NBA’s ‘Stern’ policies afoul

first_imgA couple of nights ago, the “50 Most Spectacular Dunks of All Time” were featured on “Best Damn Sports Show Period.” It was an hour well-spent, watching some of the most awesome throw-downs from the likes of Dr. J, Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James (in high school) and Vince Carter, the owner of the best dunk of all time. (Remember that slam in the 2000 Olympics, when he leaped completely over 7-footer Frederic Weis who didn’t even move? Unreal.)But at some point, it got me thinking … David Stern hates this stuff, doesn’t he? My God, the man’s going to put a ban on dunks soon, I just know it.Some of you may remember fellow Herald Sports columnist Andrew Kluger taking on Stern about three weeks ago. This would be considered a repeat column, except our favorite little nerdy commissioner has given me three new weeks of material to make a fuss over.Let’s recap, shall we?A few days after Kluger’s column came out, Jermaine O’Neal, the league leader in blocks, wore his wristband too far up his arm and gets hit with a $5,000 fine. His freaking wristband was an inch too high.We all know about Mike Vick paying up $20,000 for flipping off Atlanta Falcons fans a few days back, but only half of that fine was mandatory (the other half went to a charity of Vick’s choice, at the request of the NFL).So, Vick gets charged ten grand for showing an unbelievable sign of disrespect on camera and setting a terrible example for all the kids who look up to him, but Jermaine O’Neal pays half of that sum for failing to properly adjust a piece of equipment that no sane human being takes notice of.Sure, that makes sense.Last Sunday night against the Clippers, Denver’s Carmelo Anthony takes a back-door pass from J.R. Smith and throws it down with authority, firing up the Pepsi Center crowd. But instead of letting Melo celebrate the play, which helped the Nuggets beat up on a Clippers team that has dominated them over the last year and a half, the refs hit him with a technical for hanging on to the rim too long.I swear, I saw the same style of dunk over and over again on the Best Damn Sports Show Period, and none of those guys got a T.Oh, the technicals. This season, through 212 games, NBA players have accumulated 213 technical fouls (the New York Knicks lead all teams with 19). That’s over one technical called per game — the league’s on pace to call somewhere around 1,250 techs this season.To compare, three seasons ago there were a grand total of 1,172 technicals. A pretty good increase in T’s; if you ask me, that’s not necessarily good for the game, and it’s not necessarily the players’ fault.Nothing more exciting than watching a guy shoot a free throw shot with nobody there to rebound, right? In Stern’s mind, apparently not.Stern’s even got partners in crime. Hey, Chicago Bulls, what is your beef with headbands? You pay big bucks for your man, Ben Wallace, put a headband on him for advertising purposes, then suspend him for throwing one on during the game?Whoever made up that silly no-headband rule needs to be told that medical science has allowed trained doctors to learn how to surgically remove that abnormally large bug from his ass.I’m not going to get into the overly rehashed issues of the new dress code, the new ball, the no-ripping-off-of-the-warm-ups rule. But it’s all a part of what’s making college basketball, a game that remains so much purer than the pro game, that much more attractive than the NBA to the average viewer.I’ve heard it said that Stern is the best commissioner in sports. Roger Goodell is too new, Bud Selig has been tainted with the steroid issue and Gary Bettman made sure the NHL would get the worst ratings of all time by moving the majority of televised hockey games to Versus. Whatever the hell that is — the games might as well be on Cartoon Network.How are Stern’s efforts leading toward any different of a result than those of Bettman? Bettman may have went out of his way to cut down on the viewership by making a curious TV decision, but Stern is starting to deliberately come up with strange rules that aren’t going to change the league’s image for anything but the worse.And at least Bettman made some changes to the game of hockey — with the end result of higher-scoring games — that show an intelligent attempt at garnering popularity. I said I won’t get into that new-ball rule, but it’s clear — at least if you listen to any NBA star — Stern isn’t making any smart choices in terms of the play of the game either.As for baseball, when all the MLB talk centers around steroids, my interest in the game doesn’t go away one little bit. I do respect that this is different for purists who refuse to support a dirty game, but frankly, ‘roids or no ‘roids, I just want to watch a good game, and Selig has done a good job of providing that.But the problems in basketball right now can be much more costly than those of baseball. Any time I hear about the latest nonsensical fine, it gives the NBA this childish image that is turning off fans one by one. This keeps up, and pro basketball is just going to go by the wayside sooner rather than later.Somebody stop David Stern before the seats at NBA arenas are as empty as his head.Aaron is a sophomore who doesn’t know what to do with his weekends now that UW football is out of session until the bowl game. Share your disdain for David Stern at [email protected]last_img read more