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McCallum on Stern's 25 years as commish

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Beaker, Jan 30, 2009.

  1. Beaker

    Beaker Active Member

    SI's veteran scribe pens a laudatory piece on David Stern's time at the helm of the NBA:


    What say you? Agree with his assessment?
  2. Stoney

    Stoney Well-Known Member

    I think Stern's a wildly overrated figure. He gets a lot of credit for the NBA's popularity boom in the 1980s that he simply does not deserve. There's this frequently repeated theme that he guided the league out of the tape delay second tier status it had in 70s into the big time--that's utter bullshit.

    The truth is Stern didn't become commish until spring of 84, when the league had already been in ascension, in terms of rising attendance and TV ratings, for a few years starting from the point when Magic and Bird entered the league in the fall of 79. And the tape-delay days were already long gone. And only a couple months after Stern took the job the Celts and Lakers played that epic 84 Finals that drew more attention to the league than anything ever before. And a month after that the league had the greatest draft in it's history, bringing in guys like Hakeem, Barkley, Stockton and a fella named Michael Jordan who became the greatest and most charismatic player ever, and who Nike turned into the world's foremost media icon.

    These are the things that caused the league's upsurge right after Stern took over, and Stern had absolutely nothing to do with any of it, he was lucky and handed the job at the absolute best possible moment in the league's history.
  3. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    The NBA is far more popular than hockey.

    I would agree that he gets more credit than he deserves. Magic and Bird played such a huge role in the rise of popularity of the league and Jordan came right after Stern took over.

    He is also the dirtiest commissioner of most of our lifetimes and he definitely gets a free pass from 99 percent of the people who cover the NBA.
  4. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    Stern sent Bettman to destroy hockey. They all but succeeded.
  5. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    I would be curious what had better ratings, the World Series or the NBA Finals.
  6. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    Brilliant marketer. Lousy, lousy commissioner.

    Not coincidentally, the NBA has been a crap product for about 25 years. Because no, David, we don't all want to be like Mike.

    I want passing, I want teamwork, I want to see more pick-and-roll like Stockton and Malone and more players from Europe who actually learn how to do something besides dunk and walk. I don't want to see more isolation, more spoiled, entitled teenage washouts, more synthetic crap poured through the PA while the game is being played and more officiating stunts (and if you were going to do that, Dee Kantner is much better than Violet Palmer).

    And the moment you let Latrell Sprewell back on the court, you threw what was left of your integrity out the window.
  7. derwood

    derwood Active Member

    Stern was General Counsel for the NBA from1978 to 1984. He negotiated salary cap and drug testing.
  8. Small Town Guy

    Small Town Guy Well-Known Member

    No offense Sam, but, that comes off as someone who hasn't even watched the NBA in 25 years. Crap for 25 years? That means the 1985 Finals, the '86 Celtics, the Showtime Lakers, the repeat Lakers, the Bad Boys, Jordan's first three-peat were all crap? I've heard people rip on the last 10 years of the NBA, but haven't heard it extended to the late 80s and early 90s.

    Pick and roll...pretty much every team, that's an absolute staple of their offense these days, especially with the rise of great point guards in the league. Chris Paul, Deron Williams, pick and roll people to death. I just watched Raymond Felton look like John Stockton as the Bobcats ran the pick and roll constantly against the Lakers. Nash and Stoudemire were absolutely devastating on the pick and roll under D'Antoni. Whenever the Lakers need a big bucket, they go to the pick and roll with Kobe and a big man.

    European players might be soft (Jason Whitlock says), but they're among the most skilled players you'll see. They can shoot, run the court, handle the ball, pass, no matter their size. Did you see Pau Gasol, a 7-footer, grab a board, dribble between his legs and deliver a no-look pass a month ago?

    With the new age rules, there really aren't anymore teenagers coming into the league, not that it was always a bad thing considering former teen players Kobe, LeBron, KG, and Dwight Howard are four of the 10 best players in the league. And Andrew Bynum was 18 when he entered the league and now at 21 is turning into a dominant big man.

    There's still a lot of isolation, yeah, but that's always going to be the case. But also in every game there is amazing passing, from point guards to big guys who run and see the court better than point guards did 30 years ago.

    I will agree with the PA stuff. I can't even hear the announcers during T-Wolves games because there's never a second of silence from the PA. But that's fairly trivial, and not a reason to say the nba's been crap for 25 years.

    And I'd actually say his marketing isn't up to task, because the NBA's been a pretty damn good product the last several years, but people still think every game is the Heat vs. Knicks from 1999.

    On another note, glad that McCallum's still producing stories. I wonder when his buyout goes into effect and he's done at SI?
  9. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Active Member

    To clarify, I'm ALL for the Euros because they learn more different facets of the game. They learn that "pass" isn't a four-letter word, they learn to handle the ball properly, they learn to shoot instead of making everything a kamikaze drive to the basket.

    And STG, you pointed to four guys who did make it as teenagers. How many others washed out? Some could say that's lot to put on David Stern, but he could have mandated rules long before it became an issue. Some could also argue that Stern can't save them all from themselves. Plenty of food for thought on that topic, but given the way that some people slobber all over Stern, a worthy point IMO.

    If I was not clear on that front, then let the record show ...
  10. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    During Jordan's prime, I would argue the NBA was the most popular pro sport in the country.

    Now, it's the NFL and it's not even remotely close. I don't care how good LeBron and Kobe are, neither can do for the NBA what Jordan did.
  11. Actually, most of the HS kids who get into the league stay there.
    As opposed to all those HS football stars who never get a shot at the NFL because they get used up playing de facto professional football on Saturday afternoons.
    And I got to say, Sam, if you don't think the NBA has a quality product going for it now, I don't know what you're watching.
  12. Some Guy

    Some Guy Active Member

    And yet, every time the Spurs -- a team that does all of the above, and does it well -- are in the Finals, the ratings take a nosedive.

    Go figure, huh?

    I think the "NBA is crap" argument has become overrated. Yes, the bad teams play bad basketball (again, go figure?). But by and large, the good teams (Lakers, Celtics, Magic, Spurs, Hornets, etc) do all of the things you're asking for.
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