David Stern is nearing the end of his highly successful run as NBA commissioner, but his final press conference in London proved that he's still on top of the key questions facing the league he helped build.
Oh, and he also reminded everyone that he's still a complete boss. Nobody has mastered the sneering, pleasantly condescending tone like him. The best part is, he knows his reputation now and plays up to it for the enjoyment of the media.
Stern says it's always been a pleasure to deal with the media. I'm pretty sure there was some sarcasm in there.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 16, 2014
Following his inimitable greeting, Stern moved on to the issues. First on the list: the unlikelihood of exhibition NBA games in other European cities:
Stern downplays games in other cities in Europe because of the economic difficulties facing the continent.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 16, 2014
On the broader topic of international expansion, Stern's heir to the throne spoke up:
Adam Silver says the NBA will continue to consider Europe for expansion and would want a division rather than just a team.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 16, 2014
While taking the NBA global is a long way down the road, domestic expansion is something that continues to interest the league more immediately:
"Under the right circumstances we'd love to see a team back in Seattle," - NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 16, 2014
It's going to take some time to heal the wounds caused by tearing the Sonics away from Seattle, but a new team could sure help the process.
Of course, one of the hottest topics in the NBA took center stage. Stern addressed the tanking issue, as well as the related call for lottery reform that has been gaining volume this season:
NBA commissioner David Stern says "maybe its time" to look at the draft lottery again and tinker with it a little bit more.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) January 16, 2014
Sounds promising, right?
Stern:"It's as though a generation have forgotten why the draft lottery was implemented..I'm much less believing of the media's take on this— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) January 16, 2014
And Silver fielded questions about the league's current schedule, something many pundits are blaming for the rash of high-profile injuries. From the sound of it, Silver isn't convinced there's a link between season length and injuries:
Adam Silver says there are "no plans at this time" to shorten the NBA's 82-game schedule.— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 16, 2014
Finally, Stern tossed in a parting quip worthy of his legacy as a dry humorist:
Stern on Silver: "He's been the commissioner for the last 10 years. I just haven't given him the check."— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 16, 2014
The commish has grown a little stodgy in his final years, but everybody is going to miss the innovative, calculating thinker who grew the NBA into what it is today—if only for his legendary swagger in press conferences.
Silver has plenty to live up to—in more ways than one.