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SPORTS BEAT
January 27, 2003
Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is getting competition from his wife on the celebri-meter: Masha Lopatova is a budding pop star in Russia. She recently released an album, Maloveroyatno (which means "highly unlikely"), and saw the first single, Saharniy (which translates roughly to "sugary"), hit No. 1 on Russian MTV. The video follows a group of young Russians out for a night of partying in Moscow and is a loose chronicling of Lopatova's real-life breakup with Russian pop star Andrei Grigoriev. Kirilenko, 21, who is third in the league in field goal percentage, met Lopatova at a youth basketball camp in Moscow—he was an instructor, she was working p.r.—and he appears in the video, dancing at a club. "Not very good," says the 29-year-old Masha, who's the daughter of Andrei Lopatov, one of Russia's most famous basketball players. "I call him corner dancer. He moves like a robot."
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January 27, 2003

Sports Beat

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Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko is getting competition from his wife on the celebri-meter: Masha Lopatova is a budding pop star in Russia. She recently released an album, Maloveroyatno (which means "highly unlikely"), and saw the first single, Saharniy (which translates roughly to "sugary"), hit No. 1 on Russian MTV. The video follows a group of young Russians out for a night of partying in Moscow and is a loose chronicling of Lopatova's real-life breakup with Russian pop star Andrei Grigoriev. Kirilenko, 21, who is third in the league in field goal percentage, met Lopatova at a youth basketball camp in Moscow—he was an instructor, she was working p.r.—and he appears in the video, dancing at a club. "Not very good," says the 29-year-old Masha, who's the daughter of Andrei Lopatov, one of Russia's most famous basketball players. "I call him corner dancer. He moves like a robot."

•Mr. Me, meet Mr. Ming. Rockets center Yao Ming recently appeared in his first U.S. commercial. A spot for Apple Computer pairs the 7'5" Yao with the 2'8" Verne Troyer, best known as Mini-Me in the Austin Powers movies. In the ad Yao, sitting next to Troyer in an airplane, pulls out a PowerBook G4 notebook with a 12-inch screen. Troyer responds by pulling out a PowerBook with a 17-inch screen, on which he begins watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, causing Yao to look on in envy. "It was pretty' funny," says Yao. "But the process of making it was very tiring. I had to sit there with lights on my face. It felt like I was right up against the sun."

•Want to know what the Eagles and die Jets have in common besides having been bounced from the playoffs? Try a passing connection to one Tiffany Schmid, a 26-year-old swimsuit model and reality dating show regular. Last year Schmid got matched up with Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell and Jets offensive lineman Chris Smith on separate shows. In a May taping of TLC's A Dating Story, Schmid and Mitchell went via white limo to Great Adventure amusement park. The date ended in a kiss, but then Mitchell went on a sports radio show and said Schmid "wasn't drop-dead ugly" Says Schmid, "I called him up, cursed him out and haven't spoken to him since." A month later Schmid met Smith on Blind Date. The pair played a little two-hand touch in a park and fell hard for each other, dating until December, when Smith abruptly broke it off. What did Schmid learn from the experiences? That reality truly bites. "I want nothing to do with athletes ever again," she says.

•Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, had their first child on Sunday. Natalia Diamante Bryant, who arrived two weeks early, weighed six pounds, 14 ounces and was 19&-inches long. "I feel great," said Kobe before the Lakers Monday-night game against the Clippers. "I saw the whole thing and didn't pass out" Mother and baby also felt fine.... In Florida the word irregularities seems to go naturally with the word voting, which explains how Panthers center Olli Jokinen wound up with 18,765 votes for the NHL All-Star game—when he wasn't even on the ballot. Linda Hart, a forensic scientist from Miami, and Maryanne Darby of Cooper City, Fla., both members of the Panthers Booster Club, wrote him in those many times. "I have writer's cramp, among other things," says Hart. Last week an appreciative Jokinen met his two fans after a game and gave each an autographed stick.

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