Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ok... Leave Stern Alone

Last night when I turned on the NBA draft, I heard the fans in attendance 'boo' commissioner David Stern every time he came on stage. To be honest, I do not understand it. The only reasonable assumption I have for the fans displeasure with Stern are the conspiracy theories of a 'rigged' draft order and playoff officiating. To clarify, there are no conspiracies in the NBA that have any truth (please feel free to argue). In fact, Stern has done a good job since taking over the NBA in 1984.

Creation of the WNBA

In April 1996 David Stern oversaw the creation of the WNBA to start play in June of 1997. Although many complain about the WNBA today, this was a great move to help promote the NBA and reach out to a larger target market. In the first season of the WNBA they obtained broadcast partnerships with NBC, ESPN and Lifetime. In that initial season over the three networks the WNBA saw over 50 million viewers turn on the games. 2001 was a big year for the WNBA, they saw ESPN2 jump on board to televise games and for the first time ESPN televised the draft. The games in 2001 were televised to 60 million people in 167 countries in 23 different languages. The WNBA has seen a drastic rise in viewership since they first played a game. Helping to form the WNBA was a gr


When Stern's run as commissioner of the NBA is ended he should be most remembered for his desire and success in expanding the NBA through America and globally. In America, it is key to reach into younger markets, this is exactly what Stern has done. In 2012, TNT saw its highest rated regular season in its 28 year relationship with the NBA. The audience of young adults between 18-34 increased 13 percent on TNT this year. The increase in young fans may be from successful social media campaigns. The NBA expansion throughout the globe is exemplified by the 2012 NBA finals. The NBA finals were viewed from 215 countries in 47 different languages. Of the 90 international outlets that air the NBA finals, 14 of them did it this year for the first time. The large scale globalization will continue next season. Stern has planned for the Mavericks and Celtics to play preseason games in early October throughout Europe. Some of the cities include Milan, Istanbul, and Berlin. 

Also notable was Stern's impact in helping to create the salary cap. This helped smaller market teams compete for championships. 

Final Thought

The way David Stern laughed off the criticism he received last night was fitting. I can only hope that once Stern leaves the NBA that fans will realize all that he has done for the league, I have. 


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  1. Great post Drew. During the draft last night I was thinking the exact same thing. My girlfriend asked me why everyone was booing him, and the best answer I could give was that it is just "cool" to boo the commissioner.

    You're right, Stern has been a very solid commissioner for the NBA for nearly a score (HT Seth/Abraham Lincoln) and booing him is nothing more than a troll move. And the way he handled it was just ripe.

    Out of all the four major sports, I think the NBA is run the most smoothly overall. Yeah, there are some problems with salary cap and team spending, but no league can be perfect. Stern deserves better and I hope people realize, as you mention, all that he has done for the betterment of the league.

    1. Thanks for the comment. It is something that for some reason bothers me. I just don't think he gets any respect that I feel he deserves.

  2. I am assuming that you have read "The Book of Basketball" by Bill Simmons. In it he alludes many times to Stern's rule as commish. Basically behind closed doors, Stern rules with a sometimes overly iron fist and is pretty much a control freak. That is why the conspiracies do have some credability and aren't just tossed out like with many other leagues.

    So here are my two thoughts: 1) Great article. Stern does do a great job and has grown the game a great deal. 2) If you even have a tiny interest in basketball, read "The Book of Basketball". Completely justifies it's spot on the NY Times Bestseller List. (No, Bill Simmons did not pay me to say all that. There is no conspiracy here.)

    1. HAHA I appreciate the comment Kev. I have not read that book, but I will get on that this weekend. As far as the conspiracies..... I just don't buy them.

  3. One of the reasons he got booed so badly was because they were in the Prudential Center, the former home of the New Jersey Nets. The fans probably thought he encouraged the Nets to move to Brooklyn to get the team into one of the most desirable markets in the country.

    Personally, I think Stern has every right to be booed. His arrogance is through the roof and he is not good at dealing with the fans in any way. He also has consistently favored the larger markets and has essentially formed a league with a few dominant teams, and middling teams that have no legitimate shot at a championship. The one time he tried to do something for the small markets by nullifying the Chris Paul trade, he had a vested interest in the team and made a huge blunder that is acknowledged by just about everyone as stupid.

    If David Stern was a good commissioner, he would encourage parity. I can't wait for Adam Silver to take over, and hopefully change the current image of the NBA.

    1. Well I understand your view.... but I disagree. If Stern did not "favor" the larger markets it would be difficult to make money. At the end of the day sports is still a business. David Stern's goal is to make the NBA the most profitable business that he can and the larger markets are the way to make money.

      As far as Stern being "arrogant" and not good with fans, I am not sure how to respond to that. I have not met with the commissioner personally so I can not attest to his level of arrogance.

      As far as the small markets not having any chance, I would point out the Oklahoma City Thunder. Oklahoma City is not what I would call a big market.

      The Chris Paul trade issues was in an effort to have more parity, like you want. Yet people still complain.

      When it comes to the current image of the NBA, I think it is very strong. I think David Stern needs to be respected more for what he has done to the league.

      I appreciate you reading the article and giving your opinion.