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David Stern not a fan of "The Decision" but is fan of right of players to choose

Jul 12, 2010, 10:02 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for stern ASW.jpgIt wasn’t LeBron’s decision that bothered David Stern, it was “The Decision.”

In press conference in Las Vegas Monday, David Stern said LeBron James was more than free to make any decision he wanted, as were Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. He credited Miami with clearing the cap space to pull off the coup.

Tampering? Fugetaboutit.

“The 3 players are totally within their rights to talk to each other,” Stern said. “That is not tampering.”

Now, how LeBron James made his announcement… That’s another matter.

“The advice that he received on this was poor…” Stern said. “His honesty and his integrity, I think, shined through. But this decision was ill-conceived.”

Stern was in Vegas for a meeting of the owners. He said out of that that the owners and players are not as far apart on agreeing what the actual numbers are on basketball revenues as the players think.

He was asked about better revenue sharing between the teams to help even out the playing field, and he promised that will be “robust” in the future. It’s needed — the Lakers pull in about $2 million in gross revenue per game, the Memphis Grizzlies and others are at less than $400,000. Throw in the disparity of local television contracts and some teams can easily afford some luxury tax, while others cannot.

But Stern could look around the Thomas and Mack in Las Vegas, see a sold out arena for a second night to watch John Wall and the other guys here, to watch a lot of guys just hoping to make an NBA roster, and realize business is pretty good.

  1. NBA is the WWE now - Jul 13, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    this is hilarious, Lebron just proved that the NBA now is a media circus and is another staged WWE. when Jordan and David Robinson retired, its intengrity went to the birds..

  2. Caroline - Jul 13, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    I feel that Lebron could have shouted out more to the fans who have supported him for over 7 years. I heard him say that he hopes his fans can continue to support them but very little about how thankful he was for his previous hometown and all that they did for him. As much as he gave them a reason to go to games and was a good player (75% of the time when things were going his way), their support put money into his pockets and he should be vocal about his appreciation. This goes both ways, but I was disappointed in his lack of appreciation for his fan base which could be another reason why people are so upset.

  3. Vicki Caraffi - Jul 13, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Why doesn’t the NBA give some of that money to the YMCA. Afterall, if it weren’t for them inventing the game there would be no basketball, no Lebron James, no Kobe Bryant.
    Do the right thing and donate some of that cash to an organization that works daily to support all people regardless of their age, race, religion or talents.

  4. dani23 - Jul 13, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    yeah, College basketball is way better. The Coaches and the schools make all the money and the players can’t even get peanuts.

  5. Clevelander - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    LeBron had the right to do whatever he wanted. The problem I have with LeBron is that he doesn’t do ANYTHING unless he’s the center of attention, hence the TV show for his decision. I work for local charitities and can tell you from personal knowledge LeBron won’t give unless he gets something in return; coverage. He was scheduled to attend one of my charity events for only 30 minutes and after he was already late showing up, “someone” from his camp called to say he couldn’t make it. We later learned he had gone out of town on vacation. Nice guy! Yes, LeBron has been the catalyst behind much revenue for Cleveland – can’t take that away from him. But what many Clevelander’s really object to is the arrogance and attention seeking ego that drives LeBron James. I’m not much of an NBA fan, baseball is my sport. With few exceptions, Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez and a couple of others, you rarely hear a baseball player make an ego oriented comment. I remember a game where Pronk hit one of his game winning grand slams – his only comment to the media was, ” I was just looking for a pitch I could hit”. Not how great he was or anything self-centered. If LeBron had shown any kind of humbleness or gratitude to the fans and had kept his ego in check, we’d be missing him instead of saying don’t let the door hit you in the behind on your way out of town. We’ll miss the economic good he brought, but we sure won’t miss that ego.

  6. Doc P - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:12 AM

    Several items:
    1. LeBron’s leaving will cost $48 million in lost revenue in Cleveland (where I live).
    2. LeBron was free to go wherever he wanted; however, when I think of the delaying tactics he used I wonder why he went through that charade of having all the other teams flying into Cleveland to salivate over what they might have. Then, when all the top free agents are taken, he announces. And magically the next night Miami has this big shingdig? You can’t tell me this wasn’t planned in 20 hours. That’s what makes me the most upset. the selfishness of screwing over the other teams who legitimately wanted him.
    3. Don’t bring race into what is going on. Doing so only exacerbates the bad feelings of disappointed fans. There are those in the media who show up when they smell a chance to stir up race relations.

  7. yogi - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:16 AM


  8. the decision was ill conceived - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:19 AM

    Not that the three superstars will play together. Someone was bound to play the system so they could get rings sooner than later anyhow.
    The way he announced his decision was a kick in the teeth to a city and fan base that adored him. So he didn’t like the team management – he could have given them a private kiss off instead of telling the whole city on national tv that they weren’t worth a damn bit of consideration in his opinion.

  9. A.O. - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:21 AM

    It’s a good thing bloggers don’t run the world isn’t it?

  10. YOGI - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:22 AM


  11. coyote_ptm - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:27 AM

    I called ESPN to announce I was switching teams from “Rusti’s Nails” to “Extreme Pizza” for Coed Comp softball Tuesday nights. I said I wanted 90 minutes and all the proceeds would go to charity. They said “No”. Well, not exactly the words they used, but you get the point.

  12. dman4444 - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:37 AM

    What is all of this Miami talk? I thought Lebron went to the South Beach Flamingos. That new expansion team he just invented…..

  13. Tommy Mathi - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    I like stern and he Right any player have right to go to any team they please, and for anybody who doesnt like NBA, DONT WATCH IT, go watch woman softball or something else, I hate all you prentender and hater, just complaining about the system, nothing crybaby and spoil brat on this forum as well.

  14. MEL DAVID - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    excuse me but what is a “JEW BOY”?

  15. DC - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    Soon? We are already there!
    Actually, the inequity among basketball teams is not really the NBA’s fault. State taxes played a major role in the arrival of Bosh/James/Wade in Miami. Do you really think they picked that location without a thorough analysis of net income? NY has income taxes of almost 13%, Ohio (state + local) is about 7.9%, and Florida has no income tax.
    Basketball players are not the only people who pay attention to the tax situation. Investment of all kinds is migrating from high-tax states to low-tax states. It’s the American way.
    MLB lets the big market teams spend as much as they want. This pretty much negates the tax issue. The Yankees and Red Sox simply eat the added cost. No such option in the NBA (and I don’t think there should be). I just wish the process would run to its logical conclusion so that state governments will begin to pay attention to the competitive consequences of taxation.

  16. Fred - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:52 AM

    LeBron had every right to go to Miami but he made a huge mistake to announce it on an ESPN special. He needlessly made millions of enemies in Ohio and elsewhere.

  17. Julian - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:56 AM

    I’m noit sure what you’re complaining about. Do not forget that these guys are independent contractors and have every right to decide what’s best for them. They left a lot of money on the table because in the final analysis, a super star without ring(s) is nobody.
    “The Decision” was in bad taste because Lebron has not won anything yet and so didn’t deserve the attention that he got. For those who think that he “tanked” against Boston, think again. Why would he throw away a chance to win without any assurances of winning down in Florida? And to top that, he had to leave over $16m on the table to get a chance to win. Common. He might have gone to college but he has more brains than that.

  18. Stevie - Jul 13, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    OH, PLEASE! Grow up. The NBA, same as all Pro Sports are a business first. Its a bunch of millionaires jumping around in a freak show for entertainment. It’s so pittiful all you Ohioans whining about LaBron. Trampled the hearts of little kids? Really? If you set your kids up to idolize these individuals, they will more than likely be dissappointed. These are games people, nothing more than entertainment for most of us and for the players, Stern and the rest its a business. And its somewhat fixed. Was anyone surprised that LA won the title? Hell, I don’t even follow the sport very closely and knew the Cavs couldn’t win in the playoffs. small market.

  19. Lue Blacknell - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    I wonder was there anyway that Lebron left Cleveland- would people have been satisfied? NO-regardless of how it was done…I use to live in Ohio-you people that are upset need to get a life. James is his own man-now you are talking about how arrogant & egotistical he is-well-you all helped contribute to it. You did not call him all those names when he was winning games-did you?

  20. george mcpheron - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    He screwed the pooch when he did it the way he did but when you look at how players are “traded” and other restrictions being placed on them you can see that the system is the biggest problem.
    I have no problem with revenue sharing but then I only watch the playoffs any way

  21. DC - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    As far as the “Decision” show, you are absolutely correct. Lebron received poor advice. When you consider he stands to make more money from endorsements than basketball, you really have wonder about some of his behaviors. And this latest incident is hardly unique; he was well known in Cleveland for immature behavior. Nothing really awful, just stupid stuff. Sadly I think this lack of judgement demonstrates why everyone needs a father.
    HOWEVER, one part of his management team needs no changes. The financial advice he received on taxes (NY/Ohio/Florida) was spot-on. Florida is the best financial option, and not by a little. As long as he steers clear of Mrs. Tiger Woods, he should do well.
    NY and Ohio politicians are trying to pretend it wasn’t all about taxes. But it was.

  22. MEL DAVID - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:09 PM

    IT’S VERY SIMPLE. LeBRON James realizes that he is not as good
    as he thinks he is, not as good as people told him he was,realizing
    he is not a franchise player, was deathly afraid of playing in a
    BIG MARKET AREA LIKE NEW YORK, where he would have to give 100%
    everynight and maybe help build a great team. HE COULDN’T DO THAT

  23. HD - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:10 PM

    And this (your comment) is opposed to the NHL, who are stick-holding, always fighting, assaulting, near killing players on national TV and get away with it legally players, who are ACTUALLY known and touted as thugs, enforcers, and goons. But I guess that’s OK!
    I’m tired of everyone vilifying the NBA. Its inherently a racist notion based on apparent jealousy, because basketball is the biggest sport in the world next to soccer, and it just so happens that the best players in the world are brown people.
    If the spoiled brat CAVS (or any team) owner decided to trade a player or cut him, I guess its alright, because he’s exercising his contractual right. But if a player decides to make a decision with his career, and he has no contractual obligations to ANYONE, he’s a bad guy. That sounds like slavery to me.
    Bottom line, James, Bosh and Wade had no obligations, and they did what they wanted. It didn’t matter how James handled it, because the CAVS owner would be pissed, the fans would be pissed, and now the Commissioner is pissed. The ironic part about it all is that James did it publicly, not behind closed doors or in a back-handed way. So everyone who wants to vilify James and the NBA is a hypocrite.

  24. Jude - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM

    A little perspective here, people. Sports is entertainment. We can just push the off button anytime we please, including “The Decision.” The current era of spoiled athletes, big contracts and steroids push the limits of even the biggest fan. So watch at your own peril.
    That being said, if LeBron was a bust, Cleveland would have paid for his bus ticket out of town (Brady Quinn, anyone?). Stop being so fickle and except sport for what it is. Or choose more wisely, like watching golf, tennis, track and field, etc. Sports that talented athletes play for very little money or don’t get paid at all unless they are successful.
    Or like I’ve said, turn off the TV and go throw a ball with your kids. Stop expecting morals and integrity from an industry that seldom has any…

  25. kennyEee - Jul 13, 2010 at 12:22 PM


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