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Volume 24 No. 158
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     In a piece as current as today's news, the second
installment of HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" features a
report on the influence of agents over their athletes.  While
none of the athletes profiled in James Brown's story are NBA
stars, the controversy over the role of several high-profile
agents in the push for decertification of the NBPA is noted in
interviews of NBPA Exec Dir Simon Gourdine and Reggie Miller by
Gumbel.  Gourdine tells Gumbel of the provisions in the proposed
CBA which would have an "adverse financial impact" on agents, and
tabs that as a key reason for their activism.  Miller, on the
other hand, puts the number of NBA players signing
decertification notices at "more than 250," adding that it is the
players, not the agents, who have stood up.  Asked if the show
takes a position on the role of agents in sports, HBO Sports Exec
Producer Ross Greenburg said, "If we're saying anything, or
advocating anything, it's that people [should] get their heads
out of the sand and understand that in this world of sports
agents are getting an ever-increasing amount of power."  Asked
about the NBA situation, James Brown expressed "amazement" at the
number of veterans "leading the charge" for decertification.
Brown:  "So, there really must be something to it. ... I would
tend to sway on the side of the players if only because of the
number of veteran players who are leading this effort."
     ALSO:  "Real Sports," which airs July 31, also examines
medical practices in the NFL, profiles Phillies star Lenny
Dykstra, and offers a retrospective on the career of Howard
Cosell.  Greenburg said that HBO is sticking to their original
plan of airing four editions of "Real Sports" this year, with the
hope that it will become monthly.  Greenburg:  "We just have to
see internally whether that will work for HBO.  Our vision is to
really expand this franchise we are building."  The next "Real
Sports" will air October 31, with the fourth in December (THE