NBA bad boy RonArtest hasn't changed his tune on his new rap album, My World, which hitsstores on Oct. 31. On the first track, Haterz, the 2004 Defensive Player of theYear sends a message to David Stern, saying he wants to teach the commissioner"'bout the ghetto." In the song Artest also says Today host Matt Lauer,who grilled him after the 2004 melee at The Palace of Auburn Hills, looks"like a girl" and addresses the brawl: "Touched the wrong person,Steve Jack had my back/O'Neal and A.J. with the counterattack." Artest toldSI he doesn't expect the league to react ("I didn't really say nothing badabout anybody"), but he did clarify the song's boast of smoking "rightbefore games" and hitting "the liquor store for a half pint" athalftime: "That was when I was younger, in high school. Definitely not inthe NBA."
•Much likeMichael Jordan once did, Jay-Z has a loose definition of retirement. The rapperand part owner of the Nets "retired" from hip-hop in 2003, but he hasan album scheduled for release on Nov. 21--and Nets ticket holders will getfirst dibs on the disc. Fans who purchase a three-game Nets Premiere Weekpackage (starting at $85) will get a copy of the album, Kingdom Come. The firstsingle, Show Me What You Got, debuted last week; its video features Jay-Zriding shotgun to Dale Earnhardt Jr., zipping through the streets of Monaco ina race against Indy car driver Danica Patrick (left).
•When might theskeletons in a candidate's closet boost a campaign? When the candidate isseeking office in Wisconsin, and the skeletons once played for the Packers. Twoyears ago Sandy Sullivan, 65, the owner of a Green Bay marketing firm who'srunning for secretary of state, self-published Green Bay Love Stories and OtherAffairs, in which she claims romantic liaisons with several Lombardi-eraPackers. Sullivan says she bedded Paul Hornung ("He was soooo CUTE!")and Dan Currie ("One would have to be in a coma not to want him") andpassed on a relationship with Don Hutson. Sullivan, who touts the book on hercampaign website--along with an endorsement from Hall of Fame QB BartStarr--says she isn't worried the book might turn off voters. "If anybodyhas any problems with it," she says, "they ought to look in their owncloset."
•Italian defenderMarco Materazzi has heard enough joking about the World Cup head butt hereceived from France's Zinedine Zidane. Now it's his turn. Materazzi, who hasalready starred in an Italian Nike commercial poking fun at the incident, ispublishing What I Really Said to Zidane, a book of 249 phrases that he mighthave uttered--but didn't--to provoke the Frenchman. Among Materazzi'shypothetical instigators are an observation that "French philosophy hasn'tbeen the same since Foucault died" and a threat to tell Zidane how ABC'shit series Lost ends. "As you will see," Materazzi told the Italiandaily Gazzetta dello Sport last week, "I found it funny to explore theabsurdity of the whole affair."
They Said It
MIKE D'ANTONI, Suns coach, upon hearing that Frenchcenter Boris Diaw (below), who showed up at camp noticeably heavier, hadn'tpicked up a basketball for a month during the off-season:
"That didn't mean he had to pick up everycroissant in France, did it?"
SIGN OF THE APOCALYPSE
Having sold the rights to their official start time tothe 7-Eleven store chain, the White Sox next year will begin weeknight homegames at 7:11.
Being green hasn't been easy for Michigan State, whichis 3--4 and winless in the Big Ten. But the Spartans' spirits rose when Kermitthe Frog visited a recent practice. The Muppet was on campus to serve as thegrand marshal of Michigan State's homecoming. He was a big hit, even if he didput a webbed foot in his mouth during the Spartans' loss to Illinois, which hadwon one Big Ten game in three years. During a second-quarter radio interview,with State trailing 7--3, Kermit beamed, "What a great game, huh?"