SBD/Issue 154/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NBA Commissioner Stern Wants Coaches To Stop Criticizing Refs

Jackson Fined Recently For Comments He
Made Regarding Kevin Durant, Referees

NBA Commissioner David Stern is "fed up with NBA coaches criticizing referees and said he would not back down from penalizing them," according to Mike Bresnahan of the L.A. TIMES. Stern Thursday said, "Our referees go out there and knock themselves out and do the best job they can. But we've got coaches who will do whatever it takes to try to work them publicly. What that does is erode fan confidence. So our coaches should be quiet because this is a good business that makes them good livings and supports a lot of families, and if they don't like it they should go get a job someplace else." Stern said that he "wished the fines were more severe" for coaches who criticize refs. He said, "If I had to do it again ... the price wouldn't be a modest $35,000 fine. It would be whatever a day's pay is and then two day's pay and then a week's pay. And if someone wants to try me in the rest of this playoffs, make my day" (L.A. TIMES, 4/23). ESPN L.A.'s Dave McMenamin noted Lakers coach Phil Jackson last week was "fined for comments made regarding" Thunder F Kevin Durant prior to the Thunder-Lakers Western Conference Quarterfinal series. Jackson said of Durant, "I think a lot of the referees are treating him like a superstar; he gets to the line easy and often." Stern attended Thursday's Lakers-Thunder Game Three at Ford Center and said of seeing Jackson, "I just came by and said, 'Hi,' and he said, 'I don't like you today,' and I said, 'I like you.'" Stern: "I think Phil's a great coach. He's a friend of many years" (, 4/22). Meanwhile, Magic coach Stan Van Gundy was fined $35,000 for "publicly criticizing game officials after" the team's Eastern Conference Quarterfinal Game Two win over the Bobcats Wednesday (, 4/22).

ARE PLAYOFFS TOO LONG? The AP's Antonio Gonzalez reported Van Gundy prior to Wednesday's game said that the NBA's first-round playoff format, which spreads games out for primetime TV, is "difficult on teams." Van Gundy: "It's almost like you're on a high school schedule or a college schedule playing twice a week." He added, "Baseball gets their whole playoffs and World Series done in like three weeks. Us, it takes us the first round to go three weeks." Van Gundy suggested that the NBA have "back-to-back games in each city, then allow for a day off for travel." He said that the first-round schedule "throws teams off because it's so different from the regular season." Van Gundy: "The thing is they stretch all of it out in the first round for TV, and it really is strange because you get into a routine in the regular season where every once in a while you get a few days off" (AP, 4/21). Dallas Morning News columnist Tim Cowlishaw: "The only reason this happens is because the NBA wants all its games on TV. That's not such a bad thing for NBA fans. It doesn't happen after the first round" (“Around The Horn,” ESPN2, 4/22). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser, on a prolonged first round, "Does it hurt the appeal? Yes, because it takes far too long and everybody knows that. Does it hurt the quality? Not necessarily" (“PTI,” ESPN2, 4/22).

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