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Sports Beat

SITTING ON a six-point halftime lead in Sunday's NBA All-Star
Game, Eastern Conference coach Rick Carlisle decided he would
forgo the traditional locker room strategy session and pep talk.
"Our players wanted to see Michael McDonald and Beyonce, and I
couldn't blame them," said the Pistons' coach. So instead of
going over their X's and O's, the All-Stars watched Beyonce
descend from the rafters to perform her hit Crazy in Love in a
thin V-neck top that left little to the imagination. (Also
watching intently from the stands was Janet Jackson, wearing a
furry brown hat and clutching a small bouquet of red roses.) How
did Carlisle's motivational ploy play out? The East lost 136-132.

--Facing the prospect of losing his 15th straight Big Ten game,
Minnesota basketball coach Dan Monson turned to Hollywood. After
practice on Feb. 10, Monson took the Gophers to a matinee of
Miracle. "I was a senior in high school when that Lake Placid
event happened," says Monson. "If anything ever epitomized a
team, it was them, and I wanted our guys to see that." The next
night Minnesota rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to
beat Michigan 81-78.

--Steve Kerr, whose three-point marksmanship led Arizona to the
1988 Final Four, was slated to deliver the commencement address
at his alma mater until a bigger name came along: George W. Bush.
School president Peter Likins invited Kerr before he found out
last week that the President might be available. A final decision
is expected in April, but an informal straw poll by the Arizona
Daily Star showed that Kerr has plenty of support in the state,
which Bush narrowly won in the 2000 election. One Kerr advocate
argued, "I prefer Kerr. He was a straight shooter." ... Ben
Affleck also had some duties usurped by the President. The actor
was the grand marshal at Sunday's Daytona 500, but Bush got to
give the order for the drivers to start their engines. Affleck
did get to challenge Bobby Labonte on Saturday in a race using
simulators at the Daytona USA Motorsports Museum, where he
learned a thing or two about trading paint. "I wrecked him early
in the race," said Labonte. "We talked afterward, and I explained
the 'bump draft' to him." ... What would Vijay think? The field
for next month's Women's Australian Open will include Mianne
Bagger, a 37-year-old who was born a male but underwent a sex
change operation in 1995. "Hopefully people will see that I am
not a freak and, like the other women in the field, I love
playing golf," she said. The Australian Ladies Tour, like the
LPGA, requires competitors to have been born female, but the Open
has no such restriction. Bagger can become the first player born
a male to compete in a national women's championship. We can just
see the movie: The Legend of Bagger's Pants.

COLOR PHOTO: JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/GETTY IMAGES (SUMO) PICTURE THIS Fe fi fo fum. The giant of South Korean sumo wrestling, Kasugao, had little trouble shaking off a couple of boy toys at an exhibition last week in Seoul. Kasugao wasn't as successful when he picked on someone his own size--he was upset a minute into his second match. The event was the first sumo competition held in South Korea, which eased its ban on Japanese culture in 2000.




The company that staged the Lingerie Bowl during halftime of the
Super Bowl is forming a four-team lingerie league, to begin play
next year.


Titans offensive coordinator, on why he hasn't been a candidate
for an NFL head coaching job. "They're looking for big names, not
long names."