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The David Stern era is coming to an end, and his dislike for the C's?

Posted by shawn cassidy on January 30, 2014 at 1:20 AM

During the early days of this blog, I had to deal with the dreadful lockout. During that time my disliked for Stern grew even more. I don't believe he hurt the game with the last lockout, and I don't believe he fixed a thing, but honestly it's hard to say much about the backlash of the lockout, most of the changes are barley in effect, and will start to really hurt teams next season, as Stern walks out.

The players took a massive pay cut, and Stern's owner friends get to keep their pockets much fuller. Stern's approach about his official's is bull in so many ways, and during Stern's watch he had a dirty ref, if not more corruption.Stern's 30 years has seen many conspiracy theories, or facts. I believe it's a little bit of both. Stern is about the all mighty dollar.

Stern did make the NBA into something, it wasn't all corruption, or him being an arrogant ass. He made the game global, and he utilized the likes of Bird, Magic, and Michael to build his empire.


At his best, Stern was a visionary. He globalized the game. He globalized the league. He built a television -- and real life -- empire. Bottom line: Stern will leave the NBA in a much better place than when he found it. And working under the assumption that nobody’s perfect, there’s not a whole lot more you can ask for.

At his worst, Stern was smug. He was condescending. He was a tyrant. He provided the basketball world with a glimpse into what life’s like under a dictatorship. He was self-serving and ruthless. Even worse, at times, it seemed that he got off on being ruthless. That he enjoyed it. Forget Austin Powers. Stern was Dr. Evil’s real long lost brother.

This article dives into Sterns darker side, here are some stories from the article.


Case 1: Showdown with Jesus

Year: 1984

Background: Four months into Stern’s tenure, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird faced off in the commissioner’s first NBA Finals. Two week’s later, the commissioner met his first conspiracy theory —

The scene is the visitors’ locker room at the old Forum. The Lakers had just beaten the Celtics in Game 6 (to force a Game 7) and Bird was asked for his thoughts:

“Stern told a fan that the NBA needed a seven-game series, that the league needed the money,” he told Shaughnessy. “When the commissioner makes a statement like that to a fan, you know it's going to be tough. When Stern makes a statement like that, things are going to happen. You just don't make statements like that and not expect anything out of it. He's the commissioner and he shouldn't be saying anything like that. The NBA wanted a seventh game because they wanted to make more money and they got their wish. There is no reason for me to lie. He said it. He's a man and he'll live up to it. He may say he said it in jest. But I'm out there trying to make a living and win a championship."

Stern never lived up to it. In fact, he never discussed the accusations publicly. Although through a league rep, he eventually called Bird’s comment “ridiculous.”

Case for Stern: The Celtics had a 35-to-17 edge in Game 6 free throw attempts. Bird himself had 13.

Case for Celtics: It’s a little curious that Stern never fined Bird for those comments. I mean, Larry said some pretty volatile stuff. That is, unless everything he said was true.

And anyway, Bird was just out there trying to make a living and win a championship.

Verdict: The refs may not have screwed with that game, but that doesn’t mean Bird’s story was inaccurate. The lack of fine leads the court to believe that Stern said something that he shouldn’t have, even if it was a joke. And that Bird had every right to put the young, hot shot commissioner in his place.

Court rules in favor of the Celtics.

Case 4: Everything Red

Year(s): 1984-2006

Background: That story about Red accosting Stern in the private room is only one of many classic interactions between the two. Red loved going after Stern. He loved messing with him. Red treated Stern the way Seth treated McLovin.

There was the time that Stern was on camera presenting the NBA Coach of the Year award, made reference to the award’s corporate sponsor, but forgot to mention that the trophy itself was named after Auerbach.

Here’s Stern telling the story of what happened next:

"Red called me up to express what could mildly be described as his displeasure, directed that his name be forcibly removed from the proceedings, or else he was going to come down and remove it himself," Stern said. "By the end of the phone call, he accepted my assurance that it would never happen again and that the Red Auerbach Trophy would henceforth always be presented with mention of the person after whom it was named. He was very proud of that."

Then there was the time (2001) when Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker were snubbed in the All Star Game.

I'm really upset at David Stern and the league." Auerbach said. “They should have picked (Antoine) Walker. Let me ask you this: Would you trade Antonio Davis for Walker? It's just plain dumb. Picking Sprewell over [Paul] Pierce was bad enough. But this was worse, and I will tell him that.”

And he did tell him that.

"Red expressed his displeasure to me as only he could," Stern said. “The situation was that we needed a backup center for Dikembe Mutombo. It was a tough one, but we went by position, the same way we did in the Western Conference with Vlade Divac. I know how he feels. I don't blame him. I'm sure he will share those feelings with me again in his own inimitable style.”

And finally, around that same time, McDonough (never a friend of Stern’s) caught up with Red, and the Celtics legend went off:

“I like David Stern as a person, and I consider him a friend, but he's always giving Boston the short end of the deal," Auerbach said. "I called up to complain before the game was played. We didn't have a single player picked to be in Washington. We had no one in the game, or the slam-dunk contest, or the 3-point contest. Ridiculous.

“Then take this schedule we are playing right now,” he continued. “It's a killer. A few years back, I complained when they gave us eight straight games on the road. It's unheard of. No one else has a schedule like that. So I complained. The next year they cut it to seven in a row. Big deal. Last year it was six. Now it's back up to seven. Why us?"

Case for the Celtics: He’s Red Auerbach.

Case for Stern: N/A

Verdict: Another victory cigar for Red.

The 1984 incident sounds like Stern, and it sounds like the 2002 Western Conference Finals when Stern screwed the Kings out of a trip to the NBA Finals. I will always believe that Stern was corrupt. If it's not, then he did a poor job running his league, and running the refs who believe they are bigger then the game.

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1 Comment

Reply Greg
1:54 AM on January 30, 2014 
See you later you corrupt SOB.