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Volume 24 No. 115
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     The NBA season starts in less than two weeks, and with the
absence of hockey and starving baseball fans stuffed with
football, the league finds itself in the enviable position of
being one of the only games in town.  This gives the NBA's
younger players an opportunity to showcase their playmaking and
marketing talents to fans and sponsors alike.     In an exclusive
survey, THE SPORTS BUSINESS DAILY asked twenty of the top
professionals in sports to offer their short list of hot, young
players to keep an eye on.  The question posed to all:  "With
exception of Shaquille O'Neal, who are the top young, marketable
athletes in the NBA?"
     Seth Sylvan, assistant director of public relations at NBA
Entertainment, sees the NBA's top stars split into three groups:
The veteran stars in search of a championship ring; a middle
group of regional stars searching for wider national appeal; and
the top picks of the past two years.    But THE SPORTS BUSINESS
DAILY's marketability survey  finds it's the young guns who are
attracting the attention among the key industry executives
     1.   Grant Hill, Detroit Pistons (rookie)
     2.   Chris Webber, Golden State Warriors
     3.   Penny Hardaway, Orlando Magic
tie- 4.   Shawn Kemp, Seattle Supersonics
          Glenn Robinson, Milwaukee Bucks (rookie)
tie- 5.   Charlie Ward, New York Knicks (rookie)
          Alonzo Mourning, Charlotte Hornets
     GRANT HILL:  The Pistons rookie was the runaway choice for
the top spot.  Hill was mentioned by seventeen of the twenty
surveyed -- and eight of those seventeen rated him No. 1 overall.
Among the key factors contributing to his potential ascendance:
His personality; Detroit's status as a "basketball-crazy" city;
and, his exposure during his college days at Duke.  Chris
Bernucca, Senior Editor at INSIDE BASKETBALL, called Hill "one guy
you could build the league around. ... He reminds me of a Julius
Erving."  Mike Levine, director of marketing at Athletes and
Artists:  "Women like him and men respect him. ... He speaks well
and is very bright, and everyone knows he can play."
     CHRIS WEBBER:  Webber was a strong second to Hill.  He was
mentioned by thirteen respondents, and over half of those placed
him in their top two.  Like Hill, Webber's articulate manner and
the national exposure he gained from two Final Four appearances at
Michigan make him an attractive candidate for top endorsements.
And winning the 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year Award hasn't hurt,
either.  One sports marketing exec at a major corporate sponsor
notes Webber's "likeable personality" and gives him high marks for
the way he handled the "time-out controversy" of the '93 NCAA
     BIG DOG, SMALL BITE?  Many of the respondents were hesitant
about 1994 No. 1 draft pick GLENN ROBINSON, with several noting
that he hurts himself the longer he holds out.  In fact, even
among those who mentioned Robinson, four specifically cited his
$100 million contract demand as a threat to his marketing
     THE BEST OF THE REST:  Dave Lewis, managing editor of SLAM
magazine, calls our No. 3, PENNY HARDAWAY, the "closest thing to
Magic Johnson."  One exec at a top representation firm says SHAWN
KEMP has "megastar potential."  CHARLIE WARD is called the
"sleeper" of the bunch by several respondents because of his two-
sport talents and the New York factor.  BOBBY HURLEY did not crack
the Top Five, but the potential is there for a great story if he
can return from his injuries.
interviewed twenty sports marketing, media and advertising
professionals over the last 10 days.  Those surveyed were chosen
on the basis of their experience and expertise in sports marketing
or athlete endorsements; their company's role as a top sponsor of
sporting events; or their close work with the NBA -- as
journalists or licensees.  In no way do we make any claims about
the scientific validity of this survey.  Rather, it represents a
quick read of the industry's pulse.