Wednesday, May 16, 2007

David Stern is an Idiot!

So I'm watching the guys on PTI interview Stern right now, and I can't believe that he said with a straight face that he can't see why there is a "spirit versus letter of the rule" debate over the Stoudemire and Diaw suspensions. Really? You don't understand why people might be upset that you stuck to your precious rule so rigidly that you've ruined the last remaining interesting series in this year's NBA playoffs? You're having trouble comprehending that fans may be a tad testy that this decision has basically said that it's okay to be a thug on the court... just don't dare come off the bench in retaliation!

Stern is not a dumb guy, so I think he does actually understand the backlash. But while once upon a time he was the commissioner with all the answers, he has become increasingly clueless and out of step as time goes on.

Yes, I know the league needed to do something after the Artest incident to keep things from getting out of control. So they made up a few more rules, imposed stricter penalties and apparently enforce them with no room for interpretation.

The thing is, I really believe that Stern thought that once law and order was imposed, all of the NBA's problems would be solved. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth. When you have Bill Simmons, as big an NBA fan as you'll find anywhere, calling this season boring, you've got yourself a problem. The league should be soaring with LeBron, Wade and other young players yet to hit their primes; instead, most casual fans I talk to can't be bothered to watch until the playoffs.

And now, thanks to rigid enforcement of his precious rule, Stern even has himself an image problem in the postseason. It's your league, commissioner, so you can do whatever you want. If you insist on playing dumb, though, please don't insult our intelligence by acting like you know what the fans want better than they do, because it's become increasingly clear that you don't.


Grizzly said...

could not agree more. in fact, i wrote that this seems far too much like the way the ncaa imposes their rules over at our blog. and we all know the ncaa doesn't have a clue.

Head Dude said...

I don't know when exactly he lost his grip, maybe it was the brawl in Detroit, but Stern definitely has hit a wall. Ironically, as I can somewhat attest to being in Israel right now, I don't think the NBA has ever been more popular internationally, and certainly is the most popular American sports league around the world, but the problem is it doesn't carry that designation in its own country, in spite of as you acknowledge, the fact the league is full of young stars.
And then when you threaten to derail what likely will be the only compelling series in the playoffs this year after the first round just to uphold a rule that Stu Jackson says the league is "wide open" to changing, means you've become stubborn. There's a reason Mark Cuban thinks about selling the Mavs, and it has nothing to do with the Mavs. The league has lost its innovation.

Head Dude said...

And I forgot what to me made the rule most ludicrous -- Tim Duncan stepped on the court after a hard foul late in the first half, but because there was no "altercation," he didn't get suspended. So even though Duncan threatened to inflame the situation, he's okay? Granted, I don't think he should've been suspended either, but it just shows there's more ambiguity than Stern admits.

The Dude said...

I'll be the lone dissenter here. I agree with the length of the suspensions. If you promulgate a rule, you have to enforce it, or else you turn the sport into the laughingstock that is the NCAA or MLB. Look, Stoudamire and Diaw knew the bench rule, and so did Duncan. Of course, when Duncan left the bench, there was nothing close to an altercation. The decisions under the rules was actually very easy to make, without the ambiguity that Head Dude is suggesting.

I also disagreed that it ruined the last remaining interesting playoffs. You didn't think the suspensions injected more drama into last night, turned certain neutral observers into Suns fans, and made more folks have a vested interest in the outcome of the game? I definitely did.

The NBA is soaring, both internationally and domestically. That certain observers call it boring is due to either (a) their inherent biases; or (b) the nature of having a majority of the teams making the playoffs. I, frankly, have never been more interested in the NBA.

David Stern knows what he's doing, and he's still cementing his reputation as the greatest commissioner in the history of North American professional sports

The Franchise said...

I won't argue that the game is popular abroad, and Stern and the NBA are wise to pursue and cultivate that interest.

I would love some evidence though, to prove that the game is "soaring" domestically.

ThadisRad said...

Outside of the dudes, I have not had a conversation about the NBA in a full year. The last time I spoke with anyone about the NBA was last season's playoffs when I met with a Clipper fan to watch one of their playoff games.

The NBA is most certainly NOT soaring.