At one point during his tenure as NBA commissioner David Stern was arguably the best commissioner of the four major sports. Over the last 15-20 years he’s been the worst and now fans are counting down the days until he officially retires.
Taking advantage of Michael Jordan and his popularity in the 80s and 90s, Stern and the league capitalized on it as Jordan starred in a McDonald’s commercial with Larry Bird, Gatorade created a theme song for him with lyrics of “if I could be like Mike,” and even was in a movie Space Jam.”
The era one of the best in NBA history and one of the most physical. After the 1993-1994 season scoring went down meaning that Stern made rule changes to favor the offense.
- 1994: hand checking on the perimeter no longer allowed or it would mean a foul call, three-point line moved in
- 2001: eliminating illegal defense and implementing the defensive three second rule
- 2005: Dress code for players
- 2006: New ball and age limit to enter NBA Draft
- 2007: The Tim Donaghy scandal
- 2012: Warnings and then fines for flopping
- Reinstating Joey Crawford
- Lack of physical play (more flagrant than ever being called)
- Questionable suspensions
- Two lockouts
- Superstar calls
Still Stern has put one final nail in the coffin of his destroyed legacy by creating the Twyman-Stokes Award, which is given to the Teammate of the Year. Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups got recognized as the first player to win the award during game of the 2013 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat.
While the story behind the award is great, that’s where it ends. If anything Stern should have taken a page from the NHL by making it about the best sportsmanship, conduct and ability in other words similar to the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy. Another option would have been to rename the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award to include actions on and off the court.
For example Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, etc….Aren’t looking to become a great teammate or even a good one. Their minds are on one thing and that is winning a NBA championship. Meaning that it will be bench players who are more than likely to win in.
Nominations this year included: Jerry Stackhouse, Luke Walton, Jarrett Jack and Emeka Okafor. Considering there’s already a Sixth Man of the Year Award there really was no purpose in creating theTywman-Stokes Award as it’s something most fans will not take seriously.
It also leads to the question why Kent Bazemore wasn’t nominated? Can a rookie be a great teammate on and off the court? Judging by the reactions of Bazemore it’s an obvious yes. Stern truly needs to go back to the drawing board on this one.