A bizarre court case involving Shaquille O'Neal was dismissed by a Los Angeles judge Tuesday. Music producer Robert Ross, who had worked with O'Neal but said the two had a business dispute, said he was kidnapped and beaten by gang members after claiming to have a sex tape of the former Celtic (he later testified that he never had such a tape). On Tuesday, the prosecution acknowledged "cause for concern" about the testimony of Ross — who has a lengthy criminal record — and decided not to continue.

Monday's big story in the sports world was Real Madrid's signing of Argentinian 7-year-old soccer prodigy Leonel Angel Coira, aka Leo. The boy will not be paid but will start training with the Spanish club's youth team in Madrid next month (the family moved to Spain three years ago). "[My] dream is to meet [Lionel] Messi, play in the first division with Madrid and for Argentina in the World Cup," Coira told the Spanish newspaper ABC.

The Blue Jackets, who have made the playoffs just once since joining the NHL in 2000, reportedly have lost about $53 million the past three seasons, including almost $25 million last year, according to The Columbus Dispatch. As part of a plan to make sure the team is not forced to leave Columbus, revenues from a new casino in the city might be used to boost the club's coffers. "It's high on my agenda to deal with it," Columbus mayor Michael B. Coleman said. "There should be an urgency to this issue."

Anyone who has seen video of summer league basketball could tell that it was only a matter of time before a confrontation erupted between a player and a fan. Fans at games ring the edges of the court and often walk onto the court after big plays to celebrate, frequently making contact with the players.

Charles Barkley is back in the news again for criticizing a high-profile athlete. This time, instead of picking on LeBron James or one of the Heat's other Big Three, he's going after Tiger Woods. Barkley said he has not spoken to his former friend in nearly two years, and Woods' firing of his caddie last month put the former NBA star over the edge. "Getting rid of Steve Williams was probably the last straw for me," Barkley said Wednesday on ESPN radio in New York. Added Barkley: "I'm confused [as] to where he's going."

Former Celtics guard Nate Robinson, who played a year of football at the University of Washington before deciding to focus on basketball, might get another shot on the gridiron during the NBA lockout. On Tuesday, Robinson traded tweets with Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who had tried to recruit Robinson to USC a decade ago. Robinson, now with the Thunder, wrote to Carroll: give me a chance and I'll prove it to you. The exchange ended with Carroll writing: see you at practice at 1:30. bring your cleats.

Voters on Long Island, who already have among the highest property taxes in the nation, rejected a proposal to borrow $400 million to build a new arena for the Islanders. Despite a low turnout that would seem to offer hope if enough Islanders supporters hit the polls, the proposal was rejected handily. "I'm disappointed," said Islanders owner Charles Wang, who has hinted the team might need to relocate if voters said no. "To put it bluntly, I'm heartbroken."

Kobe Bryant reportedly is unhappy that a Turkish team is making public its negotiations with him, and he is more likely to sign a deal to play in China during the NBA lockout. However, in response to interest from NBA players, the Chinese Basketball Association is said to be planning to institute two rules that would limit an influx of Americans. Meanwhile, Bryant participated in a celebrity soccer game in Washington hosted by Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra over the weekend, and we've got video.

The Cardinals traded outfielder Colby Rasmus to the Blue Jays on Wednesday, and that's fine with Rasmus' father, who tired of Cards manager Tony La Russa picking on his son. La Russa had claimed that Rasmus stopped listening to the coaches and implied he was going to his father for hitting advice. Responded Tony Rasmus, a high school coach in Alabama: "Evidently Tony has absolutely made that stuff up. He's got it on the brain. If I was working with my son I'd tell people. Tony needed pitching and wanted to force the GM into making a trade, so he belittled Colby to the fans."

Controversial Lakers star Ron Artest reportedly is considering an offer to appear on "Dancing With the Stars." Artest, who is in the process of changing his name to Metta World Peace, apparently is excited about joining the show, although the schedule might conflict with the early part of the NBA season should the work stoppage end.

Read more about that story and others, plus check out videos, trivia and more, at Thursday's Morning Mashup.