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NBA Commissioner David Stern was “booed lustily” when he took the stage during Thursday night’s NBA Draft by a “relentless crowd” at the Prudential Center, according to Ben Glicksman of SI.com. Stern in announcing the Wizards' selection of Bradley Beal with the third overall pick walked "back on stage -- to another cascade of boos.” Later in the evening he walked "back onto the stage to another outpouring of boos” (SI.com, 6/29). Stern opened the draft by saying, “Ohhh! Thank you for that warm welcome and good evening.” Stern made his opening remarks as the fans kept booing and when he noted that the Heat won the NBA championship this season, the fans booed even louder. The commissioner at one point cupped his hand to his ear, seemingly encouraging more boos ("NBA Draft," ESPN, 6/28). SPORTING NEWS' Sean Devaney wrote Stern has "gotten to be a pretty good sport about the booing he takes on draft night," but the "jeering was especially raucous on Thursday." Stern at one point walked to press row and said, “You know it’s bad if I have to come down and talk to the media to not get booed” (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 6/28). Toward the end of the first round, CBS Sports' Seth Davis on his Twitter feed wrote, "The only people left are the ones who want to boo David Stern." FS Ohio's Pat McManamon wrote, "Fans continue to boo David Stern as he arrives to announce the 20th pick. Gotta love their staying power." FoxSports.com's Dan Wolken wrote, "'Do you still boo your wife?' - What David Stern should have said."
PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN: In N.Y., Fred Kerber notes in addition to the “constant booing of Stern, a loud moment came in the second round when Florida State forward Bernard James ... was picked 33d by Cleveland." James served three tours with the Air Force, and the crowd "chanted, ‘USA, USA’ with overwhelming approval” (N.Y. POST, 6/29). ESPN's Rece Davis said, "This might be the best moment of the draft as Bernard James … is getting a standing ovation here in the Prudential Center. Listen to this from the crowd. What a proud moment.” After an interview with James by ESPN’s Mark Jones, Davis said, “There was a few moments ago when Bernard James was announced and the crowd started standing and chanting that if you didn’t get a chance to experience, I want you to feel it again, it will send a chill up your spine” ("NBA Draft," ESPN, 6/28).
THAT WARM, FUZZY FEELING: In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs wrote in the “middle of the NBA draft, an event built on cold cash and even colder assessments of a young man's ability and character, yes, there are warm, personal moments.” Just before the Pistons officially announced Andre Drummond as their pick, cell phones “suddenly were being picked up at the Drummond family table.” Jacobs writes, “Within seconds, Drummond was overcome with emotion. He wiped tears from his left eye. He wiped tears from his right eye.” Jacobs: “Athletes are treated like lab specimens in the days leading up to a draft. Their heights and weights are measured. So, too, is their vertical leap and wingspan. Strengths are extolled loudly. ... Leading into the draft, with talents under the microscope and millions on the table, you almost forget these young men are barely out of boyhood” (HARTFORD COURANT, 6/29).
Major League Lacrosse on Saturday "tests the waters for a future expansion franchise with its 2012 All-Star Game," according to Matt Kinnear of INSIDE LACROSSE. MLL Commissioner Dave Gross has "made intentions clear about expansion, openly discussing that Boca Raton, Fla. ... is on the short list of locations as the league eyes its expansion goal of 16 teams." The MLL All-Star Game will be "the first professional event in Florida Atlantic University's stadium." The league has a "history of showcasing events in potential markets." The Denver Outlaws have been a "huge success story since hosting the All-Star Game in 2005, the year before the team's inaugural season." Gross said, "We really find that test marketing is the way to get the best feel for when we go to the market." Charlotte Hounds MF Stephen Berger said, "I think the fans in Florida will really get a taste of what the MLL is about. The All-Star Game is a little special. The MLL is doing it right by finding some of these markets that are non-traditional areas" (INSIDELACROSSE.com, 6/28). In West Palm Beach, Matt Porter noted Gross is "optimistic about Palm Beach County because youth and high school teams are flourishing here and because FAU's 30,000-seat stadium could be an ideal home." Gross is "hoping for at least 5,000" fans (PALM BEACH POST, 6/27).
GROWING THE GAME: LACROSSE MAGAZINE's Corey McLaughlin noted while their "records may not reflect success -- the Ohio Machine is 1-6 and the Charlotte Hounds are 2-6 -- Gross said he's pleased with the first seasons of the league's pair of expansion franchises." League statistics show that the Hounds rank "third in average attendance (5,788), trailing only" the Boston Cannons and Chesapeake Bayhawks. The Machine "ranks sixth (3,656)." Gross said, "Expansion has gone very well. I'm sure both Charlotte and Ohio wish they had a better win-loss record, but the fan support that they've received in both markets has been very good and we expect that to continue to build." He added, "We're not going to have expansion in 2013. The earliest at this point will be '14." McLaughlin noted if there "will be expansion in 2014, it will be announced in January" (LAXMAGAZINE.com, 6/27).
A federal judge in Texas has scheduled a conference call for Thursday between the NFL and lawyers for ticket holders suing the league for the seating problems at Super Bowl XLV in Dallas. The ticket holders earlier this week notified the court that mediation had failed, and claimed the league negotiated in bad faith. The NFL disputes it negotiated in bad faith. The judge ordered the parties to be on the conference call at 10:00am CT, and also ordered that no further filings should be made unless the court permits it after the call. Thousands of ticket holders to Super Bowl XLV were unable to sit in their assigned seats because temporary seating had not been completed in time for the game. A report from the federal mediator shows the mediation occurred on June 21, and NFL execs Anastasia Danias and Gary Gertzog attended (Gertzog’s name is misspelled as Hertzog). Alec Sheiner, in-house counsel for the Cowboys, also a named defendant, was also present, according to mediator Jay Madrid’s report. Madrid is an attorney with Winstead. Coincidentally, Thursday is also the day NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s response is due in a Louisiana court to Jonathan Vilma’s defamation lawsuit.