If the David Stern era was defined by the transformation of an afterthought league into a powerful global brand, the Silver years could very well be about finding more ways to cash in on it. What’s amazing is how quickly the league seems to have moved on from Stern. I thought the shadow cast by (David) Stern’s 30-year reign would loom over the event. But with Stern not around (a calculated move to avoid turning everything into a retrospective), the NBA amazingly fast-forwarded to Silver’s league. His introductory news conference ditched the table-and-vinyl-backdrop to have Silver stand at a podium in front of a giant electronic screen filled with the NBA logo. Stern made it impossible to separate the NBA from his personality. Silver injected his personal story into the narrative. He’s the youngest of four children from divorced parents, a reformed Knicks fan, a Duke graduate who went there when the ACC was loaded with future Hall of Famers such as Michael Jordan and Ralph Sampson. I learned more about Silver’s life in three minutes than I did about Stern in 30 years.
It’s part of (Commissioner Adam) Silver’s effort to make the NBA more transparent, from the officiating to the statistical analysis. He also said he wants to grow the game in conjunction with the players, but that overlooks one cold truth: the only way for players to maintain maximum control of their careers is to play for less than the maximum amount of money.
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