NBA'S POWER PLAYERS PROFILED; LABOR TALK HEATS UP
NBA Commissioner David Stern was profiled by Richard
Wilner in the N.Y. POST under the header, "Giving It His
Best Shot. NBA Commish's Job Is Filled With Big Bucks And
Big Headaches." Wilner: "[W]hy is the 55-year-old native
New Yorker, the man regarded as a master marketer and the
best of the sports league commissioners, so worried?"
Stern: "I call it positive stress. I come to work each day
as if the car is parked right next to the cliff, ready to
fall off. ... Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I'm
always worried about what is going to go wrong. I firmly
believe that if it ain't broke, fix it so it will be better"
(N.Y. POST, 11/16). Meanwhile, NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter
was profiled by Ian O'Connor of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS.
O'Connor: "[A]s the league spends the coming months deciding
whether to exercise its right to trash the current labor
agreement in pursuit of a sweeter pot, Stern had better
weigh the risks against the rewards. Hunter is the first
opponent worthy of the challenge." Hunter: "I know how to
brawl. ... I'm tenacious as hell. ... I'm going to be in
there fighting for these players" (DAILY NEWS, 11/16).
EARLY POSTURING: Hunter responded to comments made by
Stern that the NBA had more lucrative TV rights offers on
the table, but "all things being equal, the nod should go to
the people that brought you here." Hunter: "If teams are
suffering, why turn down a deal for more money? Why not
entertain possible better offers?" (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER,
11/16). Agent Marc Fleisher, on a potential lockout: "I
don't believe David Stern when he says they're going to opt
out of the deal." Fleisher said Hunter "is considerably
tougher" than former Exec Dir Simon Gourdine. Fleisher:
"I'm guessing (Stern) is going to be a lot happier with what
he got from Gourdine, who he had in is back pocket, than
what he'll get from Billy Hunter" (CHAR. OBSERVER, 11/16).