Former NBA Commissioner David Stern has responded to criticism leveled against him by HBO Sports' Bryant Gumbel in which Gumbel compared Stern to a "plantation overseer."
"My reaction was that Bryant Gumbel is an idiot and that I considered it a badge of honor," Stern said on the podcast Nunyo & Company (h/t theScore's John Chick). "He was repeating something that the players representatives had said in the middle of a lockout. He was just regurgitating something."
Stern added that he has "done more for people of color than [Gumbel]."
Gumbel's comments came during an October 2011 episode of Real Sports as the NBA lockout was ongoing (h/t Pro Basketball Talk's Kurt Helin):
"Stern's version of what’s been going on behind closed doors has, of course, been disputed. But his efforts were typical of a commissioner, who has always seemed eager to be viewed as some kind of modern plantation overseer treating NBA men as if they were his boys. It's part of Stern's M.O. Like his past self-serving edicts on dress code or the questioning of officials, his moves are intended to do little more than show how he's the one keeping the hired hands in their place."
Stern also discussed the comments during an interview with the Wall Street Journal's Lee Hawkins in 2013. At the time, Stern said his record speaks for itself and that he laughed off the comments and "many of my friends—mostly African American—laughed with me" (at the 2:40 mark of the video below):
Earlier in the Wall Street Journal interview, Stern said he was happy to see increased diversity among NBA ownerships and coaching ranks. During Stern's time as commissioner, Bob Johnson became the first black majority owner of a major American sports franchise when he assumed control of the expansion Charlotte Bobcats in 2002.
Stern resigned as NBA commissioner in January 2014 and was replaced by Adam Silver.