Jabroni of the Week: David Stern

Posted: July 3, 2011 by Keith Stone in basketball, David Stern, jabronis, NBA, NBA lockout

The NBA officially locked out its players, joining the NFL in a labor stoppage. However unlike the NFL, several NBA teams are in serious financial trouble. Whereas the NFL is trying to figure out how to split the pie, the NBA barely has one. This isn’t entirely Commissioner Stern’s fault. In fact, it’s not really his fault as much as the owners who gave too much to the players during the last two labor agreements and then continued to spend their money in a stupid way. Who wants to give Gilbert Arenas $100 mil? Did I mention he has one knee?

At the same time, Stern finds himself in the middle of everything. He works for the owners but he also has to work with the players. The players say they will not budge on giving up guaranteed contracts. It’s their right but it’s their responsibility to show up ready to play. Shaq looked like a hot air balloon out there this season.

Really, everyone is to blame for the mess. And it is a huge mess. Small-market teams can’t afford to compete with New York, LA, and Chicago unless they want to lose tens of millions of dollars a year. And yet, the NBA doesn’t have a system in place to help the Milwaukees of the world keep up with a team like Miami that can print money. The players will argue that they shouldn’t give up their share of the cash when most teams lose money at the expense of the others. Why shouldn’t the owners help each other before asking the players to sacrifice their incomes?

All of this falls at the feet of Commissioner Stern. He has to worry about the owners, the players, and the fans. He has to keep everyone happy while they get hit in the wallet. Never an easy task. In a perfect world, the players would take a salary rollback. The owners would let the players have guaranteed contracts up to three years and soften their stand on having a hard salary cap. Then they could all have a giant orgy on a pile of dollar bills, Scrooge McDuck-style. That’s not going to happen.

Commish, baby, the owners are being opaque about their financials and the players understandably don’t want to take a pay cut. It’s human nature. However, the NBA is coming off its greatest season in over 15 years. There’s more stars and storylines than ever. If this lockout runs into the regular season, the league is going to lose a ton of momentum and the financial situation may even get worse. You know this. You’re a very smart guy, but you’re not a miracle worker. You may have to be. Don’t let this drag out until November. Until then, you’re a jabroni, brother.

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