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Feuding NBA Players Trying to Get Together : Basketball: Jordan, Smith, Gourdine reportedly have secret meeting.

August 02, 1995|MARK HEISLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Trying to re-unify NBA players, Michael Jordan, a leader in the movement to decertify their union, reportedly met with Charles Smith, a member of the union's board of directors, at a secret location in Southern California on Monday night.

Jordan has been in Los Angeles making a movie. Smith flew in Monday, as did the union's executive director, Simon Gourdine.

There were reports that Jordan, the Chicago Bulls' star, would be joined by Patrick Ewing of the New York Knicks and Jeffrey Kessler, lawyer for the insurgents.

It was not known whether union President Buck Williams attended. The meeting was first scheduled for New York, and Williams, who feels betrayed by the insurgents, turned down that invitation.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday August 3, 1995 Home Edition Sports Part C Page 6 Sports Desk 1 inches; 31 words Type of Material: Correction
Pro basketball--A story in Wednesday's editions stated that a majority of all eligible NBA players will be required to vote to decertify the players' association. Only a majority of those actually voting will be required.

"I had a day set aside to meet with Patrick a few days ago, and he never showed up," Williams told the Portland Oregonian. "I called Michael twice, and he never returned the call.

"They're both superstars and important to the league, but there's still another several hundred players out there I represent. I can't cater to the needs of a couple of players."

The recent NLRB ruling, which obliges players to vote in person at regional offices, is considered a problem for the insurgents. Because more than 50% of the unit has to vote to renounce the union, the insurgents will have to mobilize more than 200 players.

"It's one thing to have players spoon-fed by agents," Adam Keefe of the Utah Jazz said at Magic Johnson's charity game Sunday. "They get a Fed Ex envelope with a form in it for them to sign and a return envelope. It'll be interesting to see how many guys will go out and vote."

Informational meetings held by the insurgents last week in L.A. and Washington were sparsely attended by players--an estimated 30 at each--and heavily by agents.

There was a scene at the L.A. meeting in which Santa Monica-based agent Arn Tellem, a leader on the insurgents' side, cursed at Keefe, who was asking questions from the floor.

Someone did suggest a solution to heal the rift: Williams steps down, Jordan takes over on an interim basis, and the sides unite and return to the bargaining table.

Wait until Williams hears that one.

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