SBD/11/Leagues Governing Bodies

WEEKENDERS WEIGH NBA REALITY VS. STERN'S IMAGE-MAKING

     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).
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