Adam Silver: I Haven't Given Any Thought to Becoming NFL Commissioner

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 14, 2019

NBA commissioner Adam Silver gestures during a news conference prior to the start of an NBA basketball game between New York Knicks and Washington Wizards at the O2 Arena, in London, Thursday, Jan.17, 2019. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
Alastair Grant/Associated Press

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver isn't considering a switch to the NFL to become that league's commissioner, according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, who also reported that "several different NFL owners have tried to persuade Silver to do so over the course of his five years as the NBA's commissioner."

Silver dismissed any interest in flipping sports:

"I'll just say I have not given it any thought. I feel very fortunate to be in this position. As a longtime fan, as a longtime league employee, the opportunity to become the commissioner of this league was beyond anything I even ever dreamed of as a kid.

"I've loved every day I've been in this job, and I think there's nothing but enormous opportunity ahead for this league. And ultimately, I realize I'm just passing through like every player who's gone through this league and ultimately like every owner, and I feel an enormous obligation to the fans and to this greater NBA family to do my best and try my hardest every day. But that's where 100 percent of my focus is."

Shelburne noted Silver did not explicitly give any indication NFL owners had approached him about the position.

The NFL has reportedly made inquiries in the past. ESPN The Magazine's Don Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham reported in November 2017 that "a confidant of one owner reached out to gauge whether Adam Silver, the NBA commissioner, would be interested in running the NFL, to which Silver immediately said no."

Any switch seems unlikely given Silver is under contract through the 2023-24 season and the NBA is thriving under his watch. Shelburne noted that league revenues have nearly doubled in his five years on the job from $4.8 billion to a projected $9.1 billion.

While the NFL continues to bring in enormous ratings and remains the biggest of the American sports leagues, it has also been plagued by a number of controversies in recent years, from the debate over players' kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial discrimination and police brutality to the league's slow response to concerns over head trauma and concussions.

The NBA, however, has been far more supportive of its players' taking political stances and speaking out against inequality and other issues.

"I think the NBA recognizes the intersectionality of race, culture and socioeconomic status of its players," said Malo Andre Hutson, an associate professor of urban planning at Columbia University, to Talya Minsberg of the New York Times in December. "I think it comes all the way from the commissioners to coaches."

As Minsberg noted, that has earned the NBA the title of "wokest" sports league, a description Silver is happy to embrace.

"I didn't know we were given that designation," he said, laughing. "But I understand the sentiment and we're proud of that."

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