by Andrew Rosin
David Stern is one of the worst things about the NBA.
As I am one of the people who somehow resides in the world of basketball twitter. This is a statement that could very easily skew as controversial. But it’s true. He’s not Gary Bettman bad, but as he’s one of the more visible administrators in professional sports. Being as terrible as he is on interviews? It’s not a good look.
Let me explain. I’m someone who knows how to draw attention to himself with a mixture of moxie and alacrity. I was a troll once upon a time. And these days? I AM SOMEONE WHO IS UNAFRAID TO GUN TEN ALL CAPS TWEETS IN A ROW.
So I know a touch about being a glib asshole. It takes one to know one, and David Stern is one. And today, it came back out. I grant you, Jim Rome is an officious prick. But that being said? Asking if the lottery is rigged isn’t exactly the same level of douchery as his repeated attempts trying to get a rise out of Jim Everett.
And going to the rhetorical device of “Have you stopped beating your wife?” I’m not going to say it’s uncalled for? But for a show where the archetypal fan is never going to be confused for a Mensa member, rhetorical flourishes will sail skyscrapers above their heads.
But it’s funny! Hypothetical reader would respond. And perhaps it would be, if it was coming from some random troll. But allow me to explain.
DAVID STERN IS A COMMISSIONER OF A MAJOR PROFESSIONAL SPORT. TROLLING MEDIA MEMBERS ONLY BENEFITS THE MEDIA. NOT THE MAJOR PROFESSIONAL SPORT THAT HE RUNS.
I’ll explain it in punditry terms. For whatever you think of the politics they espouse, Fox News is a ratings juggernaut. You have people like Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity getting millions of viewers a night. The way MSNBC started making inroads was when Keith Olbermann started attacking him for being “the worst person in the world,” and Bill would respond. Bill’s response granted Keith legitimacy. And it made MSNBC a real network. Just like this will cause only Jim Rome to get more ratings.
I’m not saying that saying shame on you for asking the question was a terrible thing. He’s right. Conspiracies are cheap thrills. But when you are in a position of power like David Stern is in, and someone punches up at you. It is always a better tactic to just give the stock response and move along.
“We have shown ourselves to be transparent in the lottery process and that question is absurd.” 16 words. You can move on. If Rome would have persisted? “We have shown ourselves to be transparent in the lottery process and that question is absurd.”
But David Stern likes punching down. And when you punch down, old saws like these conspiracy theories foment. Ewing to the Knicks becomes Davis to the Hornets. The criminal incompetence of Game 6 of the 2002 Western Conference finals becomes the incompetence of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals.Stern could have ended this discussion a long time ago.
But he keeps putting up another hook to feed the dialogue for the conspiracy theorists.