That’s one of the best ways to describe David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA. If you ask the average NBA player (or any NBA player for that matter), its highly unlikely that “love him” would be his feelings towards Stern. As for the owners, well there are some debates there, too. You can’t please everybody as they say and Stern would certainly agree to that.
There were some statements attributing that Stern was one of the main reasons why the NBA lockout took so long to resolve resulting to a shorter NBA playing season. Pardon the words chosen but was the commissioner being too — stern? There were very delicate issues to deal with involving revenues, parity and team competitiveness. In the end the players, negotiators, team owners, everyone else involved, and of course David Stern came through and we now have our favorite teams and players back in the coliseums and on television.
Stern’s association with the NBA goes way back to 1966 when he was the outside legal counsel. He joined the NBA 12 years later and finally headed the organization in 1984. He’s now been the head of the NBA for over 27 years.
One must admit that the NBA has grown under his stewardship. From 23 teams there are now 30 since he took over. There is now more television coverage and the game is more international. Foreign players like Yao Ming and Pau Gasol have increased its international appeal. The Women’s National Basketball Association came into being under his watch as well the NBA Development League.
The NBA is big business. Teams are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Some teams though as of late have experienced negative earnings.
Love him or hate him; for over a quarter of a century Stern has headed an organization that turns college or high school athletes into multi-millionaires virtually overnight, provides employment to so many people, revenue to the government, and give legions of fans great entertainment.