COMMENTARY | Los Angeles Lakers fans already have many reasons to be cynical and disengaged when it comes to matters involving NBA commissioner David Stern, but on Wednesday, June 13, 2012, he one-upped himself.
In a heated exchange on The Jim Rome Show, a nationally syndicated radio program hosted by the ever-polarizing Jim Rome, Stern became combative and defensive when Rome asked him a question that has been a hot-button issue in the NBA with respect to the 2012 NBA Draft:
"Was the fix in for the lottery?" Rome inquired.
Stern was clearly upset by the question and responded quickly:
"You know, I have two answers for that," he said. "I'll give you the easy one -- no. And a statement: Shame on you for asking."
The rest of the conversation was more than a little awkward, but in the context of Lakers fans, it's clear why Stern is disliked. He was over-reactive and unnecessarily attacked Rome, who was doing his over two million listeners a service by asking the hard-hitting question.
Not only was the question fair, but the answer was easy. Stern could have said 'no' and brushed it aside as nonsense. Instead, he made it personal. He's digging himself quite a hole following a lockout-shortened season in which he played a large part in keeping the popular NBA product from fans.
But it was the failed Chris Paul trade that makes the Lakers major stakeholders in all controversial matters involving Stern. Whenever he makes a move or does something unfavorable, the fans will be able to say, "I told you so" to the rest of the league.
This was very apparent on Wednesday, as Stern was clearly wrong in his comments.
As the commissioner of one of the world's most popular professional sports leagues, maintaining credibility and professionalism is paramount. Unfortunately for the NBA, Stern is losing his at an alarming rate.
With two work stoppages, a major officiating scandal, and a fiasco that involved tampering with a fair trade to the Lakers to his credit, Stern has built a poor reputation and earned the league-wide disdain he's acquired over his tenure.
The Lakers had the misfortune of experiencing first-hand what the sports world is now coming to understand.
David Stern is a bully who rules the NBA with an autocratic hand.
Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers. He has written for Southern California's Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com. For more insight, follow him on Twitter.