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          "Mired in a prolonged slump," sporting goods chains are
     hoping the return of the NBA season can "help spark a
     revival" in the $2.2B basketball shoe business, according to
     Richard Wilner of the N.Y. POST.  The Sports Authority VP/
     Merchandise Joe Chichelo: "These are very important weeks
     coming.  I hope the marquee shoes bring some life back into
     the basketball category."  Chichelo said "the non-marquee"
     basketball shoe priced over $90 has "not been performing as
     it once was."  Modell's Sporting Goods CEO Michael Modell:
     "The (Allen) Iverson shoe has been very popular and we will
     be keeping an eye on sales to see how the entire business is
     doing."  Wilner adds that "stores are so desperate to pull
     in crowds ... they are twisting the arms of sneaker makers
     for exclusive launch dates."  For example, a New York City
     Foot Locker will be the first to debut Fila's Grant Hill IV
     shoe on Saturday and Hill "will be on hand to pump [up] the
     volume of sales" (Richard Wilner, N.Y. POST, 10/30).

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NBA, The Sports Authority

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