Anthony Davis Replaces Injured Kobe Bryant on West All-Star Roster
NBA fans gave Kobe Bryant a career achievement award of sorts by selecting him as a Western Conference All-Star starter
but injuries have limited Bryant to just six games this season and will keep him off of the court indefinitely; new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has selected New Orleans Pelicans power forward/center Anthony Davis as Bryant's All-Star replacement. West Coach Scott Brooks will decide which All-Star reserve
will take Bryant's starting spot.
My Western Conference All-Star selections included two players not ultimately honored by the coaches, San Antonio's Tim Duncan and Golden State's David Lee. I still think that Duncan deserves recognition for being the primary post presence at both ends of the court for one of the West's top two teams and I am still impressed by Lee's overall performance for the Warriors. It is worth noting that Davis has missed eight games so far, while Lee
has only missed two and Duncan, despite his advanced age (in basketball
years), has missed just four games.
Although I do not think that I was wrong to tap Duncan and Lee, upon further reflection I can understand why Silver believes that Davis is the most worthy choice: the Pelicans are mired near the bottom of the West with a 22-27 record but Davis has been outstanding individually, ranking first in the NBA in blocked shots (3.2 bpg) while also averaging 20.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg and 1.5 spg. Davis has bulked up this season after being overpowered physically as a rookie and he has improved his statistics across the board.
Labels: Adam Silver, Anthony Davis, David Lee, Kobe Bryant, NBA All-Star Game, Tim Duncan
posted by David Friedman @ 3:58 PM
NBA Enters Post-David Stern Era
David Stern completed his 30 year tenure as NBA Commissioner on February 1, turning the reins over to his long-time trusted deputy, Adam Silver. Until fairly recently, the consensus opinion seemed to be that Stern
was vying with former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle for the title of
greatest sports commissioner of all-time. In the past decade or so, Stern has been assailed by increasingly vocal critics who disapprove of his allegedly dictatorial leadership style and who blame Stern for some problems/controversies that the league faced, including lockouts in 1998 and 2011
, the Tim Donaghy scandal
and the voided Chris Paul trade
. I strongly feel that the NBA should do more to recognize, honor and support its retired legends--including but not limited to the "Pre-1965ers"
--and that the NBA should belatedly complete the ABA-NBA merger by finally granting official status to ABA statistics
; it is disappointing that Stern did not use his power to make those things happen. Nevertheless, Stern's overall track record is very positive. I wrote my David Stern legacy column
in October 2012 after Stern first announced his plan to retire as NBA Commissioner in February 2014 and I stand by the conclusion I declared at that time:
When I think of David Stern, I think of his
response to the "Malice in the Palace"; he immediately issued several
lengthy suspensions, he suspended Ron Artest for the entire season and
when media members asked Stern if a vote had been taken about those
punishments Stern replied, "It was unanimous, one to none." That is
leadership; he did not pass the buck, he did not wait to see which way
the wind was blowing: he made it very clear that players who go into the
stands to fight with fans will not be playing in his NBA. In contrast,
when I think of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, I think of Selig shrugging
impotently as the 2002 All-Star Game ended in a tie--and, much more
seriously, I think of Selig turning a blind eye and a deaf ear to the abundant evidence of rampant PED cheating in his sport.
For 30 years, Stern has looked the part of a commissioner and, much
more significantly, he has acted the part. You never doubted who was in
charge of the NBA with David Stern at the helm.
Stern may have rubbed some people the wrong way by acting like he was the smartest man in the room and by using his intelligence and strong will to lead the NBA on a certain path--but the reality is that he often was the smartest man in the room and the decisions he made resulted in skyrocketing revenue that benefited owners and players alike, a pioneering drug policy,
global expansion of the game, innovative community service programs like NBA Cares, increased executive employment opportunities for women and minorities (the NBA has consistently been far ahead of the other pro sports leagues in this regard) and overall development of the league that would have been unimaginable when Stern first took office; under Stern's watch, the NBA went from having its premier event--the NBA Finals--televised on tape delay to having its top stars become one-name global icons: Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe, LeBron.
Stern does not deserve all of the credit for the NBA's tremendous growth--throughout his tenure the league had a steady stream of great stars and great teams--but he deserves a lot of credit for not only making sound marketing decisions but also for disciplining owners, players and anyone else who stepped out of line and conducted themselves in a way that could potentially damage the league. Stern's leadership was equally evident during good times and during bad times; he not only helped the league derive maximum benefit from the skills and charisma of Magic, Bird, Jordan, Kobe, LeBron and other stars but he also guided the league through the dark days of the Donaghy scandal and through contentious labor negotiations that might have caused serious damage to the NBA if the league had not been fortunate enough to have a strong, wise leader at the helm.
David Stern has carved out a very prominent place not only in NBA and sports history but in the cultural history of the United States and the world, because the NBA's impact cuts across socioeconomic and national borders; in the early 1980s, no one could have imagined that basketball would be the global game that it is today and that the NBA would be able to touch the lives of young people so profoundly in so many different countries.
Labels: Commissioner Adam SIlver, Commissioner David Stern, Kobe Bryant, Larry Bird, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, NBA
posted by David Friedman @ 2:56 PM