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Volume 24 No. 159
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     In yesterday's media teleconference, NBA Commissioner David
Stern said a deal is the best way to protect the NBA's sponsors
and the league's continued growth.  Stern:  "We are absolutely,
flat-out poised for extraordinary growth.  The recent Disney
acquisition of ABC, with a reference to the importance of ESPN;
the fact that an NBC would sort of step up and make its statement
by acquiring a sports property such as the Olympics; the fact
that CBS further cements its growth by focusing on NCAA
basetball; the fact that the Fox network focuses on the NFL and
hockey to improve its status; this all speaks well for enormous
potential growth of our league.  And we think the best way to
come up with a collective bargaining agreement is to promise
player and owner alike that they will share in that growth.
That's why we reached out to the players with the second deal and
that's the soft message, in effect, that we're sending both to
our sponsors and our players.  We understand both the opportunity
and the risk and we'd like to take advantage of the opportunity
and avoid the risk" (THE DAILY).
     ARMATO ON "MONEYLINE":  Leonard Armato, agent to Shaquille
O'Neal, on CNN last night:  "A lot of people don't understand
just how important it is to companies involved in the sport to be
able to plan their marketing themes.  And what happens sometimes
when there's labor unrest is that those companies start to get a
little nervous, and that tends to take money out of the sport.
Basketball has been such a fast growing sport and captured the
imaginations of fans and sponsors and people all over the world,
I think it's dangerous to mess with that right now --
particularly in light of the most recent round of labor
negotiations.  So, right now before I have analyzed in full
detail the proposals that are on the table, my initial indication
is that it is best for all to simply settle their differences in
connection with the current agreement" (CNN, 8/16).