David Stern Rumors
Colangelo: David took the lead and called me. He said, “Look we’ve got to re-do our whole USA Basketball program, would you take it over?” And my response was “David, I’ll do it, but I have a few conditions.” The first condition was full autonomy at the time. That was to select the coaches, select the players, and he said, “Done. What’s number two?” And I said, “I don’t want to hear about a budget.”
The Kings will announce Tuesday that they are naming the street leading to the front door of the new downtown arena in honor of former NBA Commissioner David Stern, whose persistent, decades-long efforts helped keep the franchise in Sacramento. Officially, the address of the Golden 1 Center – to be submitted to the city Tuesday for approval – is 500 David J. Stern Walk.
“When I learned we would have the option of naming the road, it was a no-brainer for me,” Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive told The Sacramento Bee on Monday. “There were no other names on my list. David took the NBA to the global level and started the WNBA, but he is about so much more than basketball. He is one of the greatest leaders in the world, and on top of that, the team would not be in Sacramento without David Stern.”
“David and I had a peculiar relationship,” Hunter said. “I don’t know that we were always distrusting of one another. I respect David for the job he did. I think he did a great job and the league is the beneficiary. I don’t think I ever got any credit, even from the media. You guys were the ones who made all the characterizations and I was always scratching for whatever I could get. “I don’t dislike him,” Hunter said. “The difference was, I had a job to do and he had a job to do. And I did it. I didn’t let anything interfere with that.”
The league is the only one who discouraged me. When everything first broke out with the Rockets, I emailed David Stern personally and said that the policies in place as they are were a direct hindrance of me and the Rockets solving our issue. The Rockets said because we’re part of a collective bargained industry, we can’t just make these addendums without checking with the league – they’re the governing body.
One of the most alarming parts of that was the email back, where he basically told me to stay off Twitter. He basically disregarded my notion that we should meet face to face and have a real understanding about what it was I was talking about. He told me basically I talked to your agent, stay off of Twitter. No. 1, that’s disrespectful and undermining, but No. 2, it showed that what was important was the face value of the brand and not the mental health policy.”
He believes that the NBA, like other businesses, operates in a profit-first mode that doesn’t value its employees as much as it does continuing a system that maximizes money instead of, as White puts it, “finding a harmony between humanitarianism and entrepreneurship.” He makes it clear, over the course of two long phone conversations that he does not want to tear down the NBA. He wants to make it better. But he’s not going to compromise on how he thinks that can happen. “Yes, there’s ingenuity, and yes, there’s profit,” he says. “But there’s also a compass, a True North, that always points to what’s going to help people. In all fairness, the NBA probably has a group of people who believe that that’s who they are, too. And there may be a group of people who really are that. I’m not saying Adam Silver is an (expletive). I want you to quote me. I’m not saying David Stern is an (expletive). What I’m saying is they have allowed themselves to become part of a system that does not fully represent what they could be.”