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The Beat

ABC's first season of Dancing with the Stars memorably featured a boxer (Evander Holyfield) who floated like an iron butterfly. But the poor showing by the ex-champ hasn't stopped the show from scouting for hoofers from the world of sports. Among the competitors on the second season of Dancing, which premiered on Jan. 5: the NFL's alltime receptions leader Jerry Rice (who, ironically, never danced much in the end zone) and ESPN anchor Kenny Mayne, whose junior high sex-ed class is his only relevant experience. "They taught square dancing to introduce us to girls," says Mayne, "and all we did was push each other out of the way to get paired with the cutest girl." If he tries that tactic on Rice, he may draw an interference call.

■ Derek Jeter waited until the last minute to finish his Christmas shopping. On Dec. 23 the Yankees' captain stopped in at New York City's Jacob & Co., where he splashed for diamond stud earrings (for his mom, Dorothy) and two diamond bangles worth around $10,000 (for his younger sister, Sharlee). Interestingly, he didn't buy anything at the store for Vanessa Minnillo (right), the MTV VJ he has been dating on and off for the past two years--but who has recently been linked with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

■ Darrell Waltrip showed he can drive a '77 Monte Carlo; the three-time NASCAR champ won 19 races in one he called Bertha. Now he'll see if he can play a Monte Carlo. In the Pixar flick Cars, due out on June 9, the Fox broadcaster will lend his voice to a '77 Monte Carlo called Darrell Cartrip. Says Waltrip, who also plays himself in the upcoming NASCAR comedy tentatively titled High, Wide and Handsome, "I've been playing Darrell Waltrip for years, so I was ready."

■ New England Revolution midfielder and U.S. national team hopeful Clint Dempsey has teamed with Houston rappers Big Hawk and XO to produce a hip-hop song, Don't Tread, which can be heard at Dempsey began freestyle rapping as a kid growing up in Texas, when he had to travel three hours to get to soccer practice in a car with no radio. Dempsey hopes it will dispel the notion that in the U.S., soccer is a suburban sport. "There are players from the ghettos and the barrios," Dempsey, 22, says. "And if this song helps bring in an audience from those neighborhoods, then the goal is accomplished."

■ Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson will get back to his football roots in 2006. The wrestler-actor, who was a tackle at Miami from 1991 to '94 (and who displayed his potential as a mat star when he chased the San Diego State Aztec mascot into the stands), will star in a Disney comedy about a bachelor NFL player who discovers he has a seven-year-old daughter. He'll also play a coach in Gridiron Gang (Sept. 22), which is based on a real-life football team at a juvenile-detention camp.


Consider the puck. Canada's goaltender Justin Pogge did just that in a 3-2 win over the U.S. at the World Junior Championships in Vancouver on Dec. 31. Pogge has a way of considering the puck right out of the crease. Canada won its first five games, including a 4-0 semifinal victory over Finland on Tuesday. The netminder was to see a familiar opponent in Thursday's final--Canada and Russia were set to face off for the gold for the fifth time in eight years.


Russia's Olympic hockey coach has recommended drinking at least three shots of vodka to relieve postgame stress.

They Said It


Jazz center, explaining why he shelled out $75 for a black velvet blazer to comply with the NBA's dress code when he sat out a recent game:

"I couldn't find a bum in time."