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Playing To The Crowd: David Stern Revels In Barclays Center Boos At Last NBA Draft
Published June 28, 2013
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GOING OUT WITH SOME PANACHE: As Stern walked on stage to begin the Draft, he was greeted by loud booing in Barclays Center and said to the crowd, "Good evening and thank you for that enthusiastic Brooklyn welcome." The crowd continued booing Stern each time he walked on stage to announce the next pick, and he would encourage the crowd by gesturing with his hand to bring more of the boos. For the third pick, Stern told the crowd, "I can't hear you," which elicited some very loud booing. Prior to announcing the 21st pick, Stern said, "We've had to explain to our international audience that the boo is an American sign of respect." Noting the boos were getting softer before pick No. 23, he said, "Your enthusiasm seems to be dwindling." As Stern walked on stage to announce his final pick, the crowd gave him a standing ovation and he acknowledged it by saying, "Stop it, you're ruining all the fun." NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver, who is succeeding Stern, later brought HOFer Hakeem Olajuwon on stage. Olajuwon, the first draft pick Stern announced in '84, embraced Stern, with Stern saying, "He still fits into the same tuxedo he wore in 1984." Olajuwon said, "I wanted to be here to honor the commissioner as he announces his very last NBA Draft picks. I'd also like to thank the commissioner for an amazing 30 years and all what he has done for the league and the players." ESPN's Rece Davis said, "That's why the NBA gets it with marketing. That's a great moment." He added the fans "were terrific." Davis: "It's been part of the fun over the last few years that when Adam Silver comes out, they go wild like he's a rock star. And then turn on him and boo him, which was terrific" ("2013 NBA Draft," ESPN, 6/27).
A MEMORABLE NIGHT: CBSSPORTS.com’s Matt Norlander wrote the Draft was "memorable because it was suspenseful and surprising." Norlander: "Dare I say: actually gripping, and better than this year's NFL Draft by a wide margin.” He added, “A lot of the proceedings were unpredictable. And funny. And will be David Stern's last as commissioner, making this moment an instant classic and all too appropriate.” Norlander continued: “We love sports -- or more specifically, the games -- because of that unknown factor. … Drafts offer that, but in a different, smaller way. A delayed way. Seldom do they actually provide surprise and buzz.” But Thursday night’s event “did.” Norlander: “That's why 2013 gave us the best draft I can remember” (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/27).