David Stern, the longtime commissioner of the NBA, finally announced his intent to call it quits. Come 2014, the commissioner will retire after 30 years of service to one of the most popular leagues in the world.
In all honesty, it’s about darn time.
It’s finally over. After vetoed trades, two huge lockouts and a heavy load of unnecessary rule changes, Stern will finally retire.
No longer will the NBA have to deal with his tyrannical rule. The league can finally move on and play ball without the fearful watch of Stern over the players’ shoulders.
Now, to be fair, his reign as commissioner did bring a great deal of progress, income and change. In his time as commissioner, he turned the league into a global sport, he added seven teams to the NBA and he managed to get through six collective bargaining negotiations. Credit must be given where it is due.
But criticism must also be handed where it is earned.
Let’s look at a list of some of his most unpopular moments as commissioner. During his reign, hand checking was discontinued, the whistle was blown every other second, strict and unnecessary dress codes were implemented, and technical fouls spoiled engrossing and intense moments during games.
In his 30-year reign, Stern also changed NBA basketball from an intense, physical and entertaining sport to a soft, uninspired and referee-dominated game.
Players could no longer play freely as many had to deal with the constant worry of fouling out. Defense was no longer an important aspect of the game as players refused to guard the opposition because they knew they would hear that dreadful whistle if they did. It was Pavlovian Conditioning at its worst.
The NBA earned the reputation of being a soft league during Stern’s time. In all honesty, even college basketball was more physical than the NBA.
With the commissioner finally stepping down, here’s hoping for a more entertaining NBA without the harsh and unusual rule changes. The reign of Stern is over. Players should be rejoicing knowing that the league has the potential to change for the better. It’s truly an exciting time for basketball. Good riddance, Stern.