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REGGIE MILLER SAYS HE’S VICTIM OF CONSPIRACY

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Does this sound familiar? A fine basketball player toiling for a small-market NBA team is overlooked. He suspects the league and networks of letting politics and ratings decide the top players. He is resigned to the fact that were he in New York, Chicago or L.A. he'd be as famous as Magic or Michael.

No, it's not Karl Malone. The (yawn) news flash this time is coming from Indiana's Reggie Miller, who finds he has suddenly been discovered now that the Pacers have proven they're for real.Miller burst onto the national scene last week when he began dismantling the New York Knicks with his phenomenal outside shooting. But, as with Malone, Miller has suffered at times from a lack of national exposure. (Actually, Malone, a member of the 1992 Dream Team, has received considerably more attention over the years than Miller.)

Said Miller, "I'm always going to be overlooked. That's just how it is. That's how the league is."

Miller, as Malone has done in the past, hinted that there is a conspiracy of sorts to promote players in certain markets. "The league wants certain things. They want certain guys. I'm just not one of them. But I can't help the way I am," he told the Boston Globe.

Miller, though, appears to be coming to the realization that others eventually come to understand: Win games and they can't ignore you.

Miller added, "We're dealing with an awful lot of bandwagon people. But you can't really fault them. You've got to put a winner out there before people identify with you."

* * *

One of the highest-profile free agents of the offseason is Atlanta forward Danny Manning.

Manning, who joined the Hawks in the trade that sent Dominique Wilkins to the Clippers, has said he wants to return to Atlanta. However, he won't come cheap.

"He's the Hawks' to lose," said Manning's agent, Ron Grinker.

Continued Grinker, "Hopefully we can sit down July 1 (the date Manning becomes a free agent) and get the deal done. Having said that, Danny wants to win a championship. We'll want to hear how the Hawks plan to improve their team."

* * *

One improvement Manning can count on is a new building. The seedy Omni in Atlanta is now one of the oldest buildings in the league. With new arenas going up in Boston, Seattle and Chicago, only Golden State (1966), the Los Angeles Lakers (1967) and the L.A. Clippers (1969) have older arenas. (Madison Square Garden in New York has been renovated.) The Omni debuted in 1972.

Plans now are for sports and communications tycoon Ted Turner to build a new arena 8-10 miles north of Atlanta, with an outside interest adding an amphitheater. Turner is also attempting to lure an NHL team to the city.

Current plans are for the Hawks to have a new home in 1996.

* * *

The Jazz divided $427,500 in playoff money this year, thanks to their advancement to the Western Conference Finals.

The money was divided into 12 full shares (worth about $30,500 each) and two partial shares. Partial shares were divided among Stephen Howard, Jeff Malone, Luther Wright, Mark Eaton and the team's ballboys and the public relations staff. All other players received a full share - including Jeff Hornacek, who joined the team in February - and a full share went to assistant trainer Terry Clark.

Shares are decided by vote of the team.