David Stern Rumors
As the investment banker Paul J. Taubman builds his boutique firm, he is bringing on one of his longtime clients as a consultant of sorts. Mr. Taubman’s firm, PJT Partners, has hired David J. Stern, the former commissioner of the National Basketball Association, as a senior adviser on what Mr. Stern insists will be more than just sports deals. It is one of the first major appointments to be announced by PJT after it began its new life as a publicly traded company.
Lloyd: The Cavs were growing increasingly unhappy with all of the congestion around the court, and about 30 minutes prior to a nationally televised game, Ferry tried blocking a cameraman from sitting at his designated spot along the sideline. Within minutes, a furious Stern was on the phone and the two exploded in an expletive-filled tirade that many in the league still recall vividly. No one really wanted me to write about it while Stern was still the commissioner, plus it was just one of those good stories we all have without a home. But with Stern retired and Ferry out of the league for now, I was able to use it recently while exploring how the NBA has cut the number of photographers on the floor nearly in half compared to last season.
Q: Have you ever spoken to David Stern about that? (The NBA owned the New Orleans Hornets at the time and the former Commissioner made the controversial decision) Jim Buss: “Oh, I think there was enough publicity on it to where I didn’t have to say anything. I love David Stern, and we had a great relationship with him as Commissioner. I think probably maybe this year or next year I’ll probably sit down and have lunch with him, to see what the thought pattern was. (Laughs) You have to assume that, ‘What was the thought process behind that? Why would you nix a deal that turned out to be better than the deal (that they vetoed)?…That kind of handcuffed (New Orleans) for years. It didn’t make any sense, but I want to see what they were thinking.”
Ten years ago on Oct. 17, 2005, NBA players received a surprising memo from then-commissioner David Stern. A league-wide dress code was going into effect. No more baggy jeans. No fitted baseball caps. No XXXL white T-shirts. No Timberland boots. Oversized necklaces – even ones with religious pendants – were also out. Players were not happy. Some jokingly called it the “A.I. rule” after Philadelphia 76ers guard Allen Iverson. Some thought it was racist toward black players or a slap at the hip-hop community. “I remember a lot of guys being upset with it,” said San Antonio Spurs forward David West who was then playing for the New Orleans Hornets. “A lot of guys thought they were being too intrusive. … I just remember felling like, ‘Damn, I’m a grown man and someone is telling me what to wear.’ ”
West, however, ignored the rule and continued to wear sweats to games. His wallet faced the consequences. He said the league had fashion police at NBA arenas, and they took pictures and reported players who didn’t adhere to the dress code. “I didn’t really change much,” West said. “I got fined a couple times because I’d rather be comfortable. My comfort comes first before anybody else.”
In the 1990s, hip-hop culture became popular with young adult fashion with its relaxed, baggy and sports-geared clothing. You didn’t have to be from the so-called “hood” to be attracted to dressing that way. And it wasn’t only black kids wearing the clothes. “I was in the era of when guys, especially rappers, were wasting tons of money, including myself, on extravagant, unnecessary and oversized jewelry,” former NBA player Jason Richardson said.
The “Malice at the Palace” brawl between the Indiana Pacers and Pistons on Nov. 19, 2004, in Auburn Hills, Mich., also contributed to the NBA’s decision to implement a dress code. The rule went into effect with the one-year anniversary of the brawl on the horizon to counter image problems that hampered its then recent history. “That brawl gave the NBA a huge black eye,” Billups said. “Nobody can say that it didn’t. The dress code was just one of the things that the league tried to do from a marketing standpoint. It put ice on that black eye from the fight to bring down the swelling.”