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Inqlings: Brand to make his debut tonight

Elton Brand's first Philly hoops match will be tonight's 12th annual Charlie Mack celebrity basketball game at the Liacouras Center.

Robert Gossett of TNT's "The Closer" gets close to WDAS's Lehronda Upshur. He met fans Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton.
Robert Gossett of TNT's "The Closer" gets close to WDAS's Lehronda Upshur. He met fans Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton.Read more

Elton Brand

's first Philly hoops match will be tonight's 12th annual

Charlie Mack

celebrity basketball game at the Liacouras Center.

How did Mack, the impresario with deep ties in the sports and entertainment worlds, land the new $82 million Sixer?

Think clippers - the salon kind, not his former team.

"It's a funny story," Brand told me Friday. He got bumped from his appointment at Shizz's barbershop in Los Angeles, "and I never get bumped. I said, 'Who's this guy getting me bumped from the barber chair? He must be important.' He comes up and introduces himself, and it's Charlie Mack.

"Now I see why I got bumped. I've heard only positive things about him. We started going back and forth by e-mail, and when I started considering the Sixers, I thought it might be a real possibility that I'd be in for the game."

Among those due to play are Rudy Gay, Louis Williams, Cuttino Mobley and Doug Overton.

With a five-year deal in hand, Brand and his wife of two years, Shahara, are house-hunting on the Main Line. They'll need space, as they're expecting their first child around Oct. 22, Brand says - quickly adding that the due date falls in preseason.

Brand says he might well be interested in Sixer alum Allen Iverson's estate in Villanova, which might well be on the market still; last asking price was $5.8 million. (Chanel Overton, wife of Doug Overton, had the listing, which expired June 30.) The Brands just put their three-bedroom, 31/2-bath house in the Hollywood Hills up for sale for a shade under $5 million.

The Mack charity game, launched as an idea of childhood buddies Will Smith and Mack (Charles Alston), is working this year with the Radnor Trust Co., where Marla Green is president of corporate philanthropy. Mack and Green are trying to start the American Health and Education Foundation, aimed at helping underserved youths.

The media watch

NBC10 anchor

Vince DeMentri

, questioned by his station over vandalism to the car of colleague

Lori Delgado

, obtained legal assistance:

Paul R. Rosen

of Spector Gadon & Rosen, who is representing

Alycia Lane

in her civil suit against CBS. Rosen said the allegations were "much ado about nothing." DeMentri, on vacation last week, is due at work tomorrow.

Eddystone private eye Faith Rector will get a makeover for her 30th high school reunion (Neshaminy) on Tuesday's Live With Regis & Kelly (9 a.m., 6ABC).

Whither Smerconish?

Will Philadelphians have talk-show host

Michael Smerconish

to kick around next year? His WPHT (1210) contract expires Dec. 31, and it's no secret he wants to play on a bigger and more visible stage, TV. Smerconish, a regular radio fill-in for

Bill O'Reilly

, contributor to MSNBC's

Race for the White House


David Gregory

, and TV sub for

Chris Matthews


Glenn Beck


Dan Abrams

, signed a one-year exclusive TV deal with MSNBC on Thursday. His radio work will be unaffected, he says. As for his future with the Big Talker: "I'm looking forward to working with [station manager]

Marc Rayfield

for a long time. He's a friend and neighbor," Smerconish says. Smerconish will work with newsman

Larry Kane

(KYW Newsradio and CN8) on the Democratic and Republican conventions. One of Smerconish's favorite stories is how he was a starstruck teenager when he delivered chlorine to Kane's house. This work, therefore, will be what you might call pool coverage.

Wing Bowl snub costs WIP

The Federal Communications Commission has upheld a $4,000 fine against WIP (610) over the 2005 Wing Bowl.

Arnie Chapman

of Long Island, N.Y., had qualified for the spectacle by eating 28 clementines but was bounced because he runs the Association of Independent Competitive Eaters, a smaller rival of the International Federation of Competitive Eating, which sanctions Wing Bowl. The FCC found that WIP didn't announce contest terms, which now exclude AICE eaters. Lawyers for parent company CBS told the FCC that Chapman had been disqualified in part because he did not reside in the station's listening area - a curious assertion since

Sonya Thomas

of Virginia came within a bone of beating winner

Bill "El Wingador" Simmons

that year. A CBS spokeswoman had no comment on the ruling.

Radio activity

WBEB (101.1) will revamp its morning show tomorrow, bringing in

Michael Chew

from Milwaukee to pair with

Tiffany Hill

. Cohost

Samantha Layne

- tired of her commute to Bala Cynwyd - will return to Allentown's WODE (99.9). To prove that Layne's departure is amiable, all three will be on together through July 22.

B101 owner Jerry Lee was in England last month for the dedication of the Jerry Lee Centre for Experimental Criminology at Cambridge University. Lee also founded the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at Penn in 2001.

Speculation abounds that Opie & Anthony, who did two tours of duty on WYSP (94.1), will return to the rock station for mornings. Not so, says a WYSP source.

The circuit

The actor's life requires sacrifice. But to be homeless? Cherry Hill's

Sara Braslow

- dance captain for the road company of the musical

Mamma Mia

, opening Tuesday at the Academy of Music - gave up her New York apartment two years ago, six months into the job. She, actor-husband

Don Daniels

, and their Australian shepherd, Piper, live wherever the show is. Daniels travels for acting jobs. Braslow says there's no end in sight; the show is still booking into 2010. During

Mamma Mia

's two weeks in town, they'll bunk with her parents,

Alan and Elaine Braslow


Bassett's ice cream has just released a flavor known as the WHYY Experience, a blend of vanilla ice cream, chocolate-covered pretzel pieces, and butterscotch. (And it won't melt during pledge breaks.) It was nominated by Sean O'Halloran of Oreland. A portion of sales will go toward the public station.

Director-writer Kevin Smith will be guest of honor at an Aug. 9 retrospective at Resorts Atlantic City during the inaugural Downbeach Film Festival. The Jersey guy behind Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Dogma, Chasing Amy and Clerks (and Jersey Girl) will talk and do a Q&A. He'll also get the Lifeguard Award for lifetime achievement to date. Tickets are $60.

R. Kelly has been in town to record at the Studio. He was spotted sipping tea at the Four Seasons over July Fourth weekend and delighting shoe clerks at Macy's during a hunt for sneakers; he settled on a pair of Pumas knocked down to $37.