Putting Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal on different teams on different coasts has done nothing to lessen the animosity between the former Los Angeles Lakers teammates. If anything, the feud is escalating.
Yesterday, O'Neal dismissed as "ridiculous" Bryant's supposed allegations that O'Neal had paid up to $1 million in hush money to various women and then took his own shot by saying, "I'm not the one buying love."
O'Neal made the remark over the telephone to a staffer at ESPN, the network said, after the Los Angeles Times quoted a police report as saying Bryant told detectives in Eagle, Colo., he "should have done what Shaq does . . . that Shaq would pay his women not to say anything" and already had paid up to $1 million "for situations like this."
"This whole situation is ridiculous," O'Neal told ESPN. "I never hang out with Kobe, I never hung around him. In the seven or eight years we were together, we were never together. So how this guy can think he knows anything about me or my business is funny. And one last thing: I'm not the one buying love. He's the one buying love."
* COURTS: A lawsuit accusing the University of Colorado of doing too little to prevent sexual harassment of women will go to trial in May, a judge said after the plaintiff agreed to drop new allegations.
* TRACK: Thomas Springstein, the coach of several German world and Olympic champions, is under investigation for providing a banned steroid to at least one athlete.
* HORSE RACING: Peace Rules has been retired after a slight injury to the colt's left front leg was discovered during training for Saturday's $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.
* TENNIS: Second-seeded Andy Roddick needed less than an hour to defeat Britain's Arvind Parmar, 6-1, 6-4, and advance to the second round of the Thailand Open in Bangkok.
* SOCCER: In Pittsburgh, Abby Wambach had a goal and an assist as the U.S. women's national soccer team beat Iceland, 3-0, in the second game of its 10-game Olympic gold medal victory tour.
* WEIGHTLIFTING: Indian sports officials have issued lifetime bans to three female weightlifters and the sport's top coach after the athletes tested positive for banned drugs at international competitions, including the Athens Olympics.
-- From News Services