ATLANTA, Feb. 8 --Donít ever let anyone tell you that celebrity basketball games arenít entertaining. Iíve seen several of them, and I can tell you that whenever you get two teams of professional entertainers together, something wild will always happen.


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A lot of times, whatís most entertaining about the game is something besides the basketball, because, letís face it, a lot of those top stars donít have a lot of time to hone their games. But at the celebrity game at Jam Session on Friday night, they stacked the deck with celebrities that really know how to play. There simply were not a lot of missed shots. With All-Stars like Jermaine OíNeal and Antoine Walker looking on, stars like Justin Timberlake and Brian McKnight showed they have done a little work on their games. Country singer Tim McGraw showed he can drive to the hoop, as did superstar recording artist Nelly.

All the vocalists were helped by the fact that they were playing alongside some basketball professionals, like the Sacramento Monarchís Ticha Penichiero and the Indiana Feverís Nikki McCray. They were also helped by skilled coaching from TNTís Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley (who was spotted having dinner with Tiger Woods later in the evening). It was also a nice chance for 7-7 Manute Bol and 5-3 Muggsy Bogues to play together againóat one time, they teamed up to give Washington the tallest and shortest players in NBA history on the same squad.

For once, Muggsy was not the shortest player on his team. That honor went to tiny Jonathan Lipnicki, boy actor from the basketball film Like Mike, as well as Jerry Maguire, and others. To help the little guy drive through traffic in this competitive game, four of his teammates gathered around him, holding hands in a circle to protect him from the defense as he dribbled down the court. It almost worked, tooóhe got a good look at a shot that barely missed. He did score a basket later.

Magic Johnson, who was also on hand, said something to the effect that actors and singers all want to be basketball players while basketball players all want to be actors and singers. Certainly, the game proved the first part of his theory right. And in the backstage area after the game, Nikki McCray joined Nelly for an impromptu duet that certainly seemed to prove the second part of the Magicís theory true, too.

On Saturday morning a lot of the excitement was focused on the Read to Achieve celebration. Like any event about reading, there were a lot of authors there. Only these were some unusual authors, like Shaquille OíNeal (Shaq and the Beanstalk) and LL Cool J (And the Winner Is). It also feature a chance for Shaquille OíNeal and Yao Ming to get a photo together, although they were both hoping to be joined in that photo by Christina Aguilera who was on hand to perform, but it seems she split before they could make it happen.

The four young men of B2K did their best to make sweet harmony onstage performing their hit song ďBump Bump Bump,Ē but they didnít hesitate to disagree off the stage when they were asked which team is going to win the All-Star game tomorrow. ďEast,Ē said one, mentioning that Allen Iverson and Vince Carter are unstoppable. ďDefinitely West,Ē said another, dropping the names Shaq and Kobe. Time will tell whoís the wiser.