Stern Hosts His Last ASG Presser With Trademark Style Of Humor, Charm, Seriousness
The final All-Star Game press conference of NBA Commissioner David Stern‘s tenure “played out like so many of the others, with Stern working the room with a mix of charm, seriousness, humor, pride, lawyerly word-parsing and snark,” according to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. The most notable difference from past performances “was increasing play-by-play” with Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver, his "presumptive successor" when Stern officially steps down Feb. 1, 2014 (NBA.com, 2/16). SI.com’s Ben Golliver wrote “unlike Stern’s two most recent All-Star State of the Union addresses, which were dominated by pre-lockout and post-lockout topics, the 2013 version was noticeably free of fireworks” (SI.com, 2/16). In N.Y., Mitch Lawrence writes Stern "didn’t do a lot of reminiscing at his swan-song All-Star press conference,” as that is “not his style.” Silver said, “With David, it’s never about what it once was, it’s always, look at the opportunity we have ahead of us. The only time he looked back, recently, was when we flew down here together. He was trying to figure out when we were last here. All the years run together now” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/18).
STATE OF THE LEAGUE: Both Stern and Silver weighed in on a number of topics during the State of the League address. Among the highlights:
D-LEAGUE: Silver said of the D-League, “Ultimately we’d like to have a 30-team league, and we do envision a one-to-one relationship between every NBA team and a single D-League affiliate.” He added he spoke to D-League owners about “increased use of D-League teams internationally.”
DRUG-TESTING: Stern said of HGH testing and an agreement with the NBPA, “We expect that to happen, we really do, before the start of next season.” He added, “Our players have been front and center with us on this one. They want to be and be perceived as playing in a drug-free sport” (THE DAILY).
THINK GLOBAL, ACT LOCAL: Stern said of the league’s int'l efforts and social media reach, “We’re a little bit ahead in China; we have 150 people or so there, only five in Africa and five in India. But it’s coming, and what happens to us is the ability to transport ourselves digitally.” Stern said he is “anticipating scheduling additional exhibition games” in China. Stern: “We have offices in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing and we’re considering opening an office in Guangzhou.” Silver said of efforts in India, “David is planning to go to the market to Mumbai and other cities in India in the next two months to continue looking at those opportunities. In terms of growth in India, I think we’re a ways away from scheduling a preseason or regular season game there” (THE DAILY). USA TODAY’s Jeff Zillgitt noted Stern will “remain active in the NBA's global business.” He said that he will “make trips to India, China and Africa in the next year.” Stern: "Our international prospects remain as strong as ever" (USATODAY.com, 2/17).
AND THE MEMORIES: When Stern was “asked his favorite All-Star memory as NBA commissioner, he chose the 1992 game, when Magic Johnson returned to win MVP honors after retiring the previous fall because of the HIV virus.” Stern said, "Giving sweaty Magic Johnson a big hug right after he hit the last 3 and still being able to hug him, because he's alive every time I see him. That is at the top of the list" (AP, 2/17).