STAR WEEKEND - STERN OPENS ALL-STAR WEEKEND WITH STATE OF THE GAME ADDRESS
In his annual State of the Game Address, delivered Friday as
NBA All-Star Weekend kicked off in Phoenix, NBA Commissioner
David Stern announced that the winner of the 1995 Finals would
participate in an international tournament in London in October
and that the players and owners had settled on the "parameters"
of an agreement on a new CBA.
MCDONALD'S CHAMPIONSHIP: Stern and FIBA Secretary General
Borislav Stankovic announced that the NBA Champion would
participate in the 1995 McDonald's Championship, to be held
October 19-21 in London. The entrants in the tournament will
include the champions of the English Basketball League and
Australia's National Basketball League, as well as the winner of
Europe's Final Four. Two other European teams will round out the
final six. McDonald's Senior Exec VP of Marketing Paul Schrage:
"As the founding sponsor of this tournament, McDonald's has
always shared a vision with the NBA and FIBA that the event would
one day become the world's basketball championship. And today we
are realizing that dream" (NBA/McDonald's). BACK HOME: On
domestic issues, Stern addressed the negotiations over a new CBA
with the NBPA. Stern: "Watching the other guys [MLB, NHL]
caused us to appreciate the relationship that we have with our
players. We're banging away pretty hard, and sometimes it gets
pretty loud. But when the owners say to the players, 'You're
entitled to the majority of the revenues,' and when the players
say back to the owners, 'You're entitled to make a return on your
investment,' then you've got the real parameters of a deal. Then
you're talking about how you're going to divide up somewhere
between a billion and a billion-and-a-half dollars" (Lee
Shappell, ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 2/10). Until the issues are
resolved, "the threat of a work stoppage will loom like an anvil
over the heads of the owners and players" (Shaun Powell, N.Y.
NEWSDAY, 2/12). Stern, on TNT's "All Star Friday": "We're
having some very intense discussions with the players, we've
given them every bit of economic data, they have complete
information" (TNT, 2/10).
IMAGE: Stern also the "renegade behavior among some"
players: "We have 350 or so players, and in the balance, I'd say
they are consummate professionals" (Shawn Powell, NEWSDAY, 2/12).
But Karl Malone said the NBA is to blame: "They are the ones who
created this monster. ... They go out and promote all the
craziness, all the yelling and screaming and taunting. Well, now
they've gotten what they deserved, and it's their job to go out
and change it. And they better hurry" (Jackie MacMullen, BOSTON
REAX: "It was hard" for Stern to "paint his typically rosy
picture" of the league, according to Anthony Cotten of the
WASHINGTON POST. "Normally a master of spin control, Stern's
answers ranged from monosyllabic to near-confrontational"
(WASHINGTON POST, 2/11). With the Vernon Maxwell incident, the
slow labor talks and the criticism of some of the league's stars,
Stern went "global," writes Ailene Voisin (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
2/11). The NBA "appears just too pleased with itself,"
according to Bernie Lincicome (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/12).