph,
stands on the site of the old St. Paul Civic Center, where the
1980 Olympic team often practiced. Our only complaint: The
bronzed Brooks isn't wearing plaid pants.... FX has greenlighted
eight episodes of NASCAR: Drivers Unscripted, a reality show that
will follow drivers such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick
as they prepare for a race. Filming begins this week in Daytona,
and the one-hour show will premiere in May.... Nuggets rookie
Carmelo Anthony has officially made it: He's got his own candy
bar. The Melo bar features chocolate and--what else?--caramel.
Anthony is donating all profits to charity.... Former pro
wrestler and ex-Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura has a new gig:
He'll be a fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of
Government. His class, he says, will focus on "third-party
politics and how awful the media truly are."

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN FILO/CBS (DAKIDES WITH LETTERMAN) PICTURE THIS David Letterman likes to keep his guests in stitches--but this was too much. After professional snowboarder Tara Dakides careened off a 40-foot ramp while attempting a stunt for the Late Show last Thursday, landing hard on the bare pavement (inset above), the comic canceled that night's broadcast. By Monday, Dakides, who had a gash on the back of her skull sewn up but was otherwise unhurt, was out of her hospital bed and back with Dave.





A Minnesota state trooper crashed into a civilian car while
speeding with her flashing lights and siren on, trying to get an
off-duty colleague to a hockey game.


NHL commissioner, on why he wasn't worried about breast exposure
during the All-Star Game performance by Barenaked Ladies (lead
singer, left): "They're neither naked, nor ladies."