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Original Issue

The Beat

Is the pen mightier than the racket? Anna Kournikova will soon find out. In the June issue of Elle she becomes the magazine's first fitness columnist, writing about body maintenance in her post-tennis, Enrique-enriched life. Writes Kournikova, "I'm suddenly facing the real issues of a nonprofessional athlete.... How often I should hit the gym and what I need to incorporate into my diet." Kournikova (left), 23, who hasn't played tennis competitively in more than two years, writes in her first column that she's now able to enjoy activities (such as rock climbing) that she couldn't when she was playing. She'll also volley reader inquiries online at "[Anna] is obviously very fit," says Elle editor Megan Deem. "but she also has a very good voice. She's full of ideas."

What Arena football players won't do for art-and a nice paycheck. Brian Mann, a backup QB for the L.A. Avengers, played Adam Sandler's stunt double in The Longest Yard, which required him to dye his hair, get tan and shave his legs. ("I guess Adam does that," Mann, 25, says.) Mann's job description included taking hits from former NFL tough guy Bill Romanowski, who plays an opposing linebacker. (Producers determined Mann's pay by how hard and how often he got hit.) "Romo was the worst," says Mann. "For one hit he asked the director for a 20-yard running head start. I've tried to think of something stupider I've done in my life. I can't." For his work Mann (below, right, with Sandler) pocketed around $30,000-more than he makes in an AFL season.

Harper Lee has nothing on Dennis Rodman. Lee wrote only one book (so what if that book was To Kill a Mockingbird?); Rodman is already working on his third. Return of the Worm is scheduled for a late 2005 release. Agent Darren Prince says the book will cover the end of Rodman's NBA career and his ex-wife, Carmen Electra-"meeting her, the wedding and the arrest ... all that stuff." Why did the Worm turn back to writing just now? "Dennis finally realized the NBA isn't going to happen," says Prince. "David Stern won't allow it, so he's doing this instead."

Another former NBA big man will appear on the pages of a book, but it won't be in a very flattering light. Patrick Ewing's ex-wife, Rita Ewing, has written Brickhouse, a novel about a woman named Leila who is married to a philandering Knicks superstar. "Leila absolutely comes from my own experiences," says Rita. "I drew upon that for Leila's relationships, and I had a lot of fun." ... Producer Bob Weinstein ponied up $100,000 for tennis lessons with Monica Seles and Boris Becker at an AIDS charity auction in Cannes, France. The former Miramax boss made the bid only after the auctioneer, Jessica Alba, offered to appear in one of Weinstein's movies-for free.... Apparently they never heard of The Magic Hour in Argentina. Soccer legend Diego Maradona, who underwent gastric bypass surgery in March, has been given his own weekly talk show on Argentine TV called La Noche del 10 (The Night of Number 10).


A Little League team in Kentucky is sponsored by Hooters.

They Said It


Magic senior VP, who has won the NBA draft lottery three times since 1992: "Most teams have a trophy case full of trophies. We have a case filled with Ping-Pong balls."




Who has the best buns in racing? If you relish the title, you've got to be willing to trade a little mustard. Kurt Busch beat fellow NASCAR driver Greg Biffle in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile race last Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway, outside Charlotte. (Michel Jourdain was third; Todd Kluever, the wurst of the four entries.) Said Busch, who had his meat wagon moving at 45 mph, "My wiener has never been so exhausted."