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  • HARRINGTON SAYS HE'S READY FOR THE NBA, NAMES AGENT TODAY

              NJ high school basketball player Al Harrington said
         Monday that he will skip college and make himself eligible
         for the NBA Draft, according to Michael Amsel of the ASBURY
         PARK PRESS.  Harrington, 18, said he reached the decision on
         Saturday after a "heated debate" with his mother, Mona
         Lawton, who wanted him to attend Seton Hall.  Harrington
         said he is going is to sign with an agent today, and Amsel
         writes that the "most likely choice appears to be Eric
         Fleischer," who handles Kevin Garnett and Stephon Marbury. 
         Harrington said he talked to Garnett for advice: "Kevin told
         me he is having the time of his life.  But he said, 'Be
         prepared to really work'" (ASBURY PARK PRESS, 5/12).
              DOES THE GAME SUFFER? In Philadelphia, John Smallwood
         writes under the header, "Child's Play Hurting Quality Of
         NBA Game."  He writes that the NBA's declining skill level
         "has become a serious problem," as today's young players
         lack the proper fundamentals, which "is visibly hurting the
         NBA product" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 5/12).
              BOBBY'S CAMEO: In Atlanta, Terence Moore questions why
         top college coaches like John Thompson, Roy Williams, Dean
         Smith and Bobby Cremins, among others, agreed to appear in
         Spike Lee's "He Got Game."  Moore: "What were they
         thinking?"  But he adds that Cremins and others may have
         been "ambushed" by Lee.  Cremins said that while at a camp
         in NJ last year, Lee came up to him and asked if he could
         shoot a scene for his movie.  Cremins: "I said sure, and my
         line was, 'I've seen Stephon Marbury and Kenny Anderson --
         but Jesus is better.'  Being Catholic, I felt bad about
         saying something about Jesus, but I just trusted Spike" 
         (Terence Moore, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 5/12).
    
    

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  • LEAGUE NOTES

              IRL: On SPEEDNET, Bill Koenig writes that for IRL team
         owners, the "hunt continues for sponsors."  While there has
         been an increase of sponsorship spending on the league
         level, teams are "hoping to see more spending at their
         level."  IEG estimates that IRL will draw $101M in
         sponsorships this year, not including Pep Boys' title
         sponsorship deal and Pepsi's deal as the Official Soft Drink
         of the IRL and IMS (Bill Koenig, SPEEDNET, 5/12).  IRL
         Founder Tony George, at the Indy 500 trials: "The league is
         coming into its own.  We're right where we should be.  We
         have had a record number of (Indy 500) entries because our
         equipment is affordable" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/11).   
              COULD NAFTA HELP HOCKEY? Toronto trade lawyer Barry
         Appleton is scheduled to appear today before the House of
         Commons subcommittee studying sport in Canada and will argue
         that NAFTA can be applied to assist Canadian NHL franchises
         (OTTAWA CITIZEN, 5/12).  But Dexter Bishop, spokesperson for
         Canada's Dept. of Foreign Affairs and Int'l Trade, said
         "NAFTA looks after goods, services and investment, not
         sports" (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 5/12)....The ECHL has awarded
         its '99 All-Star Game and Skills Competition to the MS Sea
         Wolves.  The events will be held January 12 and January 13
         at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum (ECHL). 
              GIANTS EXEC DISPUTES BORAS: MLB Giants Assistant GM Ned
         Colletti yesterday denied that he had made any monetary
         "offer or pledge" to J.D. Drew before last June's amateur
         draft.  Drew's agent, Scott Boras, has testified that the
         Giants were one of the teams that had contacted him and made
         overtures about Drew (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 5/12).
    
    

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  • LOBO BELIEVES TIME IS RIGHT FOR WNBA PLAYERS TO FORM UNION

              During media day for the WNBA Liberty yesterday at the
         Reebok Club in Manhattan, Rebecca Lobo expressed hope that a
         players' union would soon be formed, according to Ackert &
         Garcia of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS.  Lobo: "We don't need it to
         demand million-dollar salaries like the NBA, but we need it
         for the little reasons.  We need it to make sure the lowest
         players are paid a little more than $5,000 a year and guard
         against agents.  Right now we don't have anyone to certify
         agents" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/12).  Lobo added that "many" of
         the players' two-year contracts will expire after this year,
         making the time ripe to unionize.  WNBA President Val
         Ackerman said the unionization process "is a player
         decision.  The whole issue and when is a good time is
         entirely up to the players.  Our approach would be to try to
         be constructive" (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 5/12).  
              TICKET SALES: At media day, the Liberty said they have
         sold more than 5,500 season tickets, with pre-season set to
         start in 19 days on May 31 (N.Y. POST, 5/12).
         
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Leagues and Governing Bodies, NBA, New York Liberty, Reebok, WNBA
  • MLB INTERNATIONAL: ALL-STARS HEAD TO LAND OF RISING SUN

              A team of MLB All-Stars will travel to Japan this
         November to play a series of games against Japanese teams.
         The '98 tour will consist of eight games played between
         November 6-15 in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Osaka, Japan.  MLB All-
         Stars will play seven games against a team of Japanese All-
         Stars, and play one against the Yomiuri Giants.  All games
         will be broadcast live in Japan on Nippon TV.  The MLB All-
         Star participants will be announced later this summer.  The
         MLB team toured Japan most recently in '96 (MLB).
              TELL IT TO THE KING: Acting MLB Commissioner Bud Selig
         had no comment regarding a report on Monday by Larry King
         that Selig would be named permanent commissioner by year's
         end.  Selig: "I have made my feelings very well-known for
         six years" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 5/12).
         
    

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  • NFL NEWS & NOTES: OVITZ'S L.A. BID FRAUGHT WITH OBSTACLES?

              Michael Ovitz's bid for an NFL team in L.A. was
         examined by CNN's Casey Wian on "Moneyline."  Sports
         management consultant David Carter: "Michael Ovitz brings
         three major things to the table that the NFL likes ...
         political savvy, business connections and a tremendous
         amount of money.  His war chest of $750 million, when
         combined with his connections here locally, make him a very
         formative player."  Ovitz declined to comment for CNN.  Wian
         added that Ovitz "also faces formidable obstacles,
         environmental problems, for one," and the presence of the
         L.A. Coliseum which has its own proposal for a renovated
         stadium with luxury boxes.  L.A. City Councilmember Mark
         Ridley-Thomas, on the New Coliseum Partners: "We are
         cheaper.  We can build it quicker. ... We're the game in
         town to beat, and as near as I can tell, no one has put
         together the wherewithal to do that" ("Moneyline," 5/11).
              UNION BOSS: NFLPA Exec Dir Gene Upshaw is featured in a
         Q&A by USA TODAY's Jarrett Bell, who writes, "Yes, these are
         good times for Upshaw, who has survived harsh criticism,
         skepticism and even dissent within the ranks to sustain his
         position longer than any current players' union chief." 
         Upshaw says the NFLPA is now "worth more than" $70M, and its
         Players Inc arm has "become worth more than" $30M in three
         years.  Upshaw said that over the past five or six years the
         union has worked with the league "to do what's best for the
         game.  For once, we all understand that it's not a
         competition between the players and the owners, that the
         other sports are the real competition" (USA TODAY, 5/12).
              AGENT TO SUE? MA-based agent Jack Mula is "considering"
         suing the NFL to change its rules which prohibits a college
         player from taking part in minicamp until his class has
         graduated -- even if the player has completed his degree
         requirements.  Mula said the rule hurts late-round draft
         picks and free agents who "have to get to camp and show what
         they can do right away" (Nick Cafardo, BOSTON GLOBE, 5/12).
    
    

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