Rivalries are all fun, games and awful trash talk until the NBA gets involved.
According to the New York Post's Fred Kerber, David Stern arranged a sit-down between New York Knicks owner James Dolan and Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov in an attempt to squash any beef between the two, like only an overprotective mother would:
Play nice, guys.
That essentially was the directive given to owners James Dolan of the Knicks and Mikhail Prokhorov of the Nets this past season during a meeting orchestrated by NBA Commissioner David Stern, who wanted to snuff any lingering tension between the two and prevent a full-blown feud, multiple league sources told The Post.
The official also confirmed Stern assisted in getting the pair together in an attempt to prevent a wave of spitballs going back and forth over the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges.
Stern's involvement really gives credence to the whole "the NBA has gone soft" argument that's flown around these past few years. Nothing worthy of him intervening has gone down (that we know of).
What's this meeting supposed to accomplish then?
Did Stern force each owner into a corner on a timeout? Were they sent to bed without dessert? Have they been informed the NBA will start taxing them if they don't put a stop to this not-so-seething dispute?
This report reeks of Stern's propensity for micromanaging. Had Prokhorov's minions secretly been serving J.R. Smith light beer during his Saturday-night excursions or Dolan sent covert operatives to yellow Prokhorov's dainty smile then I get it, Stern would have to intervene.
To cut this blossoming rivalry off at the legs now, however, makes no sense. It's good for both teams and the fan bases, which means it's also good for the NBA.
Or so you would think.
By telling the Knicks and Nets to cool the jets on their bickering, the league may have spared us from some embarrassing smack talk, but it potentially deprived us of some hallmark off-court moments.
Muzzling the owners and players ensures we'll never hear Pablo Prigioni jacket the Nets with Argentinean obscenities during an interview. Or see Jason Terry tattoo a portrait of him elbowing Smith on his forearm.
That is if the Knicks and Nets abide by Stern's tyrannical rule, which they may.
A source told Kerber the meeting was "cordial and friendly." I can only assume that means Dolan and Prokhorov spoon-fed each other some rice pudding before parting company.
We can only hope this rivalry doesn't drown in that metaphorical pudding.