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SBD/9/Leagues Governing Bodies
MIKE LUPICA CALLS FOR SOME YOUNG GUNS TO BE LIKE MIKE
Published October 9, 1997
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).