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Original Issue

The Beat

Karl Malone hasn't taken a shot yet this season, but according to Kobe Bryant, the Mailman has been making passes. The feud between the former Lakers teammates got nastier on Sunday when Bryant accused Malone of hitting on his wife, Vanessa, during a game at the Staples Center last month. (Vanessa, who is half Mexican, says that Malone, while dressed in a cowboy hat and boots, told her he was hunting "a young Mexican girl.") Malone and his wife, Kaye, have a home near the Bryants' in Newport Beach, Calif., and Bryant (left, with Vanessa) said the two families had socialized last summer. Sounds as if those days are over. "He was like a mentor, like a brother to me, so when something like that happens you're upset," Bryant said. Malone has not commented publicly, but his agent, Dwight Manley, said Malone "doesn't intend to be involved in a personal soap opera."

■ When it came time for the U.S. women's soccer team to pick a charity to support, GoGirlGo!, which encourages girls to participate in sports, was a natural selection for the ponytail posse. "Our biggest fan base is young girls, so it made sense that we would pick a charity that would focus on programs to keep them physically active," says recently retired team veteran Julie Foudy. "Some girls get distracted in their teens and need the same encouragement that the guys have to keep playing sports." For their first fund-raising event the women held a celebrity golf tournament at the La Costa course in Carlsbad, Calif., last week. In addition to soccer players, participants included U.S. softball team pitcher Lisa Fernandez and WNBA star Nykesha Sales. Course etiquette wasn't strictly enforced. "We like to yell at each other between holes," says Foudy. "But we're still pretty competitive. I kept telling people to find out what Brandi Chastain's team score was and then told them to tell her that my foursome was 10 under that." Chastain's team ended up a few strokes ahead of Foudy's--even more impressive considering that a goose camped out next to Chastain's ball on the 15th green. After some arm-waving, Chastain and her partner, actress Janet Jones, were able to coax the bird away with crackers.

■ Showing there's no bad blood in the wake of their Monday Night Football skit, Terrell Owens invited Nicollette Sheridan to his 31st birthday party last week in Philadelphia. The Desperate Housewives star couldn't make it, sending a statement reported on Entertainment Tonight: "You are such a gentleman. You're so handsome, and you're not a bad soap opera actor, either." ... It's hard to imagine Anna Kournikova stirring a pot of Ukrainian borscht or Alonzo Mourning smoothing out the crust of a sweet-potato pie. But when Andre Agassi's sister Tami and chef,Kathy Casey,asked for recipes from athletes, cooks and entertainers, Kournikova went ethnic while Mourning opted for something sweet. In all, 79 recipes are compiled in Star Palate: Celebrity Cookbook for a Cure, which benefits research for breast cancer--which Tami battled five years ago--and ovarian cancer.


Police in Wales had to use pepper spray to break up a brawl among charity race runners in Santa suits.


Patriots coach, when asked what kind of dog chewed up his beloved autographed copy of PB: The Paul Brown Story: "A dead dog."




Cast David and Victoria Beckham as Joseph and Mary and--surprise!--controversy is born. The celebrity nativity scene at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in London featured statues of the It couple as well as Samuel L. Jackson and Hugh Grant as shepherds, George W. Bush and Tony Blair as wise men and Kylie Minogue as an angel. The exhibit was closed on Monday after a protester punched the wax Beckhams.