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Friday, June 28, 2013

Retweet of the Day - June 28, 2013

The 2013 NBA Draft had a number of memorable moments. Several players rose or fell far above or below their expected draft positions. A number of power moving trades took place. But the man who owned the night, in my opinion, was outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern.

Stern, whose 29 year tenure as Commissioner comes to an end this year, was booed profusely with each trip he made to the podium to announce the next pick. Stern had no problem wearing the black hat and embracing the villain's role. At one point, Stern encouraged the crowd to step the boos up a little louder.

I wouldn't want to have a beer with David Stern and he can come across as very aloof and unlikeable. But my biggest concern is that when I buy tickets to an NBA game, watch a game on television, or (especially) follow the NBA playoffs, I want a good show. And I've gotten that every year.


Before Stern's tenure, the NBA Finals were on tape delay. There was very little national television coverage during the regular season. The league was not popular. Hard drug usage and player conduct problems were rampant throughout the league. Stern marketed the league beyond what anyone could have imagined in 1984. The game has a true global reach, dare I argue more than the 800 pound gorilla of American professional sports, the NFL.

Collectively, the players are of the highest character, image, and reputation compared to any of the other three major sports leagues (NFL, MLB, NHL); in contrast, there have been over 30 arrests of NFL players since Super Bowl XLVII. Infinite game watching options are available. The league's TV ratings during the playoffs are at or near the top of the charts every night. During the Finals, the NBA touches more (live) viewers than at any other television event other than the Super Bowl.

Dislike Stern all you want, but he's done a hell of a job. The NBA is the success it is today in large part because of his leadership over the last three decades. He has steered the ship to the sports promised land.


Today's retweet, from DZ (‏@CommonManDZ), illustrates the prickly relationship Commissioner Stern has had with NBA stakeholders, including the public, over the years in light of last night's not-so-warm reception of Stern at the Draft.

"At this point, I expect David Stern to award Kevin Durant to the Miami Heat, give the crowd the finger, drop the mic, and exit stage left."

Stern saying, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!" to a booing crowd at last night's NBA Draft. I bet he ever so gently extended his middle finger.
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