Tuesday, October 11, 2011
David Stern Dismantles NBA, As We Laugh
His legacy is forever tarnished, NBA commissioner David Stern, simply for poisoning the association that he has not overseen too well, sabotaging the integrity of the sport, when he is most famous for the globalization in basketball, and lastly, losing power in his vision for the league.
The NBA recently undermined its brand and dismantled its product by the apathy and its unwillingness to save the league, secure the wealthy enterprise from harm in the decrease in revenue. It was no surprise not to hear much noise on 63rd street, one of the busiest streets in New York, where Billy Hunter walked into view as cameramen swarmed around him to capture the best possible photo shot.
When he walked and stood on the sidewalk, tired of the madness from the prolonged lockout that has created chaos more than peace, reporters gathered to interview Hunter, who is beyond petulant and fatigue.
The more ridiculous notion is that Stern is humiliated when he announced the NBA cancelled the first two weeks of the season Monday night. The cancellation of the season for the industry is absurd and has gotten to the point when both sides are far apart in a unanimous agreement to end the labor fuss.
"It goes back to a comment that David said to me several years ago, when he said this is what my owners have to have," Hunter said Monday night. "And I said, 'Well, the only way you're going to get that is, you prepare to lock us out for a year or two.' And he's indicated to me that they're willing to do it. So my belief and contention is that everything that he's done has demonstrated that he's following that script."
The script, however, is destroying his legacy -- a reputation that never really existed for a man who never had control of his own business as team owners dictated how the business is ran. The clock was ticking for the two sides to place a deal on the table, but the stupidity and greed defaced the beauty of pro basketball and exasperated a handful of disgruntled fans.
It's one of the craziest scenarios in NBA history, and Stern is highly responsible for the corruption, with basketball destroyed in the bleak era of labor talks. For all the commotion that has forestalled the season, thus the whole season may not be lost unless the two sides cannot end the ugliness of labor disputes -- as advertised -- he is after all revealing to fans that he is the worst commissioner in sports.
This is how it is for Stern, and secured with the knowledge of understanding the anger from fans, he fled the hotel and wisely left on 63rd Street and the corner of Lexington Avenue. He fought off a multitude of reporters at the NBA labor meetings and hastily left the hotel by walking through an empty lobby.
And near the end of his news conference, in denial and refusing to acknowledge the truth in regards to the hideous lockout, not only reducing businesses' revenue in cities but also crushing the credibility of the well-respected league other than football, he avoided the media.
It's a trend that should continue for quite some time, and everywhere he goes until the lockout comes to an end, he'll be ashamed of showing his face in the public and frightened over the possibility of hacklers. The confusion of his lockout that cost regular-season games was the result for Stern having uneasiness. It was, of all things, a moment that fended off the madness when he walked under the hotel canopy to issue his announcement.
The labor dispute will forever smudge his legacy, and in his regime, he's never ruled as commissioner but failed by his poor judgment. If he wants to stay in power, after everybody have suggested that he cannot give the owners hegemony to manipulate the process of labor talks.
In the midst of the contentious stupidity between NBA players and owners, Stern has lost support, he's not the unrelenting, he's not the disciplinary head honcho and he's listening to the owners, falling into their deceptive trap of disingenuous games. As the most hated commissioner in pro sports, he notoriously has lost not only prestige in his tenure but he lost power with his owners, and doesn't even have the voice to stand up to their nonsense.
If he ever wants the regards of as commissioner in this generation, he'd have to heel the woes and undo his failures, engaged in his pride and legacy more than he is in restoring order for basketball. It figures, given that the owners manipulated the cancellation because they truly believe they can obtain a stiffer luxury tax to provide competitive balance.
The owners are asking for the league the sport to uphold financial losses, but the stubborn businessmen haven't seen progress so are willing to waste an entire season. It's the second half-season NBA lockout under Stern, and here he is again getting pushed around by the richest owners. He's in the toughest position, and has decided to cancel the regular-season games until further notice, refusing to give his effort in encouraging players in discussion for a new collective bargaining agreement.
With the cancellation of games, having gotten uglier and more chaotic, the league lost an estimate $200 million from the two weeks of cancelled games. In the meantime, owners will attempt to regain the money with another proposal to make matters worse for a league of selfish team owners and a powerless commissioner in a volatile and unbalanced business.
It's a lingering fuss over money, a convoluted ordeal that has become grotesque and presents the lack of professionalism, integrity and dignity. It's a shame both sides, including Stern as well in these dire situations, act like children unable to have successful negotiations to stop the endless dispute. Fans are upset. Owners are selfish. And Stern is impotent. It almost reached the point that some players’ agents were in agreement to decertify the union a couple of weeks ago.
More than anything, it was a fray between Stern and fans, more than it was a fight between Stern and the players or which ever position the dispute has taken. What it is, of course, is Stern wants to be the important one in all of this mess, he wants to speak for everyone, and risk his sport in a courtroom.
Has it ever dawn on him, with two weeks of the regular season lost and the shortage of profit, that he is publicly humiliating his own association, destroying a game with an influx of star players and instead minding his owners? He's not a winner, but his owners are winners. He doesn't feel sorry for fans, and couldn't care less about NBA fans.
All he cares about his earning his fair share of bonuses. In this case, the NBA is beyond repair and the images are washed away by the failures and ineptitude. The public has lost respect for Stern, refusing to hear apologies and realizes he's in the business for himself. Aiming to earn his huge salary, his bonus money, he's not focused on finding a cure for the corroded business he poorly runs.
The politics are trivial to fans, and the fans shouldn't find the fuss important. Amid all this silliness, Stern has been on the owners’ side and the players offered givebacks, but Stern and his owners mocked them and disapproved it. For years now, the owners were confident Stern would be on the same level as the players. When there is billions involved, the last thing the agents want is a loss in the war.
The harsh reality is that Stern is not a manipulator, but a damn crook in it for the money, if nothing else. A few years ago he called ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who was banned from the league for his point-shaving scandal, a "rogue, isolated criminal," but we're not too sure whether he's a rogue as well. His agenda, as it turns out, is making more money, not revitalizing the game when players have been contacted to meet in Miami and Los Angeles to resolve the disparity.
The worst of all is Stern lagging in negotiations, pushing back deadlines with his self-imposed meetings, but then the union promptly cancels the player meetings and return to the cureless negotiations that have no point. The talks never resolved anything on Monday and a deal wasn't put into order in a timely fashion. It's quite simply owners are asking the players to take cuts in their salaries in an awful business, losing profit with the fragile economy that is a mean recession.
Derek Fisher, Players Association president, is trying to resolve the issue and suggested that players post inspirational words on Twitter. The truth is players in defense have every right to battle in the war, particularly because the players are those who bring the revenue and excitement which lure fans to brace the sport. But it's believable to assume that the players will become involve in the tussle, confident the fight will soon end.
It's hard to imagine with Stern in the commissioner's chair.