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The Beat

Who's got the best shot in the NBAE, the new league in which celebrities compete? Former Bulls guard Jay Williams says the jumper of actor Bill Bellamy is "kind of tight." Williams, who has relocated to Los Angeles to rehab his left knee, was on hand for the tip-off of the NBA Entertainers league's season. There are 14 teams in the league--they share names with NBA teams--and each plays a 13-game schedule. (The Lakers, for instance, boast a roster that includes singer Justin Timberlake, rappers Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, and actors Frankie Muniz and Simon Rex.) Last Thursday players swung by Guy's Bar in L.A. to pick up their jerseys and warmups. While boxer Sugar Shane Moseley, who plays for the Bucks, says he uses the NBAE to stay in shape for his day job, others, such as singer and Extra cohost Mark McGrath (the Suns) are more serious about their hoops. Says McGrath, "I'm lame enough to plan my schedule around this thing."

■ Sex and the City creator Darren Star is currently developing a script for a one-hour television drama about a fictional Atlanta hoops team and its players' marriages. Basketball Wives is unrelated to the BBC's Footballers Wive$.

■ Speaking of athletes and their love lives, Sol Campbell, a defender for Arsenal and a star of the English national team, seems to be doing O.K. in his. The 31-year-old has recently been linked to former model and SI swimsuit cover girl Elle Macpherson (left), 41, with whom he's been spotted around London.

■ Perhaps Pete Carroll is looking for a Hollywood ending to USC's 2005 season. Last week the Trojans coach--who in the past has welcomed Snoop Dogg and Will Ferrell to practice--invited director Spike Lee to speak at a team meeting. "It's cool to see guys recognize what we are doing," said Trojans defensive end Frostee Rucker of the team's guest. Afterward the two-time Oscar nominee, who was in town to lecture at USC, was asked to decide which unit had won the daily offense-defense competition. (He picked the D. Says Carroll, "Obviously he's a defensive-minded guy.") Lee said that his good feelings for the Trojans coalesced three weeks ago when they beat Notre Dame. Said Lee, "Notre Dame, Red Sox, Celtics; I don't like them at all. So I thanked [the Trojans]."

■ Breaking up is always painful, especially when there are tattoos involved. Singer Brandy and Quentin Richardson, 25, have reportedly split, 15 months after the Knicks forward gave her a $1 million, 11.5-carat engagement ring. (No word on whether or not she returned the ring.) Brandy, 26, had Richardson's likeness tattooed on her back, and since the breakup she's gone back under the needle to have the tattoo transformed into a cat.


It's Ansel Adams's cousin, Grizzly Adams. No, it's actually Lady, one of Baylor's black bear mascots, who was hanging out on the sidelines during the school's 28-0 loss to Texas Tech last Saturday. It was homecoming weekend in Waco, in more ways than one. Lady and her sister, Joy, Baylor's other mascot, moved into a remodeled campus bear pit, replete with trees and a swimming pool--but, alas, no darkroom.


The Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas has a $50,000-a-night suite with a regulation basketball court and a locker room.

They Said It

OZZIE GUILLEN, White Sox manager, on his leadership style

"I don't know if I'm a leader, but I have the biggest mouth."