I don't understand the incessant focus on the necessity of knowing about tawdry celebrities and interchangeable sports stars for conversation. Any mental real estate taken up by these ephemeral and essentially worthless persons will rapidly become dated when they die of overdoses or blow out their knees and are replaced by a new generation of idiots to gossip about. If you need to make small talk with someone (and this is itself questionable; any "social lubricant" function performed by chit-chat can also be achieved by discussing other topics), why not talk to people about themselves? That's everyone's favorite topic, and it has the bonus of allowing you to actually get to know the person instead of just what s/he thinks about Paris Hilton.
Then again, it's established that I just don't get sports.