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The top 20 items on David Stern’s two Top Ten Lists read on ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ (Videos)

Kelly Dwyer
Ball Don't Lie

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Some of us are Davids, but most of us are Daves. (Getty Images)

With his tenure as NBA commissioner ending on Saturday, David Stern is making the media rounds. There will be sit down interviews, a NBA TV-produced televised retrospective aired on that most glorious of television rating nights – Friday evening, and the expected smirking appearance on David Letterman, reading off a Top Ten List detailing ten things he’s learned in 30 years as NBA commissioner:

As a bit of a Letterman freak and proud owner of this book as a child, Top Ten lists like these are usually the best. Because basketball – or even, “30 years of NBA basketball under David Stern” – isn’t really a topical list, the writers are left free to just joke goofily about hoops in general. There’s nothing to really date the list to any specific era, even with the requisite Dennis Rodman joke thrown in. In fact, the third item on Stern’s list is so goofy that it wouldn’t seem out of place being penned by Letterman and Merrill Markoe around the same time David Stern took over as NBA commissioner.

Stern’s previous appearance on the show, to alternately gloat (after his owners cleaned up in the 1998-99 lockout) and beg (for disgusted fans to come back), even took on some of the same themes:

OK, let's rank these killers:

20. You never know who Dennis Rodman is going to marry next

Yeah, we will. Cameras follow him everywhere.

19. We’ve all just lost a lot of money, so please tip your point guard

You don’t need to throw shade at Kenny Anderson, David.

18. What else are you going to watch … hockey? Sorry, Gary.

Don’t apologize to Bettman. Commit to the bit, guy.

17, With Michael Jordan gone, maybe your team will have a chance to win

So it was a fix, then?

16, The “swish” sound is made by a guy standing behind the basket

This is what we had two lockouts for? To pay this guy?

15. When international diplomacy is required, call Dennis Rodman

You didn’t do this though I don’t get it

14. A lot like the WNBA, but with men.

When the WNBA started in 1997 why didn’t you change the NBA’s name to “MNBA?”

13. I’m the only guy in the league who was bar mitzvah’d

To quote David Letterman, “that’s not true. That can’t be true.”

12. I am an inspiration to short, unathletic kids everywhere

Daniel Stern is too, but you don’t hear him bragging about it.

11. No NBA star has ever made a bad motion picture

Actually several of them have made terrible motion pictures, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s “Airplane” stinkeroo rating at the top of that list.

10. The lowest paid mascot in the league makes $5 million a year

All earned.

9. Who knows, maybe one of our players will become Governor of Minnesota

This is in reference to either Mark Dayton or Jesse “The Body” Ventura.

8. I hear sneaker squeaks in my sleep

Better than train whistles, David.

7. Some arenas are now selling nachos for under $20

I would pay in upwards of twice that amount for nachos on most days. I don’t get the “joke” here.

6. More millionaires in shorts than at a Microsoft company picnic

This is just classic Stern.

5. I could watch a stuck ball get poked by a broom all day

Same. Especially if it’s being poked at by Henry Kissinger, dressed as a harlequin.

4. Dr. J is not a licensed physician

This should have been revealed years ago.

3. Moisten needle before inserting


2. We’ve added a third basket for more scoring.

I don’t see how this would work in the slightest, but I’m listening. I also think baseball players should get a choice of which base to run to after hitting the ball.

1. Please watch our games, so we don’t have to get real jobs

Please read my posts, so I don’t have to get a real job.

We will have ongoing David Stern coverage here at Ball Don’t Lie as we look back on his three decades in charge of the league we’re charged with covering.

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Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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