SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies

MIKE LUPICA CALLS FOR SOME YOUNG GUNS TO BE LIKE MIKE

          The '97-98 NBA season is previewed by Mike Lupica in
     MEN'S JOURNAL.  Under the header, "Anyone But Mike," Lupica
     questions which, if any, of the NBA's young players are
     ready to carry the league's torch after Michael Jordan
     departs.  Lupica: "For some time now, the league has been
     hiding more garbage behind Jordan than Hollywood hid behind
     Harrison Ford in Air Force One.  Now let's find out if there
     really is life after Jordan.  ... [W]ithout Jordan , is
     there one player, above all others, who can get us to stay
     tuned?"  Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, Shaquille O'Neal and
     Kevin Garnett are noted as possible successors.  Hawks Coach
     Lenny Wilkens: "The league wants it to be Grant, I know that
     ... But ... I'm not sure if Grant can ever be that guy." 
     Wilkens "nominates" Hardaway: "He doesn't have just the
     game.  I believe he can have the personality, too."  TNT's
     Doc Rivers: "I believe Garnett might be the one to watch,
     just in terms of star quality."  Red Auerbach singles out
     O'Neal: "[H]e does have that smile."  Lupica writes that
     "[m]arketing is a sacrament in pro basketball" and that
     Hill, Hardaway, and O'Neal have been "marketed beautifully." 
     He adds that Jordan's coming retirement "doesn't mean we're
     moving up on some sort of October 1929 for the NBA ...
     Ratings are good, revenues are sky-high ... the sport is
     gaining popularity all over the world.  But nothing lasts
     forever" (MEN'S JOURNAL, 11/97 issue). 



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