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Volume 24 No. 155

Sports Society

     In last night's ESPN "Cover Story," Armen Keteyian reported
on the hot, young "futures market" of high school basketball
players and the "people who drive this bull market."  The biggest
"trading floors" for high school players are All-Star Camps where
sports agents, college coaches, scouts and even shoe companies
"all compete with (high school) coaches for influence and control
over the can't miss kids."  Barry Temkin, CHICAGO TRIBUNE's high
school basketball writer: "Everybody is trying to latch on to the
next hot star early, and become his friend.  It will enrich them
in a number of ways later."
     NIKE INVOLVEMENT?  Kevin Garnett, the No. 1 rated big man in
the country, left school in SC to play his senior year at
Farragut High School in Chicago.  According to Temkin, the
interstate transfer is "a whole different phenomenon, kids coming
from so far away, and that is where the connection comes in to
Nike events."  Nike held its annual High School All-Star event
just outside of Chicago, where they flew in Garnett and more than
100 other stars, in an all-expenses paid trip complete with free
Nike shoes, shirts, and other apparel.  It was at the camp where
Garnett met other Farragut players and coaches.  Garnett's
mother, Shirley Irby, admitted to flying to Chicago to scout high
schools at Nike's expense.  Irby:  "It doesn't bother me at all."
Garnett was not "the only 'can't miss kid' that failed to come
home from the Nike festival this summer."  The top rated small
forward in the nation, Ron Mercer, along with "two other stars,"
switched to play for their Nike Camp coach.  Frank Dubois,
Athletic Dir of Nike Camps:  "It bothered me that they did make
the move ... and they moved to a program who was involved in the
Nike program."  At Nike's HQ in Portland, OR, Keteyian posed the
question of Nike's "move into the sports agent business," and the
"need to find and sign, the next pop icon."  Nike Sports
Management President Terdema Ussery:  "I don't think it can
necessarily translate that a kid who is going to be wearing Nike
shoes in high school and college is going to be a Nike Sports
Management client."  Keteyian called those "hollow words to high
school educators and coaches who feel the future of their sport
is out of their hands, and into an honer system with precious
little honor and no national controls" ("SportsCenter," ESPN,