NBA Lockout Watch, Day 113: Silver Calls Gumbel's Comments "Outrageous"
NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver Thursday called HBO's Bryant Gumbel's "racially tinged comments" about Commissioner David Stern "outrageous," according to Marc Berman of the N.Y. POST. Silver said while entering a mediation session said, "I can’t speak for David, but a personal comment is: I thought it was outrageous" (NYPOST.com, 10/20). In DC, Deron Snyder notes Gumbel in his comments "used slave imagery, which immediately sent his otherwise solid arguments to the discount bin" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/21). In Ft. Worth, Mac Engel wrote, "Gumbel's comments that Stern is a plantation owner is not insulting to Stern. It's just ignorant" (STAR-TELEGRAM, 10/20). N.Y. Daily News reporter John Harper said, "You can call Stern a lot of things -- arrogant, condescending -- but that's taking to a whole new level. You're basically calling him a racist. I think that's over the top.” N.Y. Daily News reporter Ralph Vacchiano: “We all have written or said things that have been a little strong or we knew that they would grab attention. But there is a line and you've got to be careful with that. That was a step way over the line” (“Daily News Live,” SportsNet New York, 10/20). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes, "Sorry, can’t fall for such obvious attention-bait. Gumbel knows better about both American history and the NBA to make such a tired and pathetic analogy, one more liable to cause nausea than outrage" (N.Y. POST, 10/21).
GOING ON TOUR: Knicks F Carmelo Anthony on Thursday confirmed a report that he Knicks F Amar'e Stoudemire and "several other stars are finalizing plans for a two-week exhibition tour." The report indicated that games "would be played from Oct. 30 to Nov. 9 in Puerto Rico, London, Macau and Australia." Anthony said, "Right now, I think it's just getting a couple more guys to commit to it. Get the paperwork done. Once the paperwork's done and everybody signed on, I guess we'll be doing the world tour." Anthony also said that he "wants to bring" an exhibition game "to the New York area if the lockout isn't over by next month." He said, "I am working on a game here in New York City" (NEWSDAY, 10/21). Anthony said that he "would like to house the All-Star charity event at an 18,000-seat arena, and The Meadowlands' Izod Center is being considered" (N.Y. POST, 10/21). ESPN’s J.A. Adande said the idea of a world tour "actually diminishes their case" in CBA negotiations. Adande: "The more you watch these games, no matter how many superstars are on the court, you realize it’s not NBA basketball. What’s missing are the stakes. What’s missing is competition for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. So it actually hurts their case because it reminds you of what they’re not getting.” But ESPN’s Bomani Jones said, “The NFL is the only league where you can throw anybody in a uniform and then people will watch it. That’s not the case with the NBA. You put bad players with stakes, people still aren’t going to watch this” (“Around The Horn,” ESPN, 10/20). Golf Channel’s Erik Kuselias discussed how the NBA should react to a tour by the star players and said, “Publicly I would say, ‘Guys, go for it, good luck to you. Hey, you’re growing the game of basketball.’ Privately, I would look at anybody that has a TV deal or a network or a highlight package and say, ‘Any one of you guys cover this, you’re going to be dead to me'" ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 10/21).
NEWS & NOTES: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson said Thursday that his "effort to build a sports and entertainment complex downtown will move forward despite" the breakdown of NBA labor talks (SACRAMENTO BEE, 10/21). Meanwhile, in Portland, Mike Tokito notes a "prolonged lockout and the loss of home Trail Blazers games could put a serious dent in the fund the city uses to pay off debts on its major sports facilities, as well as to maintain and upgrade them." Blazers games "provide much of the revenue for the city's spectator fund -- a self-sustaining account that the city started so it would not have to dip into the general fund to pay bills for its sports facilities." Last year, the spectator fund "took in $3,657,538." Amy Ruiz, spokesperson for Portland Mayor Sam Adams, said that Adams is "interested in seeing what happens in Memphis, where the city council passed a resolution this week to explore all options, including suing the NBA, to get money back that the city loses because of the lockout" (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/21).