BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- The boos rained down once more, and with typical, playful (and ironic) vim toward David Stern on Thursday night. It's the NBA Draft, Stern's final one as commissioner of the NBA.
He slowly strolled out, smile wide as can be. The jeers drowned out whatever he was saying. He let them go for a good 20 seconds before even addressing the crowd and ushering in the start of the draft. That continued as he opened a palm and welcomed more boos from the crowd shortly before announcing the shocking pick of UNLV's Anthony Bennett going No. 1 to Cleveland.
Before announcing Otto Porter, Jr. as the third pick -- to Washington -- Stern said to the crowd, "I can't hear you." And then the boos swelled yet again. Funny scene.
Stern's final draft is destined to be an unpredictable, wild one.
The 70-year-old Stern has been commish of the league since February 1984; he'll officially give up his post to deputy commissioner Adam Silver on Feb. 1, 2014 -- 30 years to the day after accepting the job.
Stern's reign over the years has been entertaining, controversial, polarizing and also undeniably successful. The NBA in 1984 was a fraction of what it's become in 2013. Drafts weren't even broadcast on live television then.
He's still got more than seven months left on the job, but going forward, NBA drafts just won't be the same without the man who turned them into prime-time spectacle.