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David Stern shrugs at NBA Draft Lottery conspiracy

Jun 1, 2012, 4:36 PM EDT

David Stern, Tom Benson AP

Even David Stern gets how you can draw the connections. In 2010 the widow of long-time Wizards owner Abe Pollin is on the stage when her team wins the lottery in a Hollywood story. In 2011 it was the Cavaliers — who had lost LeBron James — that won the lottery.

Then this year the New Orleans Hornets — owned by the league and being sold to Tom Benson to keep them in the NBA’s smallest market — that somehow wins the lottery and the rights to franchise-changing Anthony Davis. By the way Benson was in the audience but Michael Jordan, owner of the team with the worst record in the NBA, was not.

Conspiracy theorists are having a field day. You don’t need Fox Mulder to draw the connections here. This is easier to believe than there are aliens in Area 51.

The league still owns the team because the Louisiana legislature still has to approve some changes to the arena lease, once that is done the sale can be completed. Stern said this to the New York Times (in a great story by Harvey Araton).

Recounting a conversation with Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Stern said: “I said, ‘Can’t we close this deal before the lottery, just against the possibility that this team will win it?’ But we ultimately decided that it didn’t matter because, you know, if New Orleans comes up first it’ll be because we own it and we made a deal. If the Nets come up first it’s because of Brooklyn, and if it’s Charlotte it’s because of Michael Jordan….

“Go ahead and say it — conspiracy theory,” Stern said with a plaintive shrug.

David Stern can’t win here because you can’t prove a negative. You can’t prove — at least to the satisfaction of critics and conspiracy theorists — that it was not rigged.

It doesn’t hold water for me. Bottom line, if I’m going to take the gigantic risks of convincing Ernst & Young to commit fraud on 29 very rich and successful business owners (who happen to also own NBA teams) I’m not doing it to send a potential superstar to the NBA’s smallest market. But for the conspiracy to be true, that’s what David Stern did. I know people in the room, nobody close to it thinks it is rigged.

Still, you can see how the lines get drawn all the way back to Patrick Ewing and the frozen envelope. I’m just not buying. Stern, he’s just shrugging.

  1. rick1v - Jun 1, 2012 at 4:44 PM

    well, if he wasn’t bothered about the outrage over him fixing the chris paul trade, why would he be bothered by this?

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:53 PM

      That’s exactly right. Do I think it was rigged? No. But if he has a problem with it he should have never put himself in a position with a clear conflict of interest and killed a trade because the Lakers beat you at your own game.

      While we’re on the subject though why do we even still have a lottery? Teams still tank (see: Warriors) so what problem is this solving exactly.

  2. knightrider1755 - Jun 1, 2012 at 4:45 PM

    Yep, it was rigged.

  3. raidmagic - Jun 1, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    Just do it in the open where everyone can see it and the questions will stop.

    • franbotel - Jun 1, 2012 at 5:37 PM

      it still wont stop the morons from claiming its fixed; its like the racist birthers who continue to claim that the president was not born here despite his releasing of his birth certificate

      • rooney24 - Jun 1, 2012 at 7:30 PM

        How is this the same? One is based on a secret process that is kept behind closed doors. And, you compare that to something that was made public. If you are going to use analogies, make sure they are apt.

      • patfic15 - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:48 PM

        Yes, this makes them very racist. Good call.

      • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:55 PM

        ^ Kinda yeah. I’m pretty sure if a white dude produced his birth certificate that would be the end of the conversation.

    • lyndseymarieee - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:33 PM

      People will believe what they want no matter what they “see”.

      • patfic15 - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:29 AM

        Yes. Because everything you see is real. All “white dudes” have it made and everyone who sees things different than you is racist. You play the easiest cards, my friends. Let’s keep the topic centered on the NBA.

  4. BigBeachBall - Jun 1, 2012 at 4:58 PM

    the bingo balls that are used in the lottery come from testicular cancer patients, that’s why they don’t televise the lottery.

    • deadeyedesign23 - Jun 1, 2012 at 11:56 PM

      I….I don’t think you know what jokes are?

  5. lakerluver - Jun 1, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    F’ing crook!!

  6. zblott - Jun 1, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    To eliminate the fishiness of the draft lottery that’s existed pretty much since the day Stern took office, you need to have real transparency, which basically means getting rid of him and his smug “come on guys” when coincidences/things-that-looked-rigged that just happen to make great storylines/TV ratings always happen in the playoffs and/or the lottery.

  7. lakerluver - Jun 1, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    @BigBeachBall, I never wish bad on anyone, HOWEVER, if you’re ever diagnosed with any form of cancer I hope you remember the stupid and totally unnecessary comment you posted. Loser.

  8. gmsingh - Jun 1, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Hopefully there is a minimum security prison cell somewhere with Stern’s name on it.

  9. rooney24 - Jun 1, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    It has always made me wonder if something fishy was up with Stern and the Twolves. The Twolves tried to sign Joe Smith to the under the table deal that made Stern mad. The Twolves have NEVER improved their draft position through the lottery. Statistically possible to not have improved their position all these years, but very unlikely.

  10. j0esixpack - Jun 1, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    While I don’t think the lottery is rigged, ultimately Stern has to “own” the fact that many NBA fans think the NBA is rigged with the officials try to help some teams advance, or at best, are just incredibly incompetent.

    it doesn’t help that at least lne official has done time for betting on games either.

    If Stern is trying to combat that stigma he’s not doing a great job.

    • 24thesho - Jun 2, 2012 at 6:57 AM

      Oh, the refs do rig the games, I have no doubt about that, or, at times it’s like having the Harlem Globetrotters’ opposing team, the Washington Generals or their descendants refereeing the games.

  11. aahhyeahsucka - Jun 2, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    uggh. there are so many reasons to dislike Stern. I think what pisses me off most about him is his lack of attention towards cleaning up the officiating in the NBA. He’s a salesman so he could give a sh*t about the sanctity of the game. Tell all books and refs getting jailed for gambling? Cmon man. He’s turning Basketball into pro wrestling. Somebody please end the Stern era of Bssketball.

  12. asublimeday - Jun 2, 2012 at 1:46 AM

    How does derek rose coming home to Chicago, when the bulls had >2% chance to win, not get mentioned?

    I mean, I’m glad it happened, but that was crazy.

  13. hojo20 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:23 AM

    The NBA should do it like in the old days. No weighted system and have it picked there on national TV. Only have a 3 year old pick the envelopes (they’d be too young to understand conspiracy) instead of Stern.

    P.S. Do we need a whole half hour show on this? CBS used to do it during halftime of a playoff game.

  14. southpaw77 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:32 AM

    No more back rooms, show the actual lottery and it goes away.
    Stern has always had a smug look on his face and shrugs off everything like him saying Donaghy was just one rogue ref, yeah right. When it comes to sports the NBA always looks the shadiest with badly called playoff games and the lottery.

  15. davidcl77 - Jun 2, 2012 at 12:12 PM

    Of course it was rigged. Wonder why they didn’t let America see them pull out the winning ball? Nuff said.

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