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Volume 24 No. 156
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     Although the NBA season is over, the off-season -- when the
league's stars "are in demand as ad spokesmen" -- has just begun,
according to Jeff Jensen of ADVERTISING AGE.  Jensen surveyed
several sports marketers about the players that "will be shopping
themselves around this summer" and players were "assessed for
their long-term potential."  Highlights -- GRANT HILL:
Conventional Wisdom (CW) is up.  "He's the next Shaq, minus the
manufactured hype."  SHAQUILLE O'NEAL:  CW is up.  "As Shaq gets
better, he gets bigger, and his marketing clout grows. ...  Shaq
sometimes comes across as a marketing mercenary."  ANFERNEE
HARDAWAY:  CW is up.  Penny "has two big things going for him:
his game and Nike. ... One gripe: Smile, son!"  Reggie Miller: CW
is unclear.  HAKEEM OLAJUWON:  CW is unclear, but he could "be a
print ad darling."  DAVID ROBINSON:  CW is unclear.  "Get Nike to
give you more facetime."  CLYDE DREXLER:  CW is down.  "Could get
a quick hit, but has no marketing legs."  DENNIS RODMAN:  CW is
down.  "Unless he defuses himself, Mr. Rodman is an endorsement
bomb."  SCOTTIE PIPPEN:  CW is down. "Marketable?  Don't make us
laugh."  MICHAEL JORDAN: CW is down.  "Never thought we'd say
this, but Jordan needs to improve his game" (AD AGE ONLINE,
     DREAM ON:  Frank Vuono, one of Olajuwon's representatives,
told the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION's Ailene Voisin that he "expects to
finalize a number" of endorsement deals within the next several
weeks, with Coca-Cola among the possibilities.  Voisin is one of
the few writers to mention the break between Olajuwon and former
agent (and Shaq representative) Leonard Armato.  While Armato
"still handles pre-existing deals, the two apparently differed
philosophically, with Olajuwon embracing a more conservative
approach and acknowledging a higher comfort level with more
conventional products."  Vuono, a marketing consultant for
Integrated Sports Int'l, says that although Olajuwon "still
speaks in broken English," the positive exposure of the last two
NBA Finals have helped his marketability (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
6/18).  Olajuwon signature shoes, manufactured by Spalding, will
be available at the beginning of next season.  Hakeem Game 1 will
retail for $40-50 and run with the tagline "Finish Strong"
(HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 6/16).  This week's TIME profiles Olajuwon's
deals (TIME, 6/26).      FINALS WRAP-UP:  In Dallas, Kevin
Blackistone looks at the Reebok ads featuring mothers of NBA
players, and writes, "In the lives of these young men, fathers,
for the most part, didn't exist."  Reebok Basketball Marketing
Dir Dan Brown: "If we look at the market we are trying to sell
to, the trend setter is a 17-year-old African American who is in
the malls every week. ... Women in those households are generally
the sole provider" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/18).