David Stern Gets Into A Fight With Rome On Air
David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, got into a fight on air with Jim Rome.
HoopsVibe Very Quick Call: Stern should be fined by the NBA for acting like an jackass.
Is Stern losing his mind as well as his tact? Maybe he’s been commissioner of the NBA too long and thinks he can get away with saying anything he likes?
The interview / argument basically went down like this, Jim Rome asked David Stern what he felt about rumors that the draft was rigged since the one team the NBA actually owns for the coveted #1 draft slot against all odds (Hornets). Stern responded tersely and went pressed a second time asked Rome if he’d stopped beating his wife. Huh? Yup, that’s the type of class act Stern’s become … or maybe just a hint at the type of ego-maniac he’s always been.
If an owner or player made these types of statements to the press they’d probably be fined. “You know, New Orleans won the draft lottery, which, of course, produced the usual round of speculation that maybe the lottery was fixed,” Rome said. “I know that you appreciate a good conspiracy theory as much as the next guy — was the fix in for the lottery?”
Here is the full transcript of the interview:
“Uh, you know, I have two answers for that,” Stern said. “I’ll give you the easy one — no — and a statement: Shame on you for asking.”
“You know, I understand why you would say that to me, and I wanted to preface it by saying it respectfully,” Rome replied. “I think it’s my job to ask, because I think people wonder.”
“No, it’s ridiculous,” Stern answered. “But that’s OK.”
“I know that you think it’s ridiculous, but I don’t think the question is ridiculous, because I know people think that,” Rome said. “I’m not saying that I do, but I think it’s my job to ask you that.”
“Have you stopped beating your wife yet?” Stern asked.
“Yeah, I don’t know if that’s fair,” Rome responded. “I don’t know that that’s fair.”
“Well, why’s that?” Stern asked.
“Because I think that there are — and I know you read your emails and I’m sure you follow things virally on Twitter — people really do think it, whether it’s fair or not,” Rome said. “You don’t think the question’s fair to ask if your fans think it?”
“People think it because people like you ask silly questions,” Stern said. “I expect it to be written about — and actually, I commented last night in my presser that there was one guy who I won’t dignify by naming who says, ‘I have no reason to know anything, and I don’t know anything, but I tell you, I believe it’s fixed.’ OK, that’s good. Why is that? ‘Well, because this team won.’ And if that team won, it would’ve been fixed also, and if that team won, it would’ve been fixed also. And if every team was invited to have a representative there, and there were four members of the media there, and if Ernst and Young certified it, would you still think it? ‘Yes.’ So, I guess …”
“I think two things, which responds to this,” Rome interjected. “Number one, I don’t think so. I don’t think so — and I’m not covering myself — I don’t think so, and I think by asking the question, it would not suggest I think so. But the one thing I would say: The league does own the team, does it not?”
“… Yes,” Stern said, a question mark at the end of his sentence.
“Does that not make the question fair?” Rome asked.
“I don’t think so,” Stern said. “Number one, we sold it. We’re gonna close this week. We already have established our price. I think that if it had gone to Michael Jordan, which was the next team up with, in terms of a high percentage, they would’ve said, ‘Oh, David’s taking care of his friend Michael.’ And if it had gone to Brooklyn, which is going into Barclay Center, it would have been fair to speculate, I suppose, that we want to take Brooklyn off of the mat. So there was no winning. And people write about it, and it’s OK to write about it, and we sort of expect it, but that’s not a question that I’ve been asked before by a respectable journalist.”
“I think I understand why you’re frustrated by that; I think that I understand why that would upset you,” Rome said. “I would hope that you would not hold that against me.”
“I wouldn’t hold it against you — you know, you and I have been into more contentious discussions than that,” Stern said.
“I don’t know, I’d put that one right up there,” Rome replied.
“Well, you know, it’s good copy, and you do things sometimes for cheap thrills,” Stern said.
“I did not do that for a cheap thrill,” Rome answered.
“Well, that’s what it sounds like,” Stern said.
“No, not at all,” Rome answered. “See, that’s where you and I — that’s our point of disconnect. That was not a cheap thrill and I was not throwing anything against the wall, and I was trying to be as respectful as possible. I’m just saying that people wonder about that. And here’s what I don’t want to do — I don’t want to say, ‘Hey commissioner, people would say …’ Because I’m going to ask a direct question. But people do wonder. But that was not a cheap thrill. I got no thrill out of that.”
“Well, it’s a cheap trick,” Stern said.
“No, flopping is a cheap trick,” Rome said.
“Well, no. But listen, you’ve been successful at making a career out of it, and I keep coming on, so …” Stern said.
“Making a career out of what, though, commissioner?” Rome interrupted. “See, I take great offense to that. Making a career of what? Cheap thrills?”
“What offense are you taking? You’re taking offense?” Stern asked.
“I am. Now I am,” Rome answered. “If you’re saying I’ve made a career out of cheap thrills …”
“… taking on the world, and now Jim Rome is pouting? I love it,” Stern said.
“I’m not pouting; I take offense,” Rome said. “There’s a difference between pouting and taking offense. I take offense like you took offense to the question. What if I said — were you pouting when I asked the question?”
“What offenses? Do you want to hang up on me?” Stern asked.
“No, I can’t hang up on you, because I’m running out of time — I would never hang up on you,” Rome said.
“OK,” Stern said. “Listen, I’ve got to go call somebody important, like Stephen A. Smith, right now. He’s up next.”
“All right, you go make that call, and I’ll go talk to somebody else, too, I guess,” Rome said.
“All right,” Stern said.
“All right, commissioner. Have a nice day,” Rome said. “I did not hang up on him — we are officially out of time. We will come back and reset that momentarily. Stay tuned.”
Photo Credit: WENN