It is no secret that I am no big fan of David Stern. A New Yorker, raised in a Jewish family in Teaneck, who went on to Rutgers, then law school at Columbia. He became a legal counsel for the NBA in the 70's and by February 1, 1984, he became the Commissioner of the league.
I give this abbreviated resume of Stern's to show that there is a disconnect here. A man, who has never even played basketball should not be running the professional league of basketball! Not for almost 30 years!!!
I have seen the tell-tale signs that the league has outgrown him through the years. During the Jordan era, I remember it was a bit of a controversy at first when the Bulls began wearing their shorts a little longer. Now it's standard around the league. Then the issue was braids, then tattooes, then jeans, and so on. Times have changed. The NBA is no longer an all-white, boring organization of pickup players. The NBA boasts some of the most freakishly athletic players in the world. The games are often tantalizing and sometimes jaw dropping. And here you have this "old guy" running it, who can't even relate to them on a basic level because he's never even been an athlete.
Now the lockout looms. Preseason is gone. We're moving into the first month of the season being lost, and he is working against the players he is supposed to lead, more than ever. Playing off of public scrutiny and prejudices to victimize himself, then hoping to rebuild that taint if an agreement is reached. This is clearly not someone who should be over a league of professional basketball players.
So, on his HBO show, Bryant Gumbel decided to point that out. He referred to Stern as a "...modern plantation owner...." The words were harsh, shocking even, to some. But, was Gumbel right?