SBJ/October 24 - 30, 2005/Other News

Special Address: David Stern, NBA Commissioner

NBA Commissioner David Stern delivered a Special Address at the forum in which he detailed the league’s new NBA Cares platform. Among his comments:

On corporate responsibility: “I think it has become an axiom of management in the private sector that there is a corporate obligation not only to serve customers, but to serve the broader community. The business of business is no longer simply business. There is more to it. And if we didn’t know that before, how can we not know it now as the problems of the world play out in front of us.”

On the NBA’s evolution in regard to thinking about social responsibility: “We used to think it was about us. What is good for business? And then it was this stuff about community relations and public service. That’s a good idea. Let’s stand for something, because if you don’t stand for something, you might not stand for anything. And finally it was the preaching to the teams that it is the right thing to do. And so you can do good [things] and can do well at the same time because this is about community relations. Let’s make it a part of your business.”

On the future role of sports in community relations: “Taking stock of all that we’ve done, but mindful of all that needs doing, it is our obligation to do more. And to cause sports to lead the way in what I will call the private sector making the world a better place. And if that sounds corny, I accept the corn because I think that is our sacred obligation.”

On launching NBA Cares: “We want to set the tone that says to our players, our rookies and our teams that this is the way it is. This is part of our DNA. This is part of our culture. … It is not acceptable for leagues with our celebrity to do anything less.”

On the media focusing on negative issues: “The lowest or worst moment of one person feeds into the ability to characterize all athletes a certain way, and that is a real problem. Yes, I believe there is always a tinge of racism involved. It becomes easy when there is an event to say, ‘These guys are all thugs and punks.’ We read that based upon sensitivity a certain way because there is no ‘these guys.’”

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