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Volume 24 No. 160
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Names In The News

In N.Y., Vivien Schweitzer notes the opera "APPROACHING ALI," about Boxing HOFer MUHAMMAD ALI, "had its premier on Saturday at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre" in DC. The opera was "commissioned under the auspices of the Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative." It was inspired by "TAO OF MUHAMMAD ALI," a '97 memoir by DAVIS MILLER "about his friendship with the boxing legend." The opera "recounts how Mr. Miller, hoping for an autograph, knocks on the door of Mr. Ali’s mother’s house and is invited in for dinner." He "establishes a friendship with the fighter." Overall, the music "didn’t always serve the story, which would have benefited from more assertive vocal writing and greater harmonic tension" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/11)....Meanwhile, MIKE TYSON plans to "return to Broadway with a new show about his life." Tyson is in "talks to create a play 'based on his life' as 'his next step in theater.'" A source said that Tyson met with SPIKE LEE, "director of his one-man show, 'UNDISPUTED TRUTH.'" The source said that Tyson is "exploring bringing 'Undisputed' back to Broadway in the fall and embarking on an international tour" (N.Y. POST, 6/11)....Boxing promoter LOU DIBELLA and rapper 50 CENT have "acquired the rights" to the documentary "TAPIA" about late boxer JOHNNY TAPIA. The world premiere of the film will take place at the L.A. Film Festival on Saturday (, 6/10)

NOTES ON A SCANDAL: In Raleigh, Dan Kane reported the Univ. of North Carolina spent more than $500,000 over the past two years as "part of a public relations and communications effort" during the academic fraud scandal at the school. PR firm Fleishman-Hillard "received $367,000 for 22 months of work; DOUG SOSNIK, a political consultant who is also a National Basketball Association official, received $144,000 for 10 months work." UNC's privately-funded foundation is "picking up the tab." The "key message Sosnik wanted reinforced was that the scandal was in the past; the university had made reforms and would become stronger as a result" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 6/10).

TOP CAT: Univ. of Cincinnati basketball coach MICK CRONIN received a "raise of $100,000 in his base salary under the contract extension that was announced" on April 17, but his guaranteed annual compensation of $1.25M "remains unchanged from his previous contract." Cronin gets "$350,000 for his radio and television shows (up $50,000 over his previous contract) and $350,000 for public relations duties (also an increase of $50,000)." But his $150,000 from UC’s deal with adidas is $200,000 "less than what he received in the 2011 contract" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 6/11).

COURT REPORT: Lakers G KOBE BRYANT's parents have "apologized to him as part of the terms of settling the bicoastal lawsuits involving the sale of the basketball star's memorabilia at an auction." Instead of "selling more than 50 items consigned by his mother, the auction house will sell six, including some championship rings and two of Bryant's Lower Merion High School basketball uniforms" (, 6/11)....Yankees Managing General Partner & co-Chair HAL STEINBRENNER "barring a federal appeal ... won't have to repay $670,493.78" the IRS said that it "wrongly refunded after he and his wife amended a 2001 tax return" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 6/11)....Former D'Backs announcer MARK GRACE yesterday was released from his four-month term in Tent City (Ariz.) Jail stemming from a DUI charge (, 6/10)....Saints QB DREW BREES yesterday sued former Saints long snapper KEVIN HOUSER “for allegedly advising him to invest $160,000 in tax credits that turned out to be bogus.” The suit claims Houser, a “licensed securities broker, mishandled” Brees’ money and “failed to disclose his own financial interests in the investments he was promoting” (AP, 6/10)

CHARITY STRIPE: The Jim & Tabitha Furyk Foundation is "helping fund a program" for St. John's County, Fla., elementary school students to "learn about child abuse prevention, Internet safety and bullying" (, 6/8)....Yankees P CC SABATHIA yesterday was in Vallejo, Calif., with his wife AMBER “as part of their PitCCh In Foundation” to dedicate the Demetrius C. Davis Basketball Court. Davis was Sabathia’s older cousin, who “passed away suddenly of a heart attack last December at age 43” (NEWSDAY, 6/11)

NAMES: Tennis player SERENA WILLIAMS was “honored yesterday” at Marie Claire’s Women Taking the Lead luncheon at Marea restaurant in N.Y. Williams did not attend, as she was still in France after winning the French Open (N.Y. POST, 6/11)….Univ. of South Florida AD DOUG WOOLARD on Sunday announced Raymond James Financial Exec Chair THOMAS JAMES as the donor of $500,000 toward a new tennis facility (, 6/10)….Rapper JAY-Z on June 17 is “celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his famed 40/40 Club” with a “star-studded affair attended by” Yankees 2B ROBINSON CANO, Giants WR VICTOR CRUZ and Colts RB AHMAD BRADSHAW, among others (N.Y. POST, 6/11)….LINDA HOLLIDAY, the girlfriend of Patriots coach BILL BELICHICK, celebrated her 50th birthday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston over the weekend, with guests including Patriots Owner ROBERT KRAFT and his girlfriend, RICKI LANDER (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/11).