WHAT WAS it that Muhammad Ali once boasted? That he could float like a butterfly and sing like a bee? Not exactly, but in a new book former Esquire art director George Lois argues that the Greatest was the first hip-hop artist. Ali Rap, which hits stores on Nov. 2, is an illustrated collection of lyrical Ali quotes in chronological order, starting with what Lois presents as his first verse: "This guy is done, I'll beat him in one," a threat the 12-year-old Cassius Clay made before his first fight. On Dec. 9 ESPN will air a special based on the book with readings by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Sidney Poitier, and a performance of an Ali-inspired song by host Chuck D. "He communicated in all sorts of ways at once," says Chuck D.
Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart skipped practice on Oct. 25 to be with former girlfriend Brynn Cameron in Southern California, where she gave birth to their son, Cole. "It was a great experience," Leinart said. "Now my next job is to be a great dad." The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner started dating Cameron, 20, in February 2005, while he was still at USC, but they separated last April. When news of Cameron's pregnancy broke in August, her father, Stan, told reporters that her next step would be to "finish school and let Matt do his thing and then figure it out." Cameron (left), a junior guard for the Trojans' women's hoops team, will sit out this season as a redshirt.
Chargers receiver Kassim Osgood knows what it takes to have a good entourage—he employs a college friend as his "go-get-it guy," and he keeps pals around to help him "maintain the course and stay focused." Now he'll get a chance to use his expertise in HBO's Entourage. Osgood won a walk-on role at a charity auction (he bid $11,000 to benefit the San Diego Sports Medicine Foundation for Children, which aids underprivileged kids who suffer sports-related injuries) and is scheduled to appear next season.
Will there soon be a new stop on the talk-show circuit? Oprah, Ellen, Jay and Dave may be joined by Stephon. Armed with a reel of demo interviews, including a chat with Kobe Bryant, Knicks guard Stephon Marbury, who runs hot and cold as an interview subject himself, has been pitching his own TV talk show. "We've had offers," Marbury told the New York Post. "We just haven't taken anything."... According to The Palm Beach Post, Greg Norman and Chris Evert, both 51, are romantically involved and will attend Evert's charity event in Boca Raton, Fla., next week together. (Reps for both said they're just friends.) Norman, who once employed Evert's brother as a caddie, separated from his wife of 25 years, Laura, earlier this year. Last week Evert, winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles, announced her divorce from ex--Olympic skier Andy Mill after 18 years of marriage.
They Said It
Giants running back, upon hearing that Terrell Owens is writing a children's book called Little T Learns to Share:
"He may be drawing on someone else's experiences."
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
A Bulgarian soccer team ordered a volatile 19-year-old player to get married, believing that would force him to settle down.
ALEXANDREA MLEJNKOVA/CTK/ABACAUSA.COM (PICTURE THIS)
PICTURE THIS If Ralph Lauren had spent his teens at the Agricultural High School in Kladruby nad Labem, Czech Republic, people might be wearing pushball shirts, not polo shirts. Pushball—think rugby on horseback, with a 55-pound ball—is part of gym class for these Czech kids. The game was invented in Newton, Mass., in 1894 but never became fashionable here or terribly popular there: This is the only pushball in the Republic.
DAVID GONZALES (CAMERON)
REX BROWN/WIREIMAGE.COM (BARBER)