NBA's Adam Silver Discusses Age Requirements, Officiating Transparency
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appeared on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" Friday morning, with ESPN's Mike Greenberg noting, "You recently said you want the NBA to rival the NFL as America's most popular sport. What in your mind is the single biggest key to making that happen?" Silver responded, "To combine forces with all the different basketball constituencies. I think right now what I find most frustrating is college basketball fans who tell me they've been disaffected from the NBA, and I get it. I think there was a period in the NBA where seemingly -- whether the game itself had become too physical -- the players seemed disconnected from larger society. But I think now, I'm trying to bring those fans back." But Silver added it "doesn't mean we're doing everything right, and if there are things we need to make adjustments on, whether they be our rules, whether it's our marketing, things that we do with our players association, we're prepared to do it." One change that has made noise recently is raising the age minimum for players to enter the NBA from 19 to 20. Silver said, "Our view then was, and still is, that a 20-year-old age minimum will lead to a better NBA because the guys will be more mature, it'll be a better draft because our teams will have seen the guys play more against the top competition." However, he noted the league cannot "unilaterally move from 19 to 20," as it has to be collectively bargained.
PULLING BACK THE CURTAIN: ESPN's Mike Golic asked, "What's the crisis issue facing the NBA?" Silver said, "There's no crisis. Sleeve jerseys." Golic replied, "But they're selling well!" Laughing, Silver said, "They're selling very well, thank you very much." Silver did note "transparency with the officials" is an issue that needs to be addressed. Silver: "There's a greater expectation of transparency in all business, so it's something (Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban) and I have talked a lot about. We recently made a decision that our standing committee of owners, led by (T'Wolves Owner Glen Taylor), would play a more active role in overseeing our officiating program so that teams had a better understanding of how officials are recruited, how they're trained, how they're judged. … We're trying to be more transparent with our teams." Silver noted that "if we can't persuade our teams and our owners that our officiating program is fully transparent and everyone can understand it, certainly there's no way our fans are going to understand it or the media will." But he added it is a "cumbersome process" ("Mike & Mike," ESPN Radio, 2/28).