NBA General

David Stern’s word dilemma

Apparently, I’m the only one who notices the hypocrisy that has enveloped David Stern in his old age.

Now, I admit that I haven’t watched more than two quarters of any NBA regular season game since the lockout and I admit that before Hurricane Katrina, I thought the Hornets were still in Charlotte, so I’m probably missing something, but how does Stern get off forcing his employees to wear suits to the games but refer to them as players when they complain about the game ball? I think that’s hypocrisy.Stern has created a one-man dictatorship of the NBA, which did wonders at first to extend the presence of the league first in the United States and more recently internationally. But he’s found himself willing to change the entire rules of the game on a whim.

He had the owners vote to extend the first round of the playoffs from five to seven games in the middle of the season, making the series drag on longer and lose intensity; he legalized the zone defense, hindering offensive production; he instituted rules barring high school seniors from the draft, which could cost the league marketability if one of the highly touted prospects gets hurt (imagine the NBA without LeBron).

And this year, he decided that everyone, players included, were employees, and thus had to wear a suit and tie to games. However, when they complained about the new game ball, a ball he admits was introduced without player input, they are now just “players.”

When I think “player,” I don’t think suit and tie. When I think “employee,” I don’t think synthetic basketballs.

Yet Stern has decided to merge the words only when it benefits him. When the players, or rather “employees” are wearing suits and ties to games, they’re backs are against the wall. But when Stern introduces a new basketball without their consent, they’re suddenly “players” again.

He did not want their input on the ball and thus he calls them players. He has to listen to employees and work with employees, but he can just dictate players.

And it’s hypocrisy.

I’m not defending the players; heck, if anything, I think they should shut up and play (or in Iverson’s case, practice), but Stern definitely needs to reconsider his position.

Are they employees or players?

A player, by definition, is “one who participates in a game or sport.” An employee is “a person who works for another in return for financial or other compensation.”

Is that not a big difference?

If Stern wants his players to be considered employees, he needs to refer to them as such; he can’t go around calling them players. They can be one but not the other.

But there’s no reason to expect he’ll change. Stern has developed a stranglehold over the NBA and its operations and he isn’t going anywhere soon.

Now he looks to bring the game to Europe and market it all over the world, and thus he needs to eliminate much of the hip-hop culture.

There’s nothing wrong with that, but there’s a limit. He needs to decide whether or not the athletes are players or employees.

Until he does that, Stern will be walking the tight line. The words cannot be used to refer to the same thing and he needs to figure out which it is.

Are they players or are they employees?

I’m still not planning on watching the NBA and his decision will do little to change my view of the league, but his hypocrisy brings me further from the league and keeps me indifferent to the teams.

As a Miami Heat fan from when I did watch the NBA, I was excited that they won the title. Ten minutes later, I had forgotten.

I’m still smiling about the University of Florida winning the college basketball championship.

Nothing Stern does will be likely to change that.

By bsd987

I have written for since 2004 and was named a featured writer in 2006. I have been Co-Editor of the site since January 1, 2009. I also write for where I am a founding member of the Tennis Roundtable and one of the chief contributors to both the Tennis and Horse Racing sections.

I am "Stat Boy" for's weekly podcast, Poor Man's PTI.

I am currently a Junior at Rice University majoring in History and Medieval Studies. My senior thesis will focus on the desegregation of football in Texas and its affect of racial relations.

Please direct all inquiries to [email protected]

Burton DeWitt
Co-Editor of

2 replies on “David Stern’s word dilemma”

Thank you! For writing what everyone is thinking. Stern has to be the 2nd worse comish in sports. (behind Betman)

uxley, what didn’t you like if you vote against an article, it does no good unless you tell why you voted against it so that the author can improve his writing.

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