SBD/8/Leagues Governing Bodies

NBA'S LABOR DAZE: IS BIRD EXEMPTION RUINOUS TO VETERANS?

          NBA veterans "have been duped by the superstars and
     their agents into thinking" that the "Larry Bird Exemption"
     was in the "best interest of all players," according to
     Dwight Jaynes of the Portland OREGONIAN.  Jaynes: "It isn't.
     And it will be interesting to see what will happen within
     the union if the vast, silent majority of players wakes up
     and understands that if the big stars don't have the ability
     to make $15 million per season, there will be more money for
     the rest of them."  But he wrote that the players are not
     "going to listen until they face one harsh reality: It's
     better to be working for a fair and, in fact, sizable wage
     than it is to be locked out of [a] job and earning nothing
     while in search of even more money" (OREGONIAN, 6/5).
          LOCKOUT WATCH: In Denver, Mike Monroe wrote that at a
     time "when the league should be reveling in its glorious
     fascination, everyone connected with the sport is holding
     his or her breath."  He wrote that a lockout "appears
     inevitable," and added, "Count on it."  NBA owners "felt
     strongly enough about fundamental change that they decided
     the risk" of re-opening the CBA "was worth it" (DENVER POST,
     6/7).  In Seattle, Steve Kelley, a self-professed NBA fan,
     wrote, "There is a growing public cynicism about the NBA; a
     belief among the ticket-buying public that the players and
     the owners have forgotten about the fans.  A work stoppage
     would feed that cynicism" (SEATTLE TIMES, 6/5). In St. Paul,
     Tom Powers wrote the NBA's image "is about to take a major
     hit ... all because of labor problems" (ST. PAUL PIONEER
     PRESS, 6/7).  In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell wrote that any NBA
     team employee who discusses labor issues faces a $1M fine by
     the league.  Bonnell, after attending the pre-draft camp in
     Chicago: "Everyone I spoke with is convinced there's no
     compromise in sight" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/7).  In San
     Antonio, Glenn Rogers on why the union and league can't
     reach a sensible financial solution: "What's lacking is any
     semblance of trust, on either side" (EXPRESS NEWS, 6/6).
          WORLD PARTY: The Spurs will play the Clippers on
     December 12 at Mexico City's Palacio de los Deportes.  OCESA
     Presenta will serve as the local promoter for the game (SAN
     ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS, 6/8). In France, the CHICAGO TRIBUNE's
     Philip Hersh wrote that soccer "remains the world's most
     popular sport, but basketball has made tremendous gains in
     the last decade, especially in Asia and Africa." In France,
     basketball "has become the most popular sport for many
     adolescents, especially in the poor suburbs of Paris that
     are home to many Arabs and black African immigrants"
     (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/7).  BLOOMBERG NEWS' Jerry Crasnick
     wrote under the header, "Could Baseball Benefit From Michael
     Jordan's Retirement?"  Andy Berlin, from N.Y. ad agency
     Berlin, Cameron & Partners: "Basketball has its act together
     more than the NFL or baseball.  It's a far more professional
     marketing organization.  Go to Kenya and you'll see people
     wearing Chicago Bulls shirts" (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 6/5).  
          NOTES: Heat President & Exec VP/Business Jay Cross: "We
     definitely would lose more money by playing next season than
     not playing" (MIAMI HERALD, 6/8).  In Akron, Chris Tomasson
     is writing a five-part series on the state of the NBA.  Part
     One on Sunday examined the "issues and problems facing the
     sport"; Part Two today looks at the "rising players
     salaries" (BEACON JOURNAL 6/7-9).  In Boston, Peter May:
     "Can it be true that the IRS is going to drop the hammer on
     as many as 15 referees after the playoffs?" (BOSTON GLOBE,
     6/7).  In Chicago, Sam Smith wrote of talk that the IRS
     "agreed to hold off until later this month indictments of a
     number of top" refs (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/7). 

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