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ESPN'S ALDRIDGE SAYS 85% OF NBA PLAYERS OK DECERTIFICATION
Published May 15, 1998
The NBA player agents advisory group that has been working with the NBPA met in N.Y. last Friday and "received an ominous report," according to ESPN's David Aldridge. Agents "were told the union has acquired the signatures of 85% of all players authorizing the union to decertify if talks with the league break down." Decertification would "force the league to deal independently with each player and leave the league vulnerable to lawsuits." Aldridge adds that the union "appears much stronger" than it was in '95 and sources say that the Jazz "have come around after being one of the strongest anti-union" teams during the previous labor negotiations. Aldridge: "Sources indicate that nine of the Utah players have signed the decertification agreement, and one of those nine is Karl Malone, who has never been a supporter of the union in past years. Malone declined to comment" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/14). In Chicago, Steve Rosenbloom: "[T]his spat will be settled by two different groups: the wives of NBA players and the mothers of their children" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/15). A MILLION REASONS: The NBA announced a 7.1% increase in average per-game '98 playoff attendance over last year. Through the '98 Conference Semifinals, 1,058,257 attended 54 games for an average of 19,597 per game. In '97, 1,006,694 attended 55 games for an average of 18,303 per game (NBA).