Trevor Freeman
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May 17 - Too Stern

My biggest objection with Amare Stoudamire and Boris Diaw being suspended for Game 5 was not
the complete injustice of it.  And that is saying an awful lot because the fairness of David Stern’s
decision to suspend the two of them was only a slight notch below Vince McMahon forcing Bobby
Lashley to have to defend his ECW title against him, Shane McMahon and Umaga in a handicap
match on the last pay-per view.  My beef with the commissioner lies in the absolute lack of testicular
fortitude he put on display when he cancelled his scheduled appearance in Phoenix after making the
suspension decision.  

This is not the first time David Stern has shown that he is an incompetent twit who may also be
smuggling a pair of raisins under his boxer shorts.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the other
“moves” he has made over the past fifteen years that have helped the NBA get passed by the NFL as
the premier professional sports league in our country.

1.  Moving the TV deal from NBC to the current conglomerate.

Instead of keeping the NBA on NBC, which was a raging success, Stern decided to go with this
NBATV, ESPN, ABC (for about 3 regular season games a year) and TNT format.  This has been an
unmitigated disaster for the NBA.  In what world did it make sense to not make the NBA available for
the many people who do not have cable?  How many people with cable did they think were going to
shell out $199 a year to watch the NBA?  It was a move that made no sense whatsoever.  

Let me use this analogy.  Two bars open across the street from each other.  One is named “NBA” and
the other is named “NCAA”.  The one named “NBA” has a nice lounge area, flatscreen TVs, a large
menu, hot bartenders that don’t even pretend to be interested and a guy giving away mints, cologne
and hair gel in the bathroom.  The girls who frequent the bar are nice, but they expect drinks to be
bought for them before they even begin to give you the time of day.  Oh…..and a pint of Yuengling
costs $8.  Meanwhile there is another bar directly across the street called “NCAA”.  No flatscreens but
plenty of regular TVs, no lounge-type furniture but plenty of wooden four seat tables in the back.  No
guy giving away mints in the bathroom.  However the bartenders all have big breasts and give off that
“you may get lucky if you keep tipping well” vibe, the chicken wings are fantastic and a pint of
Yuengling costs $3.  Which bar would you choose to go to?  I think we all know the answer to that
question.  All of us…….except David Stern.  Because the pro game has to compete with the college
game during the same time slots, the only thing leaving NBC did was help college basketball pick up
a larger number of casual fans.  

2.  Moving the minimum age rule to one year out of high school instead of three years like the NFL’s.

Stern might as well have handed over his nutsack at the negotiating table when he caved on this.  All
year long, we heard that “the NBA is going to adopt the NFL’s policy” then they just completely caved
under veiled threats of litigation.  Anybody who follows the sport of basketball knows that if players
were forced to stay in school through their junior year that it would impact both the NCAA and NBA
games in an extremely positive way.    

The NFL’s rule is something that the league has gone to the mat for and will do whatever it takes to
defend.  You know why?  Because this rule is a vital part of why the league has been so successful.  
People grow attachments to certain players in college and they then follow that player into the pros.  
Players also become recognizable brand images due to their success on the collegiate level.  To top
it all off they are more ready to make an impact because they are older and stronger.  The NBA
needed to put this rule in and they failed.  It is as simple as that.

3.  Instituting a dress code for the players.

Do you want to know why the league has a perception of thuggery?  It is because its management
caves into media pressure and does moronic things like instituting a dress code for its players.  

Josh Hancock was wasted, had an eighth of Missouri’s finest herb, and was talking with a female
acquaintance when we crashed his car around midnight (about what…..I think a solid assumption
can be made).  Is this any better or worse than Stephen Jackson firing off his gun at a strip club?  If
the NBA wasn’t so concerned about its public perception then nobody else would be.  I guarantee it.

4.  Killing the “game” atmosphere

If there is anything the NBA should regulate it is the amount of crappy music I hear during each game.
At some point over the last fifteen years, a decision was made to turn every NBA game into a trip to
the China Club. What they haven’t realized is that when people go to games………they go to watch
basketball.  We aren’t there to hear “Let’s Get It Started” twenty-six times over a three-hour period.  We
don’t need a cue to start yelling “defense”.  All we need is a basketball, players, a few coaches and
some quality hot dog and beer vendors.  This is so easy yet it gets screwed up at 93.2% of all NBA
games.       

The NBA was once the dominant professional sports league in this country.  It mattered.  When
Magic, Larry and Michael were executing their craft it was appointment viewing.  Over time, that love of
the game disappeared with the casual fans whose support the league and its owners are so
desperately seeking.  In my opinion that support eroded due to the laughable leadership of one
person.  The owners of the teams in this great league need to take a step.  Fire Stern.  Get back on
NBC.  And get the game back where it belongs.


If you have any questions or comments feel free to e-mail me at
trevor.freeman@realityfanforum.com.