SBD/October 31, 2012/NBA Season Preview

Oops: David Stern Mistakenly Mentions Hurricane Katrina Victims During Address

Stern (r) was in Miami to participate in the Heat's championship ring ceremony
NBA Commissioner David Stern presided over the Heat's championship ring ceremony last night prior to their season opener against the Celtics and acknowledged the effects of Hurricane Sandy. However, Stern committed a noticeable error by naming the wrong storm. Stern said to the crowd from center court, "I know that everyone around America watching has in their thoughts and their abiding concerns those who were affected by the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. That said, we have a celebration tonight" ("NBA Tip-Off," TNT, 10/30). YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Devine noted after the Heat had received their title rings, TNT’s Ernie Johnson addressed the misstep and "clarified that the commissioner obviously intended to say 'Sandy'" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/30).

STERN LOOK: With Stern last week announcing his retirement in February '14, TNT’s Charles Barkley called Stern “arguably the greatest commissioner in sports." Barkley said of Stern, "I have a lot of admiration and respect.” TNT’s Kenny Smith added, “When he took over the game, I don’t think it was a global game and now it is played everywhere, all over the world. To me, that’s the biggest addition that he’s done as commissioner.” NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver will replace Stern, and Barkley said, "He’s a great guy, he’s going to do a fantastic job. The only problem Adam has, when you build something so high, trying to maintain that and make it grow is very difficult. Adam is going to do a fantastic job." Smith: “He is following a legend, but he’s been there as well a lot of those years, in all of those meetings, all of his input has been there as well. It’s not new to him that he’s doing it.” Barkley added about Silver, “Do you think he’s going to be nice to me now? Sometimes when people get powerful they forget their little friends” ("NBA Tip-Off," TNT, 10/30). The AP’s Jim Litke wrote under the header, “Is Stern Best Commissioner In Sports?” Stern is “a ‘player's commissioner’ in nearly every sense, which is why the knocks against him have plenty of merit, too.” He “hitched the league's fortunes to the drawing power of its stars at the expense of its teams.” So while Stern “often pays lip service to achieving competitive balance, the dominance of two dozen or so superstars has made the argument moot.” Only eight teams have “won a championship during his stewardship” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/30).
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