Giants running back Tiki Barber found out that he has an unlikely fan while dining at the hip Manhattan restaurant Tao last month: Shimon Peres. The former Israeli prime minister reportedly approached Barber (left) and asked him to come to Israel to be a goodwill ambassador for sports. Barber agreed, and before saying shalom, gave Peres his cellphone number. The 1994 Nobel Peace Prize winner founded the Peres Center for Peace in 1996. It encourages Israeli and Palestinian children to play sports together as a way to promote tolerance and curb violence.
‚ñ† Derek Jeter is officially a money player, and it has nothing to do with his four World Series rings. The Merrick Mint has created a line of colorized quarters featuring the likenesses of 81 major leaguers, including the Yankees' shortstop, on the heads side. (No, former Royal U.L. Washington and ex-Brave Claudell Washington aren't among them.) The coins are legal tender, but because they're being sold for $5.99 each at Walgreen's, we wouldn't recommend using them at the Laundromat. "You don't always get to be on money," said one of the honorees, Devil Rays outfielder Carl Crawford. "It's only a quarter, but it's a start."
‚ñ† Picking an agent is a crucial decision for a young athlete and, like all big choices in life--spouse, employee, home-decorating theme--it can now be made on a reality show. Former USC defensive back Shaun Cody found his man on Spike TV's Super Agent, which is scheduled to debut on July 22. Hosted by Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez, the show winnowed down a group of nine would-be Jerry Maguires with tests of their negotiating skills and how deftly they dealt with Cody's family and friends. (Taping began during Cody's January trip to the Senior Bowl and ended at the NFL draft.) Spike TV hopes to keep the winner's name under wraps until the series finale, but at least one outsider knows how it turned out: Lions president Matt Millen, who selected Cody in the second round last Saturday and will have to negotiate with the winner.
‚ñ† What's a man with a lot of free time and a closetful of nine-button suits to do? Host a reality show, of course. Deion Sanders hopes to go prime time again in a Fox Sports Net show tentatively titled Just Like You. The pilot, which is currently in production and is scheduled to debut this summer, will feature Sanders spending a day with the Ravens' Ray Lewis. If it's a hit, the series will air in the fall.
‚ñ† Bill Walton, Peggy Fleming, Kellen Winslow and Bill Bradley were among those gathered for the inaugural Spirit of Jimmy V New York Gala last Friday. The event, held in memory of former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993, raised money for the V Foundation. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski presented the Spirit of Jimmy V Award to former New York City mayor--and cancer survivor--Rudy Giuliani.
They Said It
Marlins manager, 74, on the election of 78-year-old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as the new pope: "I'm glad to see that young guy get in there."
THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Notre Dame was penalized for excessive celebration during its spring intrasquad football game.
ROB TRINGALI/SPORTSCHROME (MCKEON)
COURTESY OF MERRICK MINT (JETER COIN)
SIMON BRUTY (PICTURE THIS)
Just when your quads feel like a hunka-hunka burnin' something, it's nice to know at least one fan in the crowd is stuck on you. That's why the ersatz Elvis who appeared during the fifth stage of the Tour de Georgia (page 50) will be forever painted on the black velvet of this cyclist's memory. As for the sport's king, Lance Armstrong, who knows a thing or two about suspicious minds, he left the building with a 5th-place finish.
JIM SPELLMAN/WIREIMAGE.COM (BARBER)