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Raja Bell says David Stern is the impediment to a deal

Oct 21, 2011, 1:30 PM EDT

To match Interview NBA/STERN Reuters

Raja Bell is frustrated. Like the rest of us. Frustrated that we are talking about a “percentage of basketball related income” and games missed rather than the Chicago Bulls or New York Knicks.

And he’s frustrated with David Stern. Really, he’s frustrated with the owners and the entire NBA family for not making a deal that ends this lockout, but Stern is the face of it.

On The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz on 790 the Ticket in Miami (via Sports Radio Interviews), Bell threw Stern under the bus. LeBatard asked Bell about what Bryant Gumbel had said, and Bell sounded like a lot of players in saying there was some truth in there, lost in the racial aspects of the comment.

“Some of what (Gumbel) says in that interview or on his show I think is accurate. I don’t mean the racial part of what he said. I mean [NBA] commissioner Stern in my personal opinion…I feel like he’s a bit in the way of us making progress here. I feel like he might be in his last few years as commissioner and he is looking to make his legacy on what kind of deal he get can get these owners this time around. I feel strongly about that. I feel like he has been one of the biggest problems in this whole lockout. It’s unfortunate we have not been able to get past that, but as far the racial part of what he said; I don’t necessarily touch on that. I don’t know what David Stern’s motives are. I don’t know how he views us as players. I do think he rules the NBA with an ‘iron fist,’ and it is his way or the highway….

“I am mad at the NBA machine right now because I think there is a deal to be made. I don’t mean to make it sound like I am just mad at David Stern. I am mad at all of us because I think we all play a hand in not getting a deal done. I think if it wasn’t such a personal thing in my mind. I feel like it is more personal than business at times with him [David Stern] and that’s just…I can’t help, but feel that way. I could be wrong.”

Bell was also asked what he would say to fans who say just take the owners 50/50 offer (which is not really 50/50 as the owners get a to take a chunk off the top then want to split up the rest 50/50).

I do understand a fans perspective on that, but at the end of the day like let’s use Shell Oil as a corporation. Shell Oil – whoever runs that company – makes billions and billions of dollars right, but without the oil they make nothing. The oil is the product they are selling and the owners are selling us as the product and without that product there is nothing. You understand where we are coming from when we say 50-50 [split of revenue] isn’t exactly 50-50, when you take your operating costs off the top?”

You don’t have to agree with Bell, but know that is where the players are coming from. What Bell said here a lot of players are saying on and off the record.

  1. savocabol1 - Oct 21, 2011 at 1:33 PM

    Why should we care what Raja Bell thinks? I wasn’t even aware he was still in the NBA till this post.

  2. acieu - Oct 21, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    Aren’t your knees and mouth both sore from kissing the payers behinds. Yet to see one balanced article.

    • david8726 - Oct 21, 2011 at 6:36 PM

      Do you want him to give you “fake balance” or the truth?

      The truth is exactly what he’s been writing. The owners have the leverage and are using it to get what they want. This isn’t a real negotiation between two sides with equal power.

      The owners have the power, and they seem determined the break the players.

  3. thetooloftools - Oct 21, 2011 at 1:53 PM

    I am 100% behind the owners. The players have proven they are over paid by walking away from more money (max deals) to play together and have shown they are more worried about getting theirs then what is good for the overall league. Anything but actual NBA games are nothing more then exhibitions. I would much rather have the NBA miss the whole season then to continue to have a few premium teams and the rest just” schedule fillers”. Players come and go, I want the NBA to get this right.

    • david8726 - Oct 21, 2011 at 6:31 PM

      How is taking less money to play with your friends proof that someone is overpaid? One has nothing to do with the other.

      Also, I don’t understand how you can bash on the players for supposedly not caring about the good of the league when it’s clear the owners are in the same boat. Both sides are trying to get what they want, fans be damned.

      Personally, I always tend to side with the players in these disputes. Players have a very limited time to be in the league and make money. A really good NBA player might have a 10 year career. An NBA owner and his family can own a team for decades.

      The players are the product. The NBA’s popularity in particular is driven by the popularity of star players rather than the teams themselves.

  4. loza6984 - Oct 21, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    Most NBA players will make in one year what most people won’t make in a lifetime. Or better yet, how can a player justify getting paid $110K per game (on average 32 mins per game). Then again….owners write the checks, and I don’t think anyone is holding a gun to their head. Reality hasn’t set in…yet.

  5. jimsjam33 - Oct 22, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    Remember this Raja . Shell Oil Company is drilling for new oil every day . So your analogy is right . Old players fade away and new ones take their place. If this season is lost , the players will face a tremendous hardship no matter if their a star or a rookie . It’s gonna hurt and the owners are in the drivers seat . What total stupidy and greed displayed by a bunch of spoiled ingrates .

  6. jollyjoker2 - Oct 22, 2011 at 8:23 PM

    Believe me, if the NBA was making a ton of money ,2 % would be an easy gap for the owners to make and give the okay to. Obviously, they are not. If it wasn’t for stern—–, raja, garnnet, and the rest of the NBA thugs would be making a quarter of what they are making now.

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