SBD/8/Sports Media

AIR VS. SHAQ: THE NBA, NBC AND TURNER DREAM MATCHUP

     The match-up of the Bulls and Magic in the NBA playoffs'
second round was the focus of much media attention over the
weekend, especially after the Hornets' Alonzo Mourning criticized
the officiating as favoring Michael Jordan.  After losing the
series to the Bulls, Mourning said the "NBA got what it wanted"
(Mult., 5/6).
     MEDIA REAX:  In Boston, Bob Ryan writes that "the NBA and
its television allies have distorted the game.  Marketing the
product line is one thing, but marketing a segment of the product
at the expense of the game's core is another matter" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 5/7).  In New York, William Rhoden writes on the NBA's
"double standard," adding that the NBA has taken the concept of
favoring individual superstars "to a completely new level" (N.Y.
TIMES, 5/7).  ESPN's Dan Patrick, opn Sunday's Bulls-Magic game:
"Nike verses Reebok, Gatorade verses Pepsi, Michael verses Shaq.
The matchup promises to be a commercial success" ("SportsCenter,"
ESPN, 5/7).  The N.Y. TIMES previewed the series by writing the
"battle of the network stars comes down to two American
commercial icons before it comes down to two of the NBA's premier
teams" (Mike Wise, N.Y. TIMES, 5/7).  USA TODAY reports that
"advertisers cheer" the matchup (USA TODAY, 5/8).  In Washington,
Michael Wilbon writes, "Hopefully, the quality of play will
justofy the jersey and sneaker sales" (WASHINGTON POST, 5/7).
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