Guard: Stephen Curry
Guard: Kobe Bryant
Forward: Kevin Durant
Forward: Blake Griffin
Forward: Kevin Love
Guard: Kyrie Irving
Guard: Dwyane Wade
Forward: Paul George
Forward: LeBron James
Forward: Carmelo Anthony
Guard: Chris Paul
Guard: Tony Parker
Frontcourt: Dwight Howard
Frontcourt: Dirk Nowitzki
Frontcourt: LaMarcus Aldridge
Wild Card: Damian Lillard
Wild Card: James Harden
Guard: John Wall
Guard: DeMar DeRozan
Frontcourt: Paul Millsap
Frontcourt: Joakim Noah
Frontcourt: Roy Hibbert
Wild Card: Chris Bosh
Wild Card: Joe Johnson
BBVA Rising Stars Challenge:
- TEAM WEBBER
Tim Hardaway Jr.
- TEAM HILL
Slam Dunk Contest:
Kind of like the second-semester college senior, who knows their doom is near (graduation) — it was only a matter of time until us NBA-lovers had to face this day.
Tonight: our leader, visionary, and most importantly: our commissioner – David Stern — has retired.
Similar to when Shawn “The Heartbreak Kid” Michaels fought ‘The Undertaker’ at Wrestlemania XXV – in a “I will retire if I lose” Match – A defeated David Stern used his last breath to get off his knees, and slap Mark Cuban ($100,000 fine for postgame comments), J.R. Smith ($50,000 for untying shoe laces), David West ($25,000 fine for a “flagrant” foul) in the face:
…before getting tombstoned and pinned into retirement:
In 1966, Stern’s first association with the NBA came as an outside counsel via the firm of Proskauer Rose. By 1978, he was the NBA’s general counsel under NBA Commissioner Larry O’Brien – only two years later: promoted to Executive Vice President of the NBA.
Even before he was knighted Commissioner of the NBA, Stern’s impact on the league was substantial – as he instituted the NBA’s first drug policy (amongst rampant cocaine use by players), and proposed a “salary cap”, which was immediately adopted.
On February 1st, 1984 – David Stern was named Commissioner of the National Basketball Association.
Conveniently, coincidentally, or via some supernatural force: the 1984-1985 season just happened to be the year Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, and John Stockton were drafted into the NBA … maybe you’ve heard of them.
Fast-forwarding to present time: David Stern’s achievements are unfathomable in regards to the league’s standing, before he took over:
- Expanded the NBA from to include 7 new NBA franchises (Hornets, Timberwolves, Heat, Magic, Grizzlies, Raptors, Bobcats)
- Negotiated a deal in 1988, with Turner Sports, to broadcast games nationally AND internationally
- Eliminated a rampant drug problem amongst players
- The driving force behind the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team”
- Executed and debuted two International Franchise(s) in 1995
- Created an operational, professional basketball league for Women (WNBA) in 1996
- Created an operational “minor-league” basketball league for NBA teams to use at their disposal, in 2001.
- Implemented a draft age minimum for prospective players.
- Increased revenue 20% between the years 2011-2012, totaling $5 Billion.
Question: why was the ‘Dark Side’ so frowned upon in ‘Star Wars’?
What exactly was so immoral about it? — that its followers channeled “emotion” into their religion? They shot lightning bolts out of their fingers, instead of using telepathy like the Jedi? “Dark Side” disciples wore dark-hooded Snuggies everywhere?
Think about it for a second – other than blowing up a planet of innocent people, and murdering an entire clan of warriors dedicated to maintaining peace in the galaxy … what did the “Emperor” ever do wrong? Last time I checked – war usually has casualties.
Why was the incumbent “Jedi” way of life the ONLY preferred lifestyle?
Ok — I realize he seized power of a corrupt government, and used an “iron fist” mentality to turn the three branches of the once-Democratic government, into a galactic empire…
But, again, I ask: So what?
I’m here today to defend, honor, and celebrate the legacy of Professional Sports’ “Sith Lord” – David Joel Stern.
While the Commissioner is regarded as the “savior” of professional basketball, I wish I could sit here and say with a straight-face that the Commissioner’s run was legitimate and without controversy … but, as you all know – there may or may not have been a few “WTF?” moments that occurred at the NBA Front Office.
Throughout Stern’s tenure, he has (I know I omit a few, so bear with me here):
- Relocated 6 NBA Franchises (Clippers, Kings, Grizzlies, Nets, Hornets, and the *GULP* Sonics)
- Spear-headed FOUR … FOUR … NBA lockouts (1995, 1996, 1998-1999, 2011)
- The 1985 Frozen, “Bent-Corner” Knicks Envelope
- Implemented an automatic one-game suspension rule for leaving the bench during a timeout, which, in turn: laid the groundwork for the most notorious fixing of a playoff series in professional sports history (2007 Spurs-Suns, Tim Donaghy)
- Fined the Minnesota Timberwolves $3.5 Million, and voided three 1st Round Draft Picks for “Tampering” with Joe Smith.
- Allowed the purchase and relocation of the Seattle Supersonics franchise (14th largest US market) to Oklahoma City (45th largest US market). In addition, Stern lead the defense against Howard Schultz – who sued the NBA, and took the Seattle relocation to court in 2008 … only to fail.
- Was quoted at the 2011 All-Star Game (Last season before the most-recent lockout), in an Owners/Players only meeting that he: “knew where the dead bodies are buried, because I buried them myself.” – in regards to the impending lockout threats by the NBA Players Association.
- On December 8th, 2011: David Stern vetoed a trade that would have sent perennial all-star, and All-World Point Guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers – his reasoning was quoted as “basketball reasons.” Chris Paul was eventually traded to the Lakers’ inner-city rivals: The Clippers.
- In light of Michael Jordan’s six-figure gambling, (which may have included bets on NBA games) – it is rumored that NBA commissioner David Stern suspended Jordan for the 1993-94 season. But in order to not sully the name of the league’s biggest ticket and bring increased scrutiny on the NBA, Stern allowed Jordan to say he was “retiring” to try baseball.
- In 2012, the league-owned New Orleans Hornets were sold to local businessman and New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson. Within a few short months, the New Orleans Hornets miraculously received the #1 Pick in the NBA Draft, despite only having a 13.7% chance of obtaining the top pick – and were essentially given the top talent (Anthony Davis) the draft had seen in years. Following this, David Stern was a guest on the ‘Jim Rome is Burning’ radio broadcast: in which he responded to a question about NBA Draft Lottery conspiracies with: “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”
- And what will go down as arguably David Stern’s most memorable act as commissioner: He fined the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 … that’s: Two Hundred and Fifty THOUSAND Dollars … for “resting” their players before a nationally-televised regular-season game against the Miami Heat. Stern’s reasoning was that the Spurs created a “disservice to the league and fans”.
Now comes the hard part… The goodbye.
I started Tweeting in 2009, and really had no clue what I was doing.
I originally used it as a mechanism to vent about the NBA and David Stern, because: Facebook had turned into babies, plane wings, Instagram food pictures, and weddings … and I felt a little awkward, screaming about Nick Young’s 360 dunk from the foul line, in the middle of all that.
Well, it’s now 2014 – I still vent about the NBA, and I’ve loved every minute of it.
For some reason, people started following me on Twitter – and to this day: I remain humbly blown away by the response & interaction I’ve received from you guys, and that my immaturity could attract real human fans.
With that said, if you’re reading this: we have ‘broken bread’ with one another – and it wasn’t “fate” or some supernatural force that brought us together, it was our Commissioner: David Stern.
It’s one thing that you and I will forever have in common: our mutual understanding of his presence…
Whether you love him, hate him, or are somewhere in between – we can all agree that we love to hate David Stern.
You didn’t boo him at the NBA Draft because you hated him, you booed him because he was the Vince McMahon of Professional Sports – dangling what you desired most, as a basketball fan, right in-front of your face … but just far enough away, that you never had a chance of getting it.
Here’s the catch: with David Stern, you never knew what YOU wanted. The blatant manipulation of drafts, playoff games, referee assignments, and TV ratings – David Stern’s witchcraft plagued your mind for three decades, causing you to lust for more – even when you had it all.
I like to think of Stern’s tenure as a ‘Dog chasing the Ice Cream Truck’ … the dog will run after the ice cream truck until it dies from exhaustion, but, what happens when the dog finally catches said Ice Cream Truck?
Nothing, because the best part of chasing the Ice Cream Truck was the anticipation of catching the Ice Cream Truck.
For 30 years: David Stern had unlimited gasoline, and drove just fast enough so that you would never catch up to him, but, kept you within a distance that made you not give up.
Alright, guys – this is it.
I want to use this last chapter, of my last post, to thank you everyone who made #TeamStern such a success and more importantly: fun.
Whether it was:
- Live-tweeting NBA games play-by-play
- Betting on NBA games
- Subtweeting Russell Westbrook
- The emotional roller coaster of rooting for J.R. Smith
- The emotional roller coaster of rooting for Carmelo Anthony
- The emotional roller coaster of rooting for (Insert anything Knicks-related HERE)
- Living vicariously through my childhood through Twitter through the NBA through all of you thro — … I’m getting dizzy/I’ll just stop.
Listen, I know I’m an idiot and 1 out of 100 things I say are supported by facts/real numbers … but, you all gave me the opportunity to vocalize (to a legit audience) something I’m thoroughly passionate about. Thus, I can honestly say: I don’t know if I’d be as obsessive of an NBA fan as I am now, without the interaction from all of my fellow Twitter Stern Disciples – and I’m damn proud of that.
However, just like life: all of our Twitter accounts are going to die eventually – it’s just a matter of when and where.
With The Commissioner’s retirement official, I’ve decided that this is the best time for me to pull the proverbial cord.
David Stern may be gone, but, as Babe Ruth told Benny ‘The Jet’ Rodriguez in ‘The Sandlot’: “Heroes Get Remembered, but, #TeamStern [legends]will Never Die”
So, one last time: thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for following @World_Wide_Wob … I truly have enjoyed being your voice of the Association.
My Twitter Tombstone — the Top 10 David Stern GIFs of All-Time: