Publish date:

The Beat

When Robert Jones put his struggling Welsh soccer team, Llanelli AFC, on the block last week, one of the first prospective buyers to emerge was Jones's niece, actress Catherine Zeta-Jones, 35. The Ocean's Twelve star (left), who grew up less than 20 miles from Llanelli, has visited the team several times during its current 1--10 season and is reportedly considering paying $800,000 for the defending Welsh Premier League champs. A team insider told the London Mirror last week, "Obviously Catherine and Michael [Douglas] have a lot of cash, so buying Llanelli would be a drop in the ocean for them, but for us it could make all the difference."

■ Hall of Famer Bill Walton has a new show on Sirius Satellite Radio, but if the first installment is any indication, we won't be hearing much conventional hoops analysis from the man who helped win two NCAA championships at UCLA and spent 10 seasons in the NBA. Walton hit the airwaves last Saturday, spinning Grateful Dead tracks for three hours. (The show airs Saturdays from 9 p.m. until midnight.) A veteran of more than 650 Dead shows, Walton likened the band to a great basketball team, calling them "a group of outstanding individuals realizing that the strength of the team was the strength of the individual." Says Walton, "The opportunity to hang with music fans and play my favorite anthems while sharing my personal journey is a dream come true."

■ New Jersey Nets games have sometimes had an amateur-night feel to them--and pretty soon the halftime shows will too. In an effort to boost their attendance (they draw less than 14,000 fans per game, second lowest in the league), the last-place Nets have teamed up with the Apollo Theater to bring aspiring talent to Continental Airlines Arena. The crowd will decide by its applause which singers are worthy of moving on to one of the Harlem theater's famous weekly amateur nights. The Apollo is also producing 30-minute performances after select games. The concert series kicked off last Saturday with Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick and Rob Base. No word on whether or not Nets minority owner JayZ will perform, but his hit 99 Problems would be an appropriate tune for the venue.

■ Former NFL lineman Esera Tuaolo, who sang the praises of Hawaiian chicken in a Chili's commercial last year, has picked up his ukulele again for a new Christmas CD. Tuaolo, who belted out the national anthem before the 1999 Pro Bowl, collaborated with Grammy-winning producer Joe Hogue for First Christmas, which features an acoustic version of Silent Night in Tuaolo's native Samoan. "Anyone who's ever been in a relationship remembers spending their first Christmas together," says Tuaolo of the title track. Tuaolo, who retired in 1999 after a nine-year career and announced in 2002 that he is gay, is selling the CD on his website, A portion of the album proceeds will go to charity.


Anna Benson, wife of Mets pitcher Kris, promised to sleep with every member of the team, including coaches and groundskeepers, if he cheats on her.


"Indianapolis wide receiver, whose team scored 51 points against the Titans, on whether the Colts' offense is similar to the video game Madden 2005: "Not really. Sometimes in Madden the offense struggles."




Movazeb bash!--a rough Persian translation of "Fore!"--was no doubt heard often at Iran's first-ever national women's golf championship, held last weekend in Tehran. The tournament attracted 30 women; 34-year-old Firuzeh Mohammed-Zamani (above) finished second behind 19-year-old medical student Fatemeh Rahimi. "My score was 88--not international level, but I've been playing for just two years," Rahimi said.