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May 15, 2000|LARRY STEWART

What: "Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel"

Where: HBO, tonight, 10-11

Diversity is one reason "Real Sports" has been so successful and acclaimed, and this edition offers four stories that certainly are diverse.

They are:

* "One Tough Coach," a segment on Philadelphia Flyer Coach Roger Neilson and his fight against a form of bone marrow cancer known as multiple myeloma.

* "Sean Elliott," a profile of the San Antonio Spur forward and his comeback from a kidney transplant.

* "The Sporting Taboo," a look at a sensitive topic--how the Nabisco women's golf tournament has become a meeting place for lesbians.

* "Baseball Fantasy Camps," a light piece focusing on a New York Yankee fantasy camp in Tampa, Fla., that costs $4,300 a week, excluding air fare and incidentals.

Mary Carillo is the reporter on the Neilson story. She discusses the coach's health problems and the fact that the Flyers have not permitted him to return to his place behind the bench.

"You fought a good fight, you beat back this cancer," Carillo says. "And you lost your job anyway."

Neilson: "That part is disappointing, but it is understandable too. I think people are always a little leery of someone who has got cancer and is supposed to be recovering."

The Elliott story is well known, but worthy of being told again, and correspondent James Brown does it well.

The most intriguing story is the one Armen Keteyian reports on lesbianism and the LPGA. The focus is on a festival called Dinah 2000, held in conjunction with the Nabisco Championship, formerly the Dinah Shore tournament, in Mission Hills, Calif. Mariah Hanson, one of the main promoters of the festival, tells Keteyian: "There is definitely a lesbian appeal to golf, and so it works for us as promoters to associate ourselves with a golf weekend."

Among others Keteyian interviews is LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw, who appears uncomfortable talking about the topic and shies away from acknowledging the lesbian presence at the tournament.

The jump to Frank Deford's report on the Yankee fantasy camp is a big one. Nothing much controversial about a bunch of middle-aged rich guys trying to pretend they are real ballplayers. But this segment, like the others, is also compelling.

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