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Volume 24 No. 133


          PUCKETT UP? In St. Paul, Charley Walters reports of
     talk that Kirby Puckett could "become a significant investor
     in the Twins, and that owner Carl Pohlad and his family
     might help finance Puckett's portion, even if the Pohlads
     sell the team."  Walters adds that Ogden Entertainment
     Services, which operates the Target Center for the
     Timberwolves, "is undergoing management changes at its New
     York headquarters and will curtail its aggressive attempt to
     control operations at the Metrodome" (PIONEER PRESS, 6/16).
          NOTES: In Seattle, Mariners CF Ken Griffey Jr. blamed
     Microsoft exec Chris Larson, who reportedly owns 30% of the
     team, for vetoing the trade of P Randy Johnson: "This one is
     Chris Larson.  Everyone agreed to the trade except one
     person, Larson."  Mariners CEO John Ellis: "I absolutely
     cannot comment because it just isn't true" (SEATTLE TIMES,
     6/15)....In TN, David Williams examined the public's
     confusion over the role of the Memphis and Shelby County
     Sports Authority.  Exec Dir Ross Bartow: "Do people know
     what a sports commission can do?  I'd say no.  I've got to
     ...  get out to civic clubs and meet with people, continue
     to answer questions that are out there" (COMMERCIAL APPEAL,
     6/15)....In Phoenix, the WNBA Mercury lead the league in
     season-ticket holders with "more than 9,000" (AZ REPUBLIC,
     6/16)....In Tampa, after announcing a $5M increase in
     payroll, Lightning GM Phil Esposito said that new Owner Art
     Williams has agreed to pour another $1M into the budget for
     player salaries for the '98-99 season (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/16).

          To the Chinese, Michael Jordan "remains America's
     king," according to Elisabeth Rosenthal, who writes from
     Beijing about Jordan and the NBA's reach in China on the
     front page of the N.Y. TIMES.  The Chinese have named Jordan
     "kongzhong feiren -- 'space flier.'"  When a Beijing company
     recently asked 1,000 Chinese to name the best-known
     Americans ever, Jordan was second, "trailing Thomas Edison
     by just a few percentage points.  Behind him were Albert
     Einstein, Mark Twain and Bill Gates" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/16).
          RELOADING? In Chicago, Terry Armour reports that the
     TRIBUNE "has learned the Bulls are prepared to offer" Bulls
     F Scottie Pippen a two-year deal worth $35-40M in an effort
     to keep the team intact (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/16).  Arrests in
     Chicago after the Bulls' title win were down 22% from last
     year, "with 451 people arrested, mostly for disorderly
     conduct."  Police spokesperson Pat Camden said that arrests
     for "serious incidents" were down "even more significantly,"
     from 144 last year to 77 this year (SUN-TIMES, 6/16).

          Two addenda to Mario Lemieux's seven-year contract with
     the Penguins -- one attached in '92, the other in '96 --
     "shows his to be a highly unusual deal," according to Dave
     Molinari of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE.  The "most striking
     feature of the 13-page agreement is a clause in the 1992
     addendum that states, in effect, that Lemieux was guaranteed
     to receive the salaries, bonuses and other payments laid out
     in the contract, even if the league office deemed the deal
     invalid."  The second addendum "might reveal the source of
     Lemieux's threatened lawsuit against Penguins co-owner Roger
     Marino."  It calls for Lemieux to receive a $4M "rights"
     payment, payable in $2M installments on January 1, 1997, and
     January 1, 1998.  Lemieux's agent, Tom Reich, said recently
     that the Penguins failed to make payments in January '97 and
     January '98, "although Reich did not specify the nature of
     the payments missed."  Molinari detailed all aspects of the
     contract in his piece (Dave Molinari, POST-GAZETTE, 6/15).

          Larry and Charles Dolan "have raised the stakes in
     their bid to become the next owner of the Browns" by
     bringing Don Shula into their ownership group, according to
     Terry Pluto of the AKRON BEACON JOURNAL.  Shula was born and
     raised in OH and the Dolans will introduce him at a press
     conference today as an Exec VP in their proposed
     organization.  Pluto writes that Shula "is a big name and
     known commodity to NFL owners," and with him on board, "the
     Dolans believe their seemingly already strong group is even
     more attractive to the league" (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 6/16). 
     In Cleveland, Tony Grossi reports that Shula "might ...
     invest nominally in ownership.  But his value to the Dolan
     effort is priceless."  Grossi: "Shula's universal acceptance
     by NFL owners makes it increasingly difficult for them to
     deny the Dolans' bid."  Bengals Owner Mike Brown: "He's a
     significant plus for the Dolans" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER,
     6/16).  In Miami, Kevin Ding reports that Shula would become
     a 5% owner in the Dolan group (MIAMI HERALD, 6/16).
          MORE BROWNS NEWS: In Cleveland, Tony Grossi reported
     that Browns ownership applicants Thomas Murdough and Bart
     Wolstein "were less than amused" when they read that Howard
     Milstein termed the expansion team ownership derby "a two-
     horse race" between he and the Dolan brothers.  Wolstein:
     "We don't need a New Yorker running our team."  Ownership
     candidates will have to send a check for $150,000 to the NFL
     this week to receive material on the stadium lease and
     revenue sharing projection information (PLAIN DEALER, 6/14). 
     Bernie Kosar, who has been approached by Murdough and the
     Dolans about joining their ownership bids, has "serious
     questions about whether there is enough time to build a
     viable NFL franchise" by '99.  Kosar: "I'm concerned about
     the timeline of it.  It's a tight timeline to get ready to
     play in '99" (Carter Gaddis, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/14).