Adam Silver Rumors
But even if his former centers’ struggles cost the Lakers some games, Bryant strongly argued against NBA commissioner Adam Silver abolishing the so-called “Hack a Shaq” tactic. That entails intentionally fouling poor free-throw shooters to send them to the foul line. “That sets a horrible example for the kids, honestly,” Bryant said. “You can’t protect guys because they can shoot free throws. They’re getting paid a lot of damn money to make a free throw, dude. I think it sets a bad precedent. I wouldn’t change it.”
Although O’Neal posted similar numbers from the free-throw line in both the regular season (52.7 percent) and playoffs (50.4 percent), Bryant noticed a different mindset. “Shaq had a tough time at the free throw line, but he got to a place in critical stretches of ball games where he really knocked them down,” Bryant said. “Maybe they were only 50 percent, but it seemed like in games in the big ones where he didn’t miss them. He got to that place just by working. It meant a lot to him. He took on that responsibility to make them.”
Working on little sleep – he can’t always stay up for the finish of the West Coast games – and still finding time to attend Broadway shows (he loved Hamilton) and read important books (When Breath Becomes Air by Dr. Paul Kalanithi), Silver thrives in his role and has significant triumphs. “I realize every day how fortunate I am to be in this position and how lucky I am that the league is in such great shape,” Silver said “… that I have such wonderful colleagues, and by colleagues I mean everyone from the owners of the teams, to the group many of whom you know that I have here in the league office with me, to the excellent team executives, and of course our players, who really are a fantastic group of young men.”
Encouraging signs exist – even if there is a lockout – that regular-season games won’t be lost, as was the case in 2011. The two sides are meeting regularly, building relationships and trust. The league is dealing with new leadership on the union’s side: Michele Roberts, the NBPA executive director, has been on the job about 17 months and NBPA general counsel Gary Kohlman was hired at the start of the 2014-15 season. “My cause for optimism is based on to me the spirit of the discussions and the directness in which we’ve been dealing with each other,” Silver said.
A few days after the meeting, Lee had Commissioner Adam Silver’s answer: Yes. But that wasn’t all. The NBA would give Lee the freedom to produce and direct the 30-second ad, which the league saw as a public-service announcement, as he saw fit and without censorship. It would feature four NBA players and air five times during ESPN’s Christmas Day broadcast – pro basketball’s equivalent to Super Bowl Sunday. “He didn’t even ask the owners of the teams,” Lee said in a telephone interview. “He didn’t even ask the owners what they felt. He was like: ‘We’re doing this.’ ”