n. Abbr. Com. or Comr.
1. A member of a commission.
2. A person authorized by a commission to perform certain duties.
3. A governmental official in charge of a department: a police commissioner.
4. Sports An official selected by an athletic association or league to exercise administrative or regulatory powers over it: a baseball commissioner.
David Stern is the commissioner of the NBA. He is also the face of it (sorry Lebron, Kobe and D-Wade). Stern is the lingering image of what the NBA has become and the trendsetter in the increasingly visible corporate structure of professional sports.
But is Stern’s influence on the visibility bordering on star status of professional sports professionals a good thing.
Clearly the role of a commissioner has grown over the years. With increased public access and need to image management, the NBA, NFL and other major sports leagues need to have a robust system for addressing the many public relations nightmares that are faced on a yearly basis. But has Stern pushed the envelope to far where he is too recognizable?
When you think of the NBA you are going to think of the dunks, the last second shots and the players collapsing on the field of victory and sometimes defeat, but you also picture David Stern, chest puffed out, head raised and gut sucked in, standing next to someone nearly twice his height.
Stern inherited the NBA in the middle of the Magic/Bird Era which lead into the Jordan Era and then into the Shaq/Kobe Era with a brief interlude which we will call the pre-Kobe/Shaq Era. He didn’t exactly make the league and I don’t think it is quite as popular as it was during the first 15 years of his reign. But all in all the league has been successful with him as a commissioner, so why complain.
Because I don’t want to think of a short guy in a grey suit with that weird smile when I think of basketball. And I don’t want to think of a slightly balding redhead who squints when I think of football or of Bud Selig ever! To me the commissioner should be someone who handles the game like the wizard of Oz; from behind the curtain.
I don’t need a slowly delivered, carefully worded response that doesn’t address the question. I need more dunks and more of Charles Barkly telling me why something is terrible. Sorry Stern but I think the less we see of you the more we are going to see of your sport.