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The Legacy of David Stern

 

 

It goes without saying that David Stern has been good for the NBA. He took basketball, a business worth 400 million dollars and increased it to 23 billion dollars in less than 30 years. Stern expanded the game beyond domestic borders, turning basketball into an International game. Basketball historians will look back on David Stern as the reason the NBA succeeded.

Now, that’s not to say there hasn’t been some controversy, or misses along the way. Let’s take a look at a few of those…

1983 – ANTIDRUG POLICY

The NBA had a huge problem with drugs, specifically cocaine. So much that it had become part of the culture. Stern cleaned this up with testing, suspensions, and even banning players from the league, setting the tone for other professional league policies to follow soon after.

1985 – THE FIXED LOTTERY

For the record, I do not believe this was fixed. In fact, isn’t it ironic that the Patrick Ewing age in New York was actually torturous? Anyway, love to listen to conspiracy theorists who say it was rigged. It makes me feel better about myself.

1985 – STERN BANS AIR JORDANS

The original red and black Michael Jordan sneakers were popular, but were banned because they didn’t include “white”, an NBA rule on the books. Stern went on to fine Jordan $5000 each time they were worn. Had this happened ten years later, Stern would have changed the rule for Michael – by this time he had established a full on man crush for Jordan.

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2005 – THE DRESS CODE

Stern and the NBA outlawed chains, baggy pants, hats, shorts, and throwback jerseys from being worn during postgame interviews. This was a very risky proposition that some (SEE: Allen Iverson) took as a personal attack while others voiced concerns of racism. The concerns dissipated and the players followed suit (pun intended).

2006 – AGE LIMIT IMPOSED

Stern saw a problem with scouting talent straight out of High School and created an age rule that all players must now be 19 years old and at least one year removed from High School.

2006 – THE NEW BALL

It was the year 2006 when Stern introduced a new ball that got slippery with sweater hands. Still, Stern tried to stick with it asking the players to “give it a try.” Eventually the ball was replaced with the original. It was one of the few times Stern accepted defeat.

2011 – THE LOCKOUT BEARD

During the summer of the lockout Mr. Stern grew out his facial hair. The result was a bushy beard that made him look less scary, but the players still knew it was his way of saying fuck you I’m going to beat you again.

2011 – THE CHRIS PAUL VETO

Some believe that eventually, when you have power, you will make a mistake. The David Stern veto of the trade to send Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers was a case of mistaken power. Despite his “I’m Keith Hernandez” moment, Stern should have stayed out of this and let it gone through. It is very surprising to me how fast this all blew over (once Paul was traded to the Clippers).

2012 – THE FLOPPING RULE

Let’s wait and see how this one turns out.

 


 

By: David. S. Grant
Pro Basketball Fans Staff Writer
David S. Grant is the author of several books. His latest novel, “BLOOD: The New Red” is now available. For more information go to http://www.silverthought.com/blood/ Follow David on Twitter: @david_s_grant


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