Blog Entry

David Stern is best commissioner in sports?

Posted on: September 19, 2011 11:28 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2011 11:32 pm
Posted by Ben Golliverdavid-stern

Until we are able to write the words, "NBA commissioner David Stern has announced a new labor agreement with the National Basketball Players Association," the words "David Stern" are pretty much a profanity for professional basketball fans who are growing increasingly impatient with the ongoing lockout.

But the Los Angeles Times points out that there are worse alternatives. Indeed, after consulting with sports business experts, the paper concludes that all the readily available alternatives -- NFL's Roger Goodell, MLB's Bud Selig, NHL's Gary Bettman, and MLS's Don Garber among them -- are arguably worse than Stern, who has held the NBA's head post since 1984.  
The assignment: rank the best current commissioners in sports, factoring in various economic, labor and field-of-play issues. The consensus of several sports business experts was that Stern is No. 1, though with an asterisk because of the labor dispute that led him to lock players out on July 1.

"At the collegiate level right now, no one's killing it like Larry Scott is. To do what he has done with the Pac-12 is astounding," said Scott Rosner, associate director of Wharton Sports Business initiative at the University of Pennsylvania. "Track record, though, I think you have to give it to David.

"To think about where this sport was when he took over in the early '80s, so many teams losing money — the majority of the teams losing money — the Finals were on tape delay in many markets across the country, and David has brought that league to where it is. That said, if you're grading on the latest semester his grade wouldn't be as strong, obviously, with the lockout. And this is in many respects important to his legacy, but my sense is when all is said and done that the owners will score a pretty major victory."
Nothing says "trying way too hard to get quoted in the Los Angeles Times" quite like an Ivy League business school professor using the words "killing it" in an analysis of a major sports executive's track record. Surfs up, Mr. Rosner. Maybe try rapping a few bars from "California Love" in your next interview. 

Palm trees aside, the analysis goes on to make another key point: the best measure of a commissioner's success is the increase of league's average franchise value during his tenure. By virtue of stewarding the NBA's explosive international growth through the Michael Jordan and Yao Ming eras, Stern wins that one hands down.

Perspective is a good thing during a tense labor negotiation. When you think about it, Stern's popularity will likely never be lower than it is right now. He's already made it clear this is his last labor negotiation and, assuming it eventually resolves in a positive manner, he'll be free to enjoy retirement from a pedastal, remembered as one of the most important's figures in the game's development.

Come on, commissioner Stern: just get a deal done and an overwhelmingly positive legacy is yours! (Was that begging too transparent?)
Category: NBA

Since: Jun 14, 2010
Posted on: October 2, 2011 5:06 pm

David Stern is best commissioner in sports?

Can't just look at US Sports when talking best GMs...I know much smaller market but AFL (Aussie rules) CEO Andrew Demitrio just secured 1billion in TV rights. Not big in comparison to US but in the Australian's massive.

Since: Sep 23, 2011
Posted on: September 23, 2011 6:02 pm

David Stern is best commissioner in sports?

What a joke.  Seattle and it's fans know better -- it's way past time for David Stern to retire and bring in fresh blood with a new approach.  The fans deserve better than what Stern has delivered.  Maybe this will become clear after we watch our players in China and Europe this year.  The "sports business experts" may admire David Stern, but the fans and players know him for what he is: a pathetic, power-hungry, duplicitous, spotlight-seeking poseur.  He may have navigated through difficult waters before, but the current crisis is totally of his making.  The owners could easily break the current impasse by just firing Stern today.

Since: Jan 8, 2007
Posted on: September 23, 2011 9:23 am

David Stern is best commissioner in sports?

Dear NBA,
This is my last year as a season ticket holder.  Thanks so much for charging my credit card back in April before the 2010 season even ended and well before this baloney arose.  This is my last year putting up with this crap.  We, the working class, are sick of watching you all bicker over millions ans millions while we struggle to even find jobs.  You can have your eight dollar beer, and your stale six dollar pretzels, and your thirty dollar parking and you can keep them all.  I'm done with this.  If you pansies figure a way to split your billion dollar pie and decide to play nice, then maybe I'll watch you  free from my couch like everyone else.  Otherwise, I'm done.
-A Fan

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: September 20, 2011 12:09 am

David Stern is best commissioner in sports?

Positive legacy? The NBA is a joke filled with corruption. Not just the betting scandal, but also the allegations that games were rigged (Lakers-Kings in 2002, Miami-Mavs in 2006, both of which have very compelling arguments). Besides that, there's the fact that nearly every home team somehow gets to the free throw line more than the away team, stars getting special treatment, and the very fishy 1985 lottery that New York won. How does Stern address all of this? He doesn't. He just pretends it's not there.

While there's no proof aside from Tim Donaghy, when there's smoke, there's fire. And there's a whole LOT of fire.

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