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SBD/17/Leagues Governing Bodies
NBA'S POWER PLAYERS PROFILED; LABOR TALK HEATS UP
Published November 17, 1997
NBA Commissioner David Stern was profiled by Richard Wilner in the N.Y. POST under the header, "Giving It His Best Shot. NBA Commish's Job Is Filled With Big Bucks And Big Headaches." Wilner: "[W]hy is the 55-year-old native New Yorker, the man regarded as a master marketer and the best of the sports league commissioners, so worried?" Stern: "I call it positive stress. I come to work each day as if the car is parked right next to the cliff, ready to fall off. ... Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I'm always worried about what is going to go wrong. I firmly believe that if it ain't broke, fix it so it will be better" (N.Y. POST, 11/16). Meanwhile, NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter was profiled by Ian O'Connor of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. O'Connor: "[A]s the league spends the coming months deciding whether to exercise its right to trash the current labor agreement in pursuit of a sweeter pot, Stern had better weigh the risks against the rewards. Hunter is the first opponent worthy of the challenge." Hunter: "I know how to brawl. ... I'm tenacious as hell. ... I'm going to be in there fighting for these players" (DAILY NEWS, 11/16). EARLY POSTURING: Hunter responded to comments made by Stern that the NBA had more lucrative TV rights offers on the table, but "all things being equal, the nod should go to the people that brought you here." Hunter: "If teams are suffering, why turn down a deal for more money? Why not entertain possible better offers?" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/16). Agent Marc Fleisher, on a potential lockout: "I don't believe David Stern when he says they're going to opt out of the deal." Fleisher said Hunter "is considerably tougher" than former Exec Dir Simon Gourdine. Fleisher: "I'm guessing (Stern) is going to be a lot happier with what he got from Gourdine, who he had in is back pocket, than what he'll get from Billy Hunter" (CHAR. OBSERVER, 11/16).