I smell a conspiracy theory.
Or is that the scent of retirement?
David Stern will step down as NBA commissioner on Feb. 1, 2014, league sources tell Y! Sports. Deputy Adam Silver will replace Stern.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) October 25, 2012
To be honest, Stern's retirement is anything but shocking.
Not only have basketball pundits been calling for his job since before the NBA lockout, but he's 70 and will be 71 when he steps down. And for all the criticism we throw his way, we have to acknowledge that at his age—after exactly 30 years at the helm—running this league must be tiresome.
Which brings us to Silver.
Stern's protégé has held his current position since 2006 and, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, was endorsed by Stern himself and unanimously elected by the league's Board of Governors to succeed him:
NBA commissioner David Stern will retire on Feb. 1, 2014, 30 years after he took charge of the league, and will be replaced by deputy commissioner Adam Silver.
The announcement came at an NBA Board of Governors meeting Thursday.
Stern told owners during their two days of meetings of his plans, and the board unanimously decided Silver would be his successor.
What does this mean for the NBA?
Truth be told, almost nothing.
Silver has worked alongside Stern for more than six years and been groomed by the commissioner for this position.
Stern even said one of the things he did best as the Association's commissioner was "provide a successor."
So don't expect much of anything. Because while Silver may be a different hired gun, he'll be firing the same old bullets.
Which really isn't that bad for the NBA.
For all the chastising, for all the lockout-related puns, Stern hasn't been a horrible commissioner. He hasn't been a hero, but the league hasn't needed one—its needed a scapegoat.
When anything goes wrong, Stern, the commissioner, is the one we immediately blame.
From lockouts to the New Orleans Hornets receiving the top pick in the 2012 NBA draft to the 90-second cap on pregame rituals, Stern has been the one we seek out and throw metaphorical rocks at.
And soon enough, that will be Silver's responsibility.
Silver, the man who has watched as Stern has downplayed critics, embraced a role of false villainy and, most importantly, led the NBA to a reality where it has never been more profitable.
Don't expect him to coddle the players, nor is he liable to table Stern's attempts to further the Association's global reach.
So for all the players currently popping bottles of champagne and toasting to a new era in 2014, corking those bottles of bubbly is your best option.
Because while Silver isn't Stern, he represents an extension of him.
Yes, he is new to the position, a fresh face behind the commissioner's podium and an unaccustomed fixture on which the basketball world can now displace the blame for all that goes awry.
But he is also someone who will stay the course—Stern's course.