Sports Beat

September 21, 2003

Former White Shadow star Ken Howard as Phil Jackson? NBC may soon
be casting the role of the Lakers' coach after saying last week
that it's strongly considering a dramatic series based on the
life of the team's executive vice president, Jeanie Buss (below).
"Here's a woman running an NBA team that her father owns--and
she's dating the coach," says Chris Conti, the network's drama
development head who green-lighted the project. Plans call for
the series to start with the Zen Master's 1999 hiring (which Buss
initially opposed), and creators plan to borrow more storylines
from actual events. Pariah television producer and Lakers
season-ticket holder Gavin Polone hatched the idea after sitting
next to Buss at a game and asking her about her life. Polone
persuaded her to sign on for the show, then hired writer-director
Audrey Wells (The Truth about Cats and Dogs) before approaching
NBC. Network executives consider the show a strong candidate for
the 2004 season, and the NBA will allow the one-hour program to
use the Lakers' name. "It's a show about basketball," says Conti,
"and something that both men and women would watch."

--If the wet T-shirt contest in The Real Cancun looked like the
work of highly-trained athletes, well, it was. Nicole and Roxanne
Frilot, the twins who partied their way through a Mexican spring
break last April in MTV's first reality movie were, in real life,
scholarship soccer players at Texas Tech. But after their topless
frolicking, that might change. The 20-year-olds, both juniors and
public relations majors, have been thrown off the team and
stripped of their scholarships--not because their stripping
violated team rules but because they missed school and soccer
practice while on a press tour after the movie was released. They
have appealed the ruling, and the university would not say when a
decision is expected. "We were pinpointed because we are
athletes," says Nicole, who suspects boosters found the movie
offensive and pressured the administration. "It's not like we
have huge boobs and were flaunting them."

--The Paper Lions are reuniting. They are celebrating the 40th
anniversary of George Plimpton's training camp with Detroit as a
36-year-old free agent quarterback from Harvard, which he wrote
about first in a two-part SI story in 1964, then in the book
Paper Lion. Forty players from that team are getting together in
Detroit this weekend for brunch and a gala banquet, then they
will be introduced at halftime of the Vikings-Lions game on
Sunday. Among the players attending will be defensive tackle Alex
Karras, cornerback Roger Brown, wide receiver Gail Cogdill and
guard John Gordy. "We were able to get just about everybody to
come out," says Bill Dow, a freelance writer who organized the
event and provided the afterword to a new edition of Paper Lion
that was released this month. "The only guy who wasn't interested
was Alan Alda [who played Plimpton in the movie version of the
book]. I don't know why; that was his first Golden Globe
nomination."

--Andy Roddick rocks. Throughout the U.S. Open his box contained
a who's who of musicians, including Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich
and violinist Boyd Tinsley, who flew to New York for each of
Roddick's seven matches while on tour with the Dave Matthews
Band. A-Rod is also popular with the easy-listening set--before
his finals victory over Juan Carlos Ferrero, he got a call from
Elton John.

TWO COLOR PHOTOS: KATHY WILLENS (WAECHTER, CONTRERAS, HERNANDEZ) PICTURE THIS Ah, September, when a rookie's fancy turns to kneesocks and leopard-skin hats. After Sunday's game Devil Rays pitcher Doug Waechter (far left) was pretty in pink, and the Yankees' Jose Contreras, Michel Hernandez and Hideki Matsui (left to right) were big pimpin' to the bus, victims of the major leagues' hazing tradition. COLOR PHOTO: ED BETZ/AP (MATSUI) [See caption above] COLOR PHOTO: MIRANDA SHEN/CELEBRITYPHOTO.COM (BUSS) Is It Showtime? COLOR PHOTO: ANDREW REDINGTON/GETTY IMAGES (CLARKE)

THIS WEEK'S SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE

Former NFL stars Lawrence Taylor and Jim McMahon will be the
opposing coaches in the inaugural Lingerie Bowl, a tackle
football game between models at halftime of Super Bowl
XXXVIII.

THEY SAID IT

DARREN CLARKE
European tour golfer, asked whether he had ever won tournaments
in back-to-back weeks: "It's taken longer than five days to sober
up, so probably not."

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)