SBD/October 26, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

You Got The Silver: Stern's Successor Should Easily Transition To New Role

Silver is in favor of ads on uniforms, which would be a first for the four US major sports
NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver will take over for David Stern as NBA Commissioner in February '14, and Silver's ascension "makes perfect sense," according to Ken Berger of CBSSPORTS.com. Silver has the "approval of everyone he'll be working for because they've already seen him in action." While people can "agree or disagree with his tactics," it is "hard to argue with the job he's done as Stern's right-hand man and it won't be difficult to predict what kind of job he'll do going forward." Silver has been "involved in almost everything the NBA has achieved and failed to achieve for fully half of Stern's tenure." He has "negotiated the league's last two national TV agreements and three collective bargaining agreements with the players, launched the NBA's footprint in China and designed and pushed its global marketing strategy." Silver also has had "a hand in the exponential growth of the NBA's merchandising business, its digital properties -- including NBA.com and NBA TV -- and most important, he's done right by the owners for whom he works" (CBSSPORTS.com, 10/25). TRUE HOOPS' Henry Abbott wrote although Stern "will leave a massive hole ... a surprising amount of the NBA's behind-the-scenes power brokering will stay the same." Many of the NBA's "key stakeholders -- owners, broadcast executives, union officials, players, sponsors -- have dealt directly with Silver for years." In announcing the transition, Spurs Owner Peter Holt and T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor "praised Stern for having invested so many years into grooming a replacement" (ESPN.com, 10/25). In Boston, Gary Washburn notes Silver "made it clear he plans to continue Stern's plan but with his own fingerprints." He is "in favor of advertisements on uniforms, which would be a first among the four US major sports" (BOSTON GLOBE, 10/26).

OPPOSITES ATTRACT: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Cacciola, Jones & Futterman write Silver has "always functioned a bit like Stern's photographic negative: Where the commissioner can be argumentative, caustic and stubborn, Silver is dispassionate, congenial and practical." Former Nike, adidas and Reebok exec Sonny Vaccaro said, "They are absolutely two different people" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/26). NBA.com's Fran Blinebury wrote a difference in management style "is what some think will set the two regimes apart." While Stern "has always been a 'top-down' manager, Silver is said to be 'more collaborative' and will seek out opinions from the individual teams and try to a build consensus to solve problems" (NBA.com, 10/25). ESPN's Michael Wibon said Silver has “his own ideas and he’s his own man even though he has worked so closely with David Stern” ("PTI," ESPN, 10/25). Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski noted Silver has “built good relationships with the younger owners who are now the powerbrokers in the league," but that could "work against" him in some ways. Wojnarowski: "There’s a lot of people, in talking to owners and executives in the league, their question for Adam Silver right now is, ‘Is he going to be an extension of Stern?' Is he going to continue to have the hardline, centralized power of the league office where a lot of owners now want more state power and they to want have more say in things?” ("NBC Sports Talk," NBC Sports Network, 10/25).

SOUNDING OFF
: ESPN.com's Chris Broussard, Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein answered a question about what they expect from Silver's tenure. Broussard writes he expects Silver "to carry out Stern's vision to turn the NBA into a global sport and over time, perhaps have franchises overseas." Windhorst writes, "Silver is remarkably intelligent and seems more open minded and interested in a wider range of issues." He comes "from a different generation and it shows." Stein: "I can assure you that Silver has been doing a lot behind the scenes. ... I can also assure you that Silver already has the respect of a lot of people in this league for the, shall we say, more diplomatic way he operates. There are a handful of teams out there quietly looking forward to dealing with him instead of his let's-do-it-my-way mentor" (ESPN.com, 10/26).
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