NBA commissioner David Stern was at Wednesday’s Jazz-Suns game, and as you can imagine guffaws were shared by all. (Here’s a free link to the actual Stern story.)
Some lighter moments of Stern’s 20-minute media session:
• First, what didn’t get discussed. Unfortunately, time ran out before I could ask questions Jazz fans suggested on Twitter, such as: When will Dick Bavetta retire? Will the NBA ever issue an apology for officiating in Game 6 of the ’98 Finals? Did you rig the 1985 lottery? Where are the bodies hidden?
• Utah media has Jazzmania, which becomes obvious when there are more cameramen, reporters and bloggers at interviews than fans in the stands. Stern noticed this. Eat your heart out, wimpy New York journalists! While approaching the media mass outside the Jazz locker room, Stern smiled and said, “Holy Moses! I think they take things more seriously in Utah than in some other basketball cities, and that’s good.” (If Stern thought the group of a dozen or so was impressive, he should join a stakeout of a Greg Miller-Karl Malone summit some time.)
• Who knew Stern was a stand-up comedian? The NBA boss shared some of his drollness when elaborating on the league searching for a suitor for the New Orleans Hornets.
Stern’s comedic tale:
“A gentleman finds a ticket from a shoe repair in his father’s goods and effects after his father passed at the age of 90, and he sees it’s 50 years old. He puts it in his pocket and one day he passes by the store and he brings it in and there’s a very older gentleman. He gives it to him and says, ‘Can I get these?’ He says, ‘Let me look at it. Oh. It’ll be ready on Monday.'”
(Cue laugh track.)
Moral of the joke: Stern should replace David Letterman.
• Stern was as politically correct as he possibly could be.
Asked if Utah was an ideal small-market organization, he couldn’t resist also complimenting Oklahoma City and San Antonio.
Asked if he was surprised that the Jazz are in the playoff hunt all things in the past year or so considered, Stern said he learned to not make predictions about the NBA in 1980 when Boston’s Red Auerbach grumbled about how the Jazz’s No. 2 selection forced the Celtics to take Kevin McHale.
Stern had a humor slip of the tongue when he said the Jazz had drafted “Adrian Griffith.”
And, really, how awesome of a player would an Adrian Dantley-Darrell Griffith mash-have been? P.S. It was Griffith who went No. 2 ahead of McHale, who ended up winning just a few more NBA rings than Dr. Dunkenstein.
• Stern’s parting shot actually cracked me up. While talking about the Jazz being among the small-market triumvirate with the Thunder and Spurs, Stern said this:
“They really set the bar very high for rallying the community to be around them, giving a great, great value proposition of an arena and game entertainment and have fans who unfairly pick on my officials.”
That probably gives you an indication of how The Commish feels about some of the calls upset Jazz fans thought should’ve gone their way during the 107-105 Phoenix win Stern watched in person.