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Linda Kenney Baden

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To David Stern: You Are Not God!

Posted: 12/15/11 08:59 AM ET

Sports fans, basketball fans, fans of all ages and genders, it is time to have the courage to call out David Stern for megalomania. David Stern -- we all already understood that you are the strongest and most savvy commissioner in all of sports at this time. But you are not a god. You are not even a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. You are just the commissioner of the NBA. That being said, I am bestowing upon you my Super Ego Award in America for 2011 for the following events.

First, for blocking a deal, that would have allowed Chris Paul to play for the Los Angeles Lakers for " basketball reasons." In a court of law even judges do not have unabated arbitrary power. They have to set forth rational and just specifications for decisions. But the way you use your authority makes the NBA resemble a dictatorial police state. You have now decided that you alone will determine the future movement of all NBA players and franchises.

You tried to force the players into a long-term contract with multiple threats and bargaining positions that were untenable-- like a 10-year contract. After trying to rewrite the NBA contract to fit you and your smaller unsuccessful franchise owners little world, the following occurred: the players union was forced to decertify in order to bring chaos to a halt, they hired first class representation, business got serious and a settlement was reached very quickly that was still not necessarily favorable to both sides. You have now set upon a course that critically injures a top NBA jewel for the past three decades -- the Los Angeles Lakers. Cancelling the Odom/Gasol trade for Chris Paul is unexplainable beyond words. After the smoke cleared, the result is the Lakers lost a major team piece for zip -- oh, right, they get a first round choice in the draft from last year's NBA champions, who will probably once again be a top contender for the title. Thus this first round choice is most likely meaningless -- certainly not a top star in a recognized deep draft.

Isn't it remarkable, as fate would have it, that the Laker's begin the season as the only NBA team to play the first three days in a row? Coincidentally, Andrew Bynum, the Lakers center, is suspended for the first five games. So the Lakers will be without Bynum and Lamar Odom, who is now gone. Can this just be an accident of fate of the draw? Or is it part of a concerted desire to see that the Lakers do not remain as competitive as they have been for the last three decades?

Now it gets interesting. Is there a deeper reason that Mr. Stern may harbor for punishing the Laker nation? Query: Whom does Derek Fisher play for? Answer: the Los Angeles Lakers. Hmmmm. In the law when an employer takes an untoward action against an employee who is union leader, whistleblower, or otherwise just a pain in the pants, the motivation for that action is often questionable and possibly actionable. Am I seeing a connect-the-dots painting? Is this about Derek Fisher's involvement in the strike? You remember you stated that Mr. Fisher leaked private information to the news media that were lies and also helped continue an unfair strike -- at least in the Stern opinion. Despite the fact that the negotiating team partly led by Derek Fisher was outmatched, they did not crumble. Fisher just represented the players' rights to his best abilities. It is too bad Dwayne Wade was not in Derek Fisher's position carrying out the players' desires, and then you could have attempted to get even with the Miami Heat.

Your behavior these few past weeks, which has directly involved the Los Angeles Lakers, is shameful. It is sad that there are not legal court proceedings a la Curt Flood that could stop this out of control behavior. But in your folly, you may have planted the seeds to your downfall. Your continued effort to bring parity will not work. It did not work in baseball and it will not work in basketball. You have put yourself in the ring with the King Kong of pro-sports: television revenue. Television ratings demand a star-studded show and the Lakers have been just that show. Chris Paul and Pau Gasol are two of the biggest of 20 stars in the game. These headline players want to play on the big stage -- such as Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Miami. Even you will never, ever, be bigger than television. Let's see how your kingdom survives when you start causing revenue to fall in TV marketland. But in the interim, you have hurt the fans and the NBA. Shame on you for this behavior and for outrageous misuse of the commissioner's overall power. You have clearly earned my Super Ego Award in America for 2011.

 

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