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STOCKTON SAYS DISPUTE WON'T KEEP HIM OFF OLYMPIC TEAM

Jazz guard John Stockton said Friday that a reported dispute over the usage of players' images on apparel won't keep him from playing on the U.S. Olympic basketball team.

Stockton's name arose in a Friday USA Today story saying that three clients of agent David Falk, including him, Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing, had been given an ultimatum to resign from the team or allow the federation to use their likenesses on apparel.But Stockton said "my impression is that the NBA always precluded anything else" and he thought the league has the right to use his image on whatever it wants - including USA Basketball apparel.

At the heart of the debate is Jordan, who several weeks ago said since he is under contract with Nike, he wouldn't allow the NBA or other entities to sell apparel with his image on it. Stockton, who has a shoe contract with Nike, said most of the problems with USA Basketball and the selling of images are due to Nike's objections.

"That's really limited things for most players," said Stockton.

Stockton said he was contacted by USA Basketball officials, saying they were having difficulty getting players to cooperate. "But really, it was through no say of mine," said Stockton. "From my standpoint, it's been really embarrassing. I feel like a pawn in the whole thing."

Stockton added he wouldn't consider doing anything to jeopardize his playing on the Olympic team. He phoned USA Basketball President Dave Gavitt about the matter, which arose last week. "I told him I'd do anything you like. I have no intentions of doing anything that would compromise my being on the team. I said if he had any problems, come to me."

He added, "I told him my position is I'd do anything they ask, short of going to court."