While the NBA has been going crazy with trades and signings and, oh yeah, a basketball conglomerate being formed in southern Florida, David Stern has been keeping quiet. One must assume he was busy training with Pai Mei just to be ready for the upcoming season. But even though he's remained basically silent throughout this summer's free-agency process, it figured that Stern would soon enough be heard on anything and everything that has happened.
Finally, Stern has surfaced, bringing with him a righteous, but congenial, fury befitting a man of his importance. First on Stern's scorn list was "The Decision," the very silly one-hour special dedicated to all things LeBron James(notes). From the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Brian Windhorst:
"I would have advised [James] not to embark on what has become known as 'The Decision,'" Stern said. "I think that the advice he received on this was poor. His performance was fine. His honesty and his integrity shine through. But this decision was ill-conceived, badly produced and poorly executed. Those who were interested were given our opinion prior to its airing."
That, my friends, is about the nicest way of saying "Wow, that was a terrifically bad hour of television and I feel dumber for having watched it" as there could possibly be. Stern covered all the bases — the concept, the actual show and its subject — in a scant few words, plus he let it be known that he was against it from the start. Very nice, even if Stern's standards for a "fine" performance are quite low.
Moving on, Stern also addressed Dan Gilbert's now-famous letter to Cleveland fans. You know the one with all the random quotation marks and capitalization. Let's just say David Stern is kind of a grammar nerd.
"I think the remarks by Dan Gilbert, catalyzed as they may have been by a hurt with respect with the respect to his team and the people of Cleveland, though understandable, were ill-advised and imprudent," Stern said.
"I think Dan Gilbert is a good owner and I think he was completely correct in expressing his disappointment and his determination to win. In fact, if he wants to guarantee a championship, more power to him. I'm going to tune in to watch to see if he can do it. But you would read the rest of the statement to see where I think it was a little bit to the extreme and his follow-on interview."
Yes, we can all agree that caps-locking and bolding a championship guarantee is "a little bit to the extreme." And Stern isn't a fan of "the extreme" as evidence by his fining Gilbert a cool $100,000 for his outbursts. Ironically, that's kind of extreme. Apparently David Stern is a big Alanis Morisette fan, but who isn't?
Even though he's a couple months shy of his 68th birthday and has had the same job since 1984, it's pretty obvious that David Stern's still got it. Best not to mess with him.