It was a split decision in the Taylor household last weekend as
March Madness met March Badness. On Saturday night in Little
Rock, 25-year-old Jermaine (Bad Intentions) Taylor (20-0) scored
a TKO over Alex Bunema for the WBC Continental Americas
Middleweight Championship. The next day the missus didn't pack as
much of a punch. Louisiana Tech's Erica Smith-Taylor, who entered
the game as the leading scorer in the NCAA women's tournament, at
29.5 points per game, was held to 11 in a 63-49 loss to Duke in
the Sweet 16. Since their schedules often keep them apart, Erica,
21, makes a point of running into the locker room just before
tip-off to call her husband of seven months. "He's always the
last person I talk to before I step on the court," she told the
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. "I have to hear him say good luck and
go get them. That's all I need, and I'm ready to leave it all out
on the court."

--Just think: If Rachel Hunter had said to her agent, "The one
thing you should know is that I absolutely refuse to play a
mother hen to a bunch of strippers turned volleyball players,"
she would have never landed her role in the movie Cloud Nine.
Hunter--a former SI Swimsuit model, current Playboy covergirl and
Stacy's mom in Fountains of Wayne's sardonic video for the song
of the same name--stars with Burt Reynolds. "I play the old
stripper who has been there, done that," Hunter, 34, said. "It
sounds like fun." Shooting starts April 19 in Malibu.

--Thanks to Dave Chappelle's hilarious impersonation of him on
Chappelle's Show, '80s rocker Rick James is enjoying a bit of a
renaissance. Last week the Ohio State hockey team was celebrating
its conference championship with friends and family members at
their hotel in downtown Detroit, and the funkmaster, who was also
staying in the hotel, joined them. When the bar's proprietors
tried to close the joint down, James persuaded them to stay open,
then posed for pictures with the team and their trophy. He raised
a champagne glass and said, "Ohio State!" Then he punctuated his
toast with the words Chappelle has turned into a catchphrase:
"I'm Rick James, bitch!"... It was a busy week for David Beckham.
First he found himself answering questions from reporters about
Mohamed Bekkali, one of the men accused of taking part in the
Madrid train bombings. When police raided Bekkali's home, they
found a birthday card signed by the Real Madrid midfielder.
Beckham is believed to have unknowingly signed the card for
Bekkali, a devoted fan who calls himself Bekks, at the team's
training ground. When that controversy blew over, Beckham began
talks to play a soccer player in a forthcoming remake of The Pink
Panther, starring Steve Martin and Beyonce.... Mandy Block,
better known as the woman in the Italian sausage costume who was
knocked to the ground by then Pirates first baseman Randall Simon
during a sausage race in Milwaukee's Miller Park last summer,
recently visited Simon's home country of Curacao. The tiny
island's tourism bureau thought the incident was bad publicity,
so they brought Block in for a week of fun that included swimming
with dolphins at the Curacao Dolphin Academy.

COLOR PHOTO: YANNIS BEHRAKIS/REUTERS (PICTURE THIS) PICTURE THIS No, it's not a deleted scene from the Clash of the Titans DVD. That's actress Thalia Prokopiou, dressed in the white robe of a high priestess, lighting the Olympic torch. Prokopiou used the sun's rays in a parabolic mirror amid the ruins in Ancient Olympia where the Games were born 2,780 years ago. The 48,500-mile torch relay, which began last Thursday, ends in Athens on Aug. 13.


A sofa and a chair from the hotel room Kobe Bryant stayed in the
night he allegedly assaulted a Colorado woman are being sold by a
Denver furniture dealer.


Golfer, on what it is like to play with a U.S. president: "They
yell fore, shoot 6 and write down 5."