Friday, February 13, 2009

Endless Regimes We Can Believe In

Here's something weird: the US is now lead by a young-ish black guy who plays basketball and listens to Jay-Z, while the NBA, who's relevant personnel is 85% black, is run by a 90-year old white dinosaur who has only ever touched a basketball for photo-ops.

The David's 25th anniversary as commissioner has unleashed an outpouring of praise and superlatives from the sports media establishment. Seeking opinions on Stern's reign, ESPN went out and got some soundbites from non-biased individuals like an NBA team president and two NBA team owners (note: they think he's great). They balanced the coverage with a selected quote from the NBA's 2-time MVP Steve Nash who did not disagree in polite company. So now that we've heard from all sides I guess that settles it. Oh and also Mike Breen and Mark Jackson think he's the second coming. And Jeremy Schaap wants him to be a US Senator, which is pretty incredible when you think about it. But anyway ESPN climaxed with a softly-lit puff-piece "interview" with Stern (on the sidebar) that was not at all cringe-inducing. David Stern does not at all resemble Gollum from the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit and his smile is 100% natural for an invertebrate with translucent skin. Also, his teeth are not the color of creamed corn.

So while America celebrates hope and change we must simultaneously endure ESPN masturbating to stasis and entrenched power and the glory of the status quo. And better yet, acting like everyone agrees with them. I liked in that clip when they showed Stern hugging Paul Pierce after the 2008 Finals. And yet somehow they forgot to show this moment, which happed seconds earlier. Did he just say "champeen"? Yes.

And then there's J.A. Adande coming to Stern's aide about that dress code flap, in which history has come down firmly on the side of the NBA, apparently:
"The dress code was part of his mission; it sparked a mini cultural war, yet it turned out to be ahead of the curve. Look at the landscape now. Jay-Z disdains wearing jerseys, and Diddy fancies himself a tuxedo-clad James Bond. The NBA was there first."
Uhhhhhh, what? The fuck? Are you talking about? The NBA was there first? Like they made up dressing in suits and shit? Like Jay-Z and P Diddy didn't wear expensive suits before the NBA made it cool? The NBA started that? Huh. So Jay-Z + Diddy = "the landscape". I guess David Stern is really just a fashion forward trend-setter when you think about it. Yeah, now that you mention it, I'm sure he set out to start the newest hip-hop trend by trying to get Jay-Z to NOT wear NBA jerseys thereby ensuring he can lose millions of dollars in merchandise sales. I'm finally sold ESPN, David Stern is a genius. Adande goes on to say "Last season's big story, the Tim Donaghy scandal, did not have a racial angle." Yes, only a game-fixing-by-the-league angle. Another Stern victory.

And it only became his mission after the NBA's 9/11 in Detroit. Then in 2005 David Stern hired George W. Bush campaign strategist Matthew Dowd to craft a marketing strategy to connect with white America. They came up with stuff like dress codes and age limits and shorts that don't touch your knees. Because that's where players hide their guns. They came up with a list of bars players couldn't go to. They upped the technicals. An NBA game in which someone throws a punch is now a "disgrace", while a hockey game without a fight is a disappointment. Dowd's conventional wisdom said that people didn't like the NBA because it was populated by thugs and miscreants, and ever since David Stern has gone out of his way to let America know that he agrees.

But the cool thing is that none of that matters because all you need is five minutes on ESPN and you can go from Vladimir Putin to the Barack Obama-style"global outreach" guy. I guess!


Welcome Back Carter said...

What was it Mark Twain said about reports of his death being premature or something like that? Glad you're still around, Claymate!

Frank Chopp said...

David Stern is the greatest commish in sports.

You hypocrites true colors have finally come out....

"I want to steal the Hornets"

February 11th, 2009 9:06 am by Brian Robinson

"Are you happy now? I said it.

The Hornets have been in their market for only what 5 years? There is no long term attachment.

They were poorer than us to begin with, are much poorer now, and have major Katrina related issues remaining. If they have to give Tyson Chandler away to save money for George Shinn will they see similar ticket sales next year for a worse product in a worse economy?"

The funny thing is Seattle will never get another team. There will always be a city ready and willing to offer a better deal...Always...

t said...

lol @ Frank Chopp/Slade/Anonymous still coming here everyday. How high he's fallen from his righteous troll crusade to just common spamming. Enjoy your life dude.

Frank Brickowski said...

Seriously Chopp/Slade/whoever, get a life. All you do with your time is cherry pick quotes from Seattle papers and Supersonic blogs to make your shitty observation look relevant and profound.

Jawann Oldham said...


I may be drunk again but your post is incoherent. That means it makes no sense.

BTW - your split level viaduct/surface option covered by a park of some sort was rediculous. Go look it up if you are not sure what you meant.

Thanks and continue eating dicks in OK.

Jawann Oldham

Anonymous said...

That dude's jaw structure is totally not adapted to sorting out fish spinal columns for manageable ingestion.

Anonymous said...

Also, I liked how the turkey-neck required a streak of dark blue to set one flap apart from the other.

The David said...

". . . you can go from Vladimir Putin to the Barack Obama-style 'global outreach' guy."

Hey, thanks. Wait. Is that bad? Somebody get Dowd on the phone to sort this out for me.

sterrapin said...

Welcome back Claymate. Where you been?

The thing that most bothers me NOW about David Stern is something that didn't bother me earlier in his tenure (because I didn't know any better, I was young and not so cynical). That would be the league's insistence on emphasizing and promoting individual very bright stars over teams ... when Stern took over in the 1980s it was Bird and Magic. Then came Jordan, now the NBA is the universe of Lebron and Kobe. In the 1980s you didn't have the media hyperdrive you have now (or the endless varieties of media available to consumers), MJ seems to straddle the "expanded basic only" and "media smorgasbord" eras. With increased varieties of media to choose from (not just hundreds of channels of cable TV and the the vast internet), its harder to get the public's attention.

I'm still convinced that Stern is okay with the manipulation of his league to keep it out there by making sure his most visible and marketable stars are always in the playoffs. Forgive the paranoid ramblings.

Anonymous said...

wait so cantstopthebleeding is run by Clay Bennett?

Anonymous said...

SPEECHLESS ON SEATTLE: Few Hornets wanted to comment on the news Friday that Seattle Supersonics owner Clay Bennett told the NBA that he plans to move the team to Oklahoma City.

Bennett had set a Wednesday deadline for local officials to produce a plan to replace KeyArena, which he says is outdated. He has until March 1 to file for relocation with the NBA if he wants the team to play the 2008-09 season anywhere besides Seattle.

Scott and Paul both declined comment before the game, saying they preferred to focus on the Trail Blazers.

However, Chandler said he thinks the Sonics will be happy if they relocate to the heartland.

"If it does happen, I feel like Oklahoma City's a great city, and they definitely deserve an NBA franchise, and I think the Sonics will definitely benefit from it," Chandler said. "I'm not saying I want them to leave Seattle, but if they do go there, they'll definitely benefit, because there are great, loyal fans there."

Anonymous said...


Welcome Back Carter said...

"Hijack City owners McClendon and Clay Bennett showed us a nice blueprint for weaseling out of a lease in Seattle last year, a strategy best described as, 'make up selfish reasons to leave, make your move, leave a trail of broken hearts, bastardize the integrity of the league, then make everything OK by just paying everyone off because the city will be greedy enough to accept a cash settlement right away over fighting you in court for the next six years.' Thank you, fellas. You guys will be remembered as the Lewis and Clark of Scumbag NBA Owners." -Bill Simmons in his latest column at