David Stern Rumors
Chamath Palihapitiya: We flew to NY and approached Allen&Co to be our banker and broach a meeting with the then commissioner, David Stern. Specifically, we had our eye on the Sacramento Kings with the goal of moving them to either Seattle or Las Vegas. The meeting rolls around and Stern sits and listens patiently about our ideas and desire to buy the Kings. At the end of our monologue, he asks one simple question: “How much do you think the team is worth?” We answer and float an admittedly low number (less than $300M). He looks around, slams his fists on the table and says: “Then you’re in the wrong f***ing meeting!” My friend and I fly home dejected. I’m now all-in on venture capital with no diversification to speak of and 100% anxiety ridden.
Before the pandemic and social unrest plagued the world, the NBA lost two of its icons in former commissioner David Stern and Kobe Bryant. And this time last year, a rift with its international business partner, China, started. The NBA has said that feud could cost $400 million. “I would say it’s been a challenging year,” Tatum said in an interview with CNBC. “It’s been our longest season in NBA history, and so much was thrown at us collectively as a league.”
On the loss of Kobe… Jeanie Buss: Tragedy on top of tragedy. Losing my mother, losing David Stern, and then, of course, our beloved Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Nobody could predict that, and it still hurts. It’s still fresh. … I’m so proud of the resiliency that this team has shown under all these circumstances that have been put on them, and added to them. The strength of our leadership, with LeBron James at the top being the captain of the team and being the leader, has brought us closer together. I couldn’t be more proud of how they represented Laker Nation.
Q: In 2012, you were involved in a bid to buy the Hornets. What was that process like for you? Jamal Mashburn: Very educational. There was a group — I won’t mention their names because they want to remain quiet — it was actually one company, and they’re pretty successful down in that Louisiana area. I think my bid was $275 (million) at the time. I spoke directly to (commissioner) David Stern. We became fast friends after I retired. I was one of the few players that took a meeting with him and felt that if I’m going to shake your hand on draft night I must shake your hand on exit. When I had that meeting with him, they were like, ‘Well, would you like to work with us? We didn’t know you were doing all this stuff off the court.’ I was like, ‘David, I appreciate the flattery, but I’m going to come back and be a partner.’ From that day on, David was a champion for me to get into NBA ownership. He showed me books of teams that were for sale, actual financials and things like that.
A few weeks before it became known that he is seriously exploring selling the Timberwolves, Taylor reflected on the chaotic process that thrust him into the owner’s chair back in 1994. It is a wild tale filled with visions of runaway horses, vampire sightings and white-knuckle negotiations that prevented the team from hopping a riverboat down to New Orleans just five years after the league made a celebrated return to the Twin Cities. And it all came together for the famously frugal Taylor during a meeting in his hotel room with the 32-year-old chief of staff for Commissioner David Stern, a lawyer by the name of Adam Silver. “It was one of those rooms where when you open the door, it just barely makes it past the bed,” Silver said with a chuckle. “It was a very small room.”
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf: He then said, “Well, there’s a couple of guys from the NBA office that want to talk to you.” We got on the phone. It wasn’t David Stern. I never spoke with David Stern—even though the media said that I went up there to meet him in New York. That was a lie. On the phone, I said, “This was my decision. This is what I have to do. You do what you have to do.” They didn’t even want me on the premises. So I had to leave the arena before the game. After, I ended up talking to a mentor of mine. He told me a story about the Prophet once standing when a Jewish funeral procession was passing by. If it wasn’t for that story, my career would’ve been over. I was prepared to not come back. He told me, “If you decide to not come back, that’s a noble decision and you’re not wrong for doing that at all. But if you decide to come back, and not for their cause but for a higher cause, then that’s also not wrong. So, you can come back and stand for those who are oppressed, you can pray for those, you can take positions for those, you can use your platform.”