SBJ/August 5 - 11, 2002/Labor Agents

Kreiter scouts new NBA contract, more deals for playground legend

Keith Kreiter, agent for Rafer Alston, is talking to video-game maker Sega and beverage companies about endorsement deals, at the same time he is talking to several NBA teams about the restricted free agent.

Alston, also known as "Skip to My Lou" for his playground play at Harlem's Rucker Park courts, has achieved a cult following, which has attracted potential endorsers, Kreiter said. Kreiter said he is reviewing a treatment for a movie that would tell Alston's life story.

But Alston thus far has not made as big a splash in the NBA. A high second-round pick by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998, he averaged just 12 minutes a game last season.

"We are trying to find a situation which will allow him to emerge as one of the hottest young point guards in the league," said Kreiter, president of Edge Sports International in Chicago, about his talks with teams.

Meanwhile, Jeff Roth, marketing director for And 1, said sales of Alston's signature shoe have taken off. "It hit Foot Action on June 22, and it has met and surpassed our expectations," Roth said.

Roth said Alston is as marketable as any NBA all-star. "In my opinion, kids can always respond to NBA all-stars," he said. "But with Skip, you have a playground star who made it into the league. It's every kid's dream."

WANG ZHIZHI HIRES SCHWARTZ: Wang Zhizhi, a restricted free-agent center who played for the Dallas Mavericks for two seasons, has hired NBA agent Jeff Schwartz to negotiate his next contract, sources said.

Wang and his former agent, Bill Duffy, decided to part ways earlier this year.

Schwartz, one of several agents to leave Artists Management Group after most of that company's assets were sold to The Firm, has formed Excel Sports Management.

ATLAS TO STAY WITH ESPN: Teddy Atlas, ESPN's lead boxing analyst, has agreed to re-sign with ESPN for four more years, a source said. Financial details were not available.

Atlas is represented by Gary Rosen, executive vice president of RLR Associates, a New York-based company that represents sports broadcasters.

LOFARO SIGNS TWO GOLFERS: Lofaro Sports Management has signed Buy.com Tour player Scott Sterling and Canadian PGA Tour player Ryan Dillion for representation.

Both golfers will be represented by Tom Lofaro, president of the Fullerton, Calif.-based company, which specializes in representing professional golfers.

ARBITRATOR APPOINTED FOR NBPA CASE: Charles Renfrew, former U.S. District Court judge for the Northern District of California, has been appointed to hear a grievance filed by the National Basketball Players Association against the NBA.

The players union is objecting to a policy by the NBA to withhold luxury tax and escrow tax funds the league collects from teams with high payrolls. Union chief Billy Hunter called the policy a double tax that violates the collective-bargaining agreement.

An NBA spokesman has said the NBPA's claim is without merit.

Contact Liz Mullen at lmullen@amcity.com with agent and labor news.

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