Sports Briefs: The NBA's Silver Lining

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Chris: Is Adam Silver a groundhog? Is David Stern really getting Social Security? After Commander Stern retires on Feb. 1, exactly 30 years after he became NBA commissioner, these vital questions will be answered the following day. I don’t want to awake to reports that Silver “emerged reluctantly, but alertly, and stated in Silver-ese, ‘I definitely see a Stern.’ Sorry folks, six more weeks of David.”

Joe: I think David Stern has leveraged the big stars like Michael Jordan to enhance basketball and merchandise. Some of this fell into his lap, but he took advantage of it.

Brad: David Stern definitely brought the NBA into mainstream. Bringing it to more fans, boosting team merchandise and player salaries.

Ralphie: David Stern added seven new franchises and the WNBA during his time as Commissioner.

Chris: I’m not sure whether the Oklahoma City Thunder count as a new franchise or not, but Corporal Stern did manage to help one of his best friends pack up his belongings and move out from an abusive relationship he once had in Seattle.

Ralphie: The negative things that David Stern did as commissioner are changing the basketballs, not making changes after the lockout in 2011, and expanding the first-round of the playoffs to a best of seven.

Joe: I do not believe David Stern has been proactive enough in addressing off the court drug substance abuse.

Brad: He didn't always seem to treat violations fairly, giving one team more leniency than another, etc. He also seems to have let his position go to his head and would make public statements that were rude or demeaning towards others. One huge downfall of boosting NBA sales and salaries is the commercialization of the game.

Chris: After the USC Trojan football program was caught cheating, the NCAA revoked their national championship and Reggie Bush's Heisman Trophy. After NBA officials were caught fixing the outcome of games, Lieutenant Stern did nothing. The legal system put one referee in the hoosegow, but the outcome of every game the officials fixed remained the same. This may have been because the beneficiary of most of those games was the Los Angeles Lakers, which made for an uncomfortable situation, after it was uncovered that Stern wears officially-licensed Lakers pajamas to bed each night and sleeps with a Kobe Bryant Bleacher Creature in his officially-licensed Lakers bed sheets.

Ralphie: I am more excited to see Adam Silver take over after Stern leaves. It's time for a change in the NBA.

Brad: I think it's time for Stern to step down and for fresh leadership to step up. I have some doubts about Silver taking over and being the same as Stern, since he was under Stern for years. I think that might cloud any freshness a new commissioner would bring.

Joe: It is unknown if Adam Silver will be a better commissioner than David Stern, as only time will tell. He will be tested early and often. How he deals with player issues, franchise re-locations and league expansion/contraction will be critical.

Chris: I was fond of Paul Tagliabue, whereas I question if Roger Goodell is one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I thought Fay Vincent was suitable, whereas I have balloons ready to spill over my living room on the day Bud Selig retires. Naturally, part of me is hesitant to embrace Adam Silver, imagining that his first move as commissioner will be to award the Lakers a first-round playoff bye every season, regardless of their record. However, I am eager to see Stern depart and am hopeful that Silver does not covet Mark Cuban’s money as much as his predecessor.

Brad: I would like to see more fair accountability across the league. I would also like to see more players playing some overseas games to have a broader variety of game play. And always, more about the game and less about money. It's frustrating watching players bounce around team to team because of money.

Joe: I would like to see the NBA involve some of their great former players into highlighting the positive elements of the beginning and history of the game. The season is too long in my opinion. Fans tire, and the players fatigue. Shorter and sweeter!

Ralphie: I hope Silver will get along with the players and the fans better than Stern did.

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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