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Volume 24 No. 157
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          Latrell Sprewell's arbitration hearing, which will
     begin next week in Portland, OR, is examined by Mike Wise of
     the N.Y. TIMES.  Sprewell has been in New York since Tuesday
     to "go over the legal brief" the NBPA has prepared and
     yesterday Wise spoke to him and members of his defense team. 
     The matter will be heard by Fordham Law School Dean John
     Feerick, and NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter referred to Feerick
     and said, "To what extent is he affected by public pressure? 
     I think the N.B.A. reaped a media bonanza on this thing,  
     and that's one of the reasons we haven't been able to
     settle.  It's been such a windfall for them that any step
     back would be interpreted as a retreat" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/23). 
     Sprewell told Peter Vecsey, "I realize what a big mistake I
     made."  But Sprewell added, "It's as if I'm another O.J.
     Simpson.  Yes, I was wrong, but I didn't kill anybody.  I'm
     not a double murderer" (N.Y. POST, 1/23).
          REF TROUBLE: SI's Jackie MacMullan reports that the
     Federal Government is "poised to indict as many as seven
     referees next month," with 15 still under investigation for
     allegedly downgrading NBA airline tickets, pocketing the
     money and failing to declare it.  MacMullan adds that a
     sampling of NBA coaches and GM's showed that most "agreed
     that the removal of seven refs would be disastrous" to the
     quality of officiating (SI, 1/26 issue).