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WEEKENDERS WEIGH NBA REALITY VS. STERN'S IMAGE-MAKING
Published October 11, 1994
In Boston, Jackie MacMullan credits NBA Commissioner David Stern with a "public relations coup" for declaring he has no plans for a lockout: "'Easy Dave' can't lose. If the players strike, he'll 'aw shucks' his way into our living room every night, pleading for his players to return for the good of the game. If they don't strike, he'll continue to hammer out what he wants privately, while publicly the game continue, the revenue keeps pouring in, and the NBA is held up again as the model in professional sports" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/9). But one Western Conference owner says: "There's a real good chance the NBA will be in the same situation as hockey." Another owner: "I don't see us opening the season without a deal." Mitch Lawrence writes that the "problem" for Stern is that he has to deal with NBA Exec Dir Charles Grantham -- the "X factor, and a seemingly dangerous one at that." Lawrence adds, "Some people who have been around Grantham get the distinct impression that he wants to carve out his place in history, as the man who forced the NBA to change its system" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/9). On ESPN's "Sports Reporters," Mike Lupica noted the contracts going to NBA 1st round picks: "When these sorts of dollars and these sorts of figures begin to dominate the coverage of your sport, you better believe that your sport is headed towards trouble. And I believe the [NBA] is. ... Stern's always very lucky. There seems to be some crisis all the time in another sport, so he can look like a hero when he really is not" (ESPN, 10/9).