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NBA'S CBA PLAYERS TALK THE TALK WITH NBC'S PETER VECSEY
Published May 27, 1998
The NBA's CBA negotiations were examined on "NBA Showtime" on Sunday by NBC's Peter Vecsey, who spoke with NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik, agent David Falk, NBPA President Patrick Ewing and NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter. Falk: "I think if you lock the players out, you risk losing the fans for the next four or five years and creating Major League Baseball." Granik, asked why a new deal would be better from '95, since the same people are doing the negotiating: "Well, you know, hopefully we can be a little smarter this time." Ewing, on a hard cap: "We as players, we're not going to go for a hard cap because it will be too restrictive." Vecsey: "In any way, shape or form?" Ewing: "In any way, shape or form." Hunter appeared live from Oakland and said that the NBPA is currently awaiting a second counter offer from the NBA: "I think [the NBA] will admit to you that they were rather surprised at the offer that I put on the table from the get go. It was a creative offer, it was a substantive offer, and an offer that's generally not made that early in negotiations. But I came to the negotiations with the intent on trying to reach an agreement, and I put forth what I thought to be a substantive offer -- one that the owners could in fact either live with or attempt to negotiate over." After his report, Vecsey said he believed that no games will be lost to a lockout next season: "I don't think they're going to miss a beat. I really don't" ("NBA Showtime," NBC, 5/24). REAX TO NBC REPORT: USA TODAY's Rudy Martzke wrote that NBC "devoted too much attention to viewer-turnoff league labor problems" (USA TODAY, 5/26). But in Baltimore, Milton Kent wrote that NBC's report on the CBA negotiations "was a welcome change from the normal" (Baltimore SUN, 5/26). MORE CBA: In Denver, Todd Phipers on NBC's report: "Bottom-line summation: There still are major differences to be settled" between the two sides (DENVER POST, 5/26). In L.A., Mark Heisler wrote, "There is suspicion that [David] Stern won't reveal his proposal until bargaining starts in earnest, this summer, after the lockout" (L.A. TIMES, 5/24). A SOCIAL PHENOM: Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Halberstam is writing a book on Michael Jordan scheduled for a November release. Halberstam, whose other NBA book, "The Breaks Of The Game," chronicled the '79-80 Trail Blazers, said his new book will explore "what made him not just a great player but a phenomenon, a social phenomenon that transcends basketball, transcends sports and transcends national boundaries. How that happened is intriguing" (N.Y. POST, 5/25). Halberstam: "It's mostly about Michael, but also, in the background, are the changes in the league -- the world of chartered jets and bodyguards and $10 million, $20 million salaries" (ROCKY MOUNTAIN NEWS, 5/24).