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NBA.com enhances its game plan

NBA.com's third year on the World Wide Web should provide pro basketball fans with a fascinating list of team home pages, features, news and something new this season _ live audio broadcasts of all 1,189 regular-season games.

The site has been entirely revamped with the Arena offering new graphics, real-time box scores, running play-by-play and a live scoreboard available.

NBA.com's Audio League Pass for $19.95 gives subscribers live local radio broadcasts of every game. Free broadcasts will be offered three times a week as part of the Game of the Night matchup.

Here's how it works: Subscribers get a user name and password to log onto the site on game nights. The games are broadcast through streamed audio, meaning RealAudio software is needed and can be downloaded free from www.realaudio.com. Fans then listen to their favorite game, or hop from game to game over the course of the evening. The GameStats Live page, with living box score and play-by-play, also utilizes the RealAudio feature.

Although online time would run a couple of hours, listeners get live coverage in areas that do not broadcast NBA games.

Pregame notes on news and injuries for each team are provided, plus analysis and video highlights throughout the week. Coaches' Corner offers thoughts and insights on the games and players, and Score Flash is a live scoreboard that can be activated on the desktop. Special weekly French and Spanish-language capsules also are offered.

Printable player files are available, updated with statistics, trades and injuries. Also online is Virtual GM, in which fans can play general manager, constructing teams to compete for weekly prizes. A history and records archive lists player bios, records and statistics, plus feature stories and multimedia recalling legendary players, plays and moments in NBA history.

NBA.com's revamping is a huge leap in technology, replacing last season's vanilla site. Its address is http://nba.com/.

JORDAN'S EMPIRE: The ever-expanding commercial empire of Michael Jordan hits the Web again with an air shot that's sure to score big with surfers.

Jordan launched his newest cyber-venture Tuesday on CBS SportsLine within nine unique areas. Featured are a comprehensive Jordan biography, his weekly column, chat and e-mail with Michael, a Dunk Challenge children's game, facts about the Chicago Bulls, audio interviews and a gift shop. Comprehensive NBA coverage also is featured on CBS SportsLine.

Microsoft and six partners combined technology to inaugurate the site, and there's more Jordan sparkle coming. Microsoft and CBS SportsLine have joined to offer the Michael Jordan Active Channel for Microsoft's new Internet Explorer 4.0, which will debut next month. The site uses the latest "push technology" and Java and Shockwave animation to provide lively, interesting content.

The new site is located at http://jordan.sportsline.com on the Web.

_ Phil Gulick can be reached by e-mail at Xerxes6juno.com, aol.com and prodigy.com and on CompuServe at Xerxes6565.

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