NBA PLAYERS' UNION LOOK TO PUT ITSELF BACK TOGETHER
After being on the opposite sides of the NBA's labor
dispute, NBPA VP Charles Smith and decertification leader Patrick
Ewing talked out their differences before starting another season
as Knicks teammates. Smith: "Now that we're back together, I
think we both realize that we're better in shorts and sneakers
than we are in suits and ties." Smith, rumored to be stepping
down as union VP now wants to succeed Buck Williams as NBPA
President (N.Y. TIMES, 10/7).
BUCK STOPS HERE? Williams, on the criticism he endured
during the dispute: "It made me a better person and strengthened
my character. I got experience and developed a sense of humor."
Williams also said he is severing his ties with agent David Falk,
who helped lead the decertification movement. Williams: "I have
one foot out the door, and I'm trying to get the other foot out."
Williams is in the final year of his Blazers contract and does
not know if he will return for next season (AP/SALT LAKE TRIBUNE,
BACK IN THE FOLD: Interviewed on the set of Michael
Jordan's new movie, "Space Jam," Jordan and Patrick Ewing were
asked by CBS' Pat O'Brien whether other NBA players understand
their position. Ewing: "We hope so. If they don't, so be it.
All we were trying to do was fight for everybody else. ... They
will see in a couple of years when people will be getting cut
because there is no room in the salary cap to sign them, and then
they will realize." Jordan: "From the public standpoint, you
know we have an easy job already. But it is a business, a major,
major business. We were trying to make the best business
decision for a lot of the players, and they made their choice at
the end and I live with that" ("CBS Sports Show," 10/7).
MORE LABOR WOES: The NBA and its locked-out referees return
to the bargaining table this week. Mike Mathis, the refs' lead
negotiator: "We're willing and wanting to talk and get back to
work." The NBA has offered a five-year deal with raises
averaging 6% a year (USA TODAY, 10/10). Fred