SBD/October 30, 2012/NBA Season Preview

David Stern Reflects On Growth Of NBA During His Time As Commissioner

Stern says NBA team in Europe is "doable" in the next decade or so
NBA Commissioner David Stern sat down with President Obama fundraiser and former UBS President & COO Robert Wolf for an interview on REUTERS.com, and discussed the changes to the league during his time in office. Stern said the reason the NBA has grown and been successful under his leadership “is taking advantage of things of which I have no control.” That includes the “television explosion in this country” from three channels to hundreds, the arena “building boom,” the “digital economy,” and the globalization of the game. Stern: “All are phenomena that happened around us and that positioned us really well.” Stern said he is trying to globalize the game because “it’s good for business," and it “builds the game.” He added, “In the future we will have teams in Europe. I think Asia is a little far with the travel. But I think Europe is doable and I would say in a decade or so.” Stern addressed last year’s lockout and said both the league and the NBPA “had to go through the dance.” Stern: “There has to be some pain before the parties on both sides decide where the midpoint is. It wasn’t to be avoided, although we were able to make a deal and we saved the season.” Stern said with the new CBA, the two sides “think we have a reset for the next decade.” Meanwhile, Stern said of President Obama's basketball skills, “He’s not that good. He’s a lefty and he goes the same way every time. I’m sorry, and I’m a loyal Democrat, a passionate Democrat. He’s not as good as he thinks he is” (“Impact Players,” REUTERS.com, 10/29).

TIDYING UP: In Cleveland, Bill Livingston writes Stern by "dictating the terms of his own farewell" can now spend the 15 months before his retirement "trying to spiff up a tarnished and ultimately failed stewardship." Stern can "legitimately bring up some huge achievements in popularizing the league." When Stern "globalized the NBA brand in 1992 with the 'Dream Team' at the Barcelona Olympics, he opened ports of call everywhere to basketball." However, no other sport, "not even golf in Tiger Woods' heyday, is as dependent as pro basketball on a small group of instantly recognizable faces." The NBA "star system brings with it inherent drawbacks in creating a sense of entitlement, a need for instant gratification and the ubiquity of stooges known as players' posses" (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 10/30).
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