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Volume 24 No. 155
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          The NBA player agents advisory group that has been
     working with the NBPA met in N.Y. last Friday and "received
     an ominous report," according to ESPN's David Aldridge. 
     Agents "were told the union has acquired the signatures of
     85% of all players authorizing the union to decertify if
     talks with the league break down."  Decertification would
     "force the league to deal independently with each player and
     leave the league vulnerable to lawsuits."  Aldridge adds
     that the union "appears much stronger" than it was in '95
     and sources say that the Jazz "have come around after being
     one of the strongest anti-union" teams during the previous
     labor negotiations.  Aldridge: "Sources indicate that nine
     of the Utah players have signed the decertification
     agreement, and one of those nine is Karl Malone, who has
     never been a supporter of the union in past years.  Malone
     declined to comment" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 5/14).  In
     Chicago, Steve Rosenbloom: "[T]his spat will be settled by
     two different groups: the wives of NBA players and the
     mothers of their children" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/15). 
          A MILLION REASONS: The NBA announced a 7.1% increase in
     average per-game '98 playoff attendance over last year. 
     Through the '98 Conference Semifinals, 1,058,257 attended 54
     games for an average of 19,597 per game.  In '97, 1,006,694
     attended 55 games for an average of 18,303 per game (NBA).