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Volume 24 No. 155
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          NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter said that Warriors officials
     have told him that "some sort of olive branch might be
     extended or the door might be left ajar somewhat to give us
     the opportunity to work something out" regarding Latrell
     Sprewell's contract termination and one-year suspension,
     according to Chris Sheridan of the AP.  Hunter said he had
     not spoken to NBA Commissioner David Stern, and NBA
     VP/Communications Brian McIntyre said he hadn't "heard
     anything about it (a compromise)" (AP/DETROIT NEWS, 12/11).
          ROUNDABOUT: Charles Barkley appeared on CNN's
     "Crossfire" last night and did "an abrupt about-face" on his
     call for NBA players to boycott certain events, including
     the league's All-Star Game.  Barkley: "We're not going to
     boycott anything for Latrell Sprewell" (USA TODAY, 12/11). 
     On MSNBC's "The Big Show," Barkley said his comments about
     boycotting were "a little inaccurate."  Barkley: "That's
     directed toward the owners if they open up the [CBA]." 
     Barkley, on the race issue: "I was disappointed that they
     brought in Johnnie Cochran, because this is not a white and
     black thing, this is a stupid thing one of our players did,
     and us trying to defend him."  Barkley, on the state of the
     NBA: "[W]e as players and owners and coaches, we are just
     destroying the game" ("The Big Show," MSNBC, 12/10).
          BARKLEY BACKERS: Michael Jordan, on Barkley's boycott
     comments: "I always will support the players in whatever way
     I can" (Terry Armour, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 12/11).  In N.Y.,
     Seifman & Kernan write that players, including the Knicks'
     Chris Childs, "indicated yesterday they would back" any
     protest by Barkley (N.Y. POST, 12/11).
     supports the league's stance, stating NBA Commissioner David
     Stern "understands perfectly his role, which is protecting
     the value of his brand name" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/11).
          LATE-NIGHT LAUGHS: On last night's "Late Show," David
     Letterman said that Johnnie Cochran has "a defense lined up
     for Latrell.  He said, 'Latrell couldn't have possibly have
     strangled his coach because he was out playing golf at the
     time.'"  Letterman's No. 3 "Sign You've Hired A Bad
     Department Store Santa": "Was recently suspended from the
     NBA for choking his coach" ("Late Show," CBS, 12/10).  NBC's
     Jay Leno: "Latrell came off pretty good, he came off good. 
     What better way to look honest than standing next to Johnnie
     Cochran?" ("Tonight Show," NBC, 12/10).