PHILADELPHIA – NBA players have been receiving death threats for a quarter-century, and Michael Jordan is making another comeback. How’s that for news out of David Stern’s latest stop on his tour of first-round playoff series?
Well, Jordan’s comeback will have to be relegated to the movie screen, in a potential project he’s discussing with Spike Lee. But the death threats against the Celtics’ Tony Allen in his hometown of Chicago during the Bulls-Celtics series are real – and nothing new, Stern said Friday night before the Magic and 76ers played Game 3 of their best-of-seven series.
“You might guess that in a league of stars in a variety of cities, that issue is not a new issue for us or for me over the last 25 years,” Stern said. “It’s just that you haven’t read about it and we haven’t talked about it. And we’re not going to talk about it now, except to say it’s something we’re aware of. It’s the very kind of thing that we are always dealing with and one of the reasons why we have security reps in every city. ... We do what we have to do in all difficult times. This is nothing new, at all. Unfortunately.”
Stern also reiterated some owners’ concerns about revamping the league’s revenue sharing system during collective bargaining negotiations that will begin in earnest after the playoffs. He said all options are on the table with regard to rescheduling the NBA All-Star Game so it would not compete with the Super Bowl if the NFL follows through on plans to add a regular season game and push its signature event deep into February. Stern said he's open to moving up the All-Star Game so it would be before the Super Bowl. And while the league didn’t punish Erick Dampier for threatening to put Tony Parker “on his back” in the Mavericks-Spurs series, that didn’t stop Stern from condemning him.
“I don’t think that’s something that I particularly want to sell,” Stern said. “... We represent the other 450 players and they don’t want to get injured. They earn a lot of money, they’re very talented, they’re strong, they’re fast, and they’re capable of doing harm to each other. And the idea that a very large player would feel it necessary to potentially harm, with intent of doing something to another player ... I view it as my job to be protective of all the players.”
As for Jordan: In the wake of Lee’s documentary with Kobe Bryant – Kobe Doin’ Work – Stern revealed that Lee and Jordan are in discussions about possibly making a documentary about Jordan’s last season with the Bulls. It would involve resurrecting tons of footage that the league has in the archives from that season and “get it out of the can.”