ESPN'S ALDRIDGE SAYS 85% OF NBA PLAYERS OK DECERTIFICATION
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).