Owners give Stern (maybe) nostalgic tribute
by Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK — NBA Commissioner David Stern tried to deny there was even a tinge of nostalgia after his farewell reception and dinner from league owners.
“It was a nice tribute and a warm tribute, and it just made me feel very good,” Stern said Wednesday after the NBA’s preseason Board of Governors meetings. “I don’t know whether you call that nostalgia … but it was a warm and very good evening.
“It was not nostalgic. It flowed over me that this has been a great run. I’ve had a lot of fun.”
Stern gave a nearly three-minute answer.
“Sounds like nostalgia to me,” NBA deputy commissioner Adam Silver said.
“I don’t think it’s nostalgia — actually a warm feeling of having had a great opportunity and largely succeeded,” Stern said.
Yep, sounds like nostalgia.
These are the final days of Stern’s 30-year run as commissioner. He will step aside on Feb. 1, 30 years to the date he took the job, and turn the operation over to Silver, who has provided a deft and guiding hand during an important time in technology and globalization.
Even if Stern won’t admit, he clearly is taking note of the moment. He did it at the 2013 NBA draft, when he encouraged fans to boo just a little louder.
Stern is leaving his position at a time when the NBA is strong, from its collection of starts to its $5.5 billion industry (split 50-50 with the players) to its TV ratings to its global reach to labor peace with the players’ union.
At the dinner, Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon and San Antonio Spurs owner Peter Holt delivered toasts. A photo montage of Stern revealed his changes in nearly 40 years with the NBA.
“Totally embarrassing photos,” Stern said.
The league office put together a video detailing Stern’s career from start to near-finish. The video included voice-over narration from a who’s who of the league’s all-time greats: Bill Russell, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Tim Duncan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
“It was a little bit over the top,” Stern said. “But it used to be a joke that said my father … [For more on NBA owners give David Stern (maybe) nostalgic tribute, click here.]