David Stern Presides Over His Final NBA Draft Before Retiring
NBA Commissioner David Stern presided over his final Draft last night, and he clearly embraced the moment. When he 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 actually encouraged 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 was the first draft pick Stern announced in '84 (“2013 NBA Draft,” ESPN, 6/27).